“An Australia Day reflection.

“An Australia Day reflection…AUSTRALIA DAY, 26th of January 1788.The attacks by left-wing social-Marxist groups on the celebration of Australia Day on the 26th of January, fits the pattern of re-writing the historical narrative; cherry-picking convenient facts and myths, in order to undermine orthodox views of society. These attacks are based on ignorance, ideology, lies and deliberate misinterpretation.And now to 1788. Australia was “settled”, not “invaded”, by the British.The United Nations Resolution 3314, recognises that all territories acquired by invasion or annexation by force, prior to the beginning of World War 2 are lawful conquests, providing all citizens of the conquered territory are given equal rights under the local law, the United Nations doesn’t recognise the descendants of the conquerors and the conquered as two separate peoples. History moves on and this recognises it. You only need to thinks about the many invasions of the British Isles over time to see why: Anglo-Saxons invading the Celtic Britons; Scots invading the Picts and so on. If the Aborigines were “invaded”, then their rights are extinguished by UN Resolution 3314.Notwithstanding the Mabo Decision, Terra Nullius (or “Land Belonging to No-one”), was correct, although not that significant. Terra Nullius was an eighteenth-century legal construct that held that it was necessary to negotiate with chiefs and kings of the occupied people, to take over land. If no such persons existed, then in the eighteenth-century sense, the land wasn’t “owned”. In no sense were the Aborigines a unified nation in this sense, able to negotiate a treaty with the settlers. The left myth that therefore the Aborigines were considered to be like fauna has come about. This was an activist’s joke in the 1970s that has become to be accepted as true by the incredulous. It has no basis whatsoever in historical evidence. The British recognised the Aborigines on the continent as people, occupiers and “Protected British Subjects” but also acknowledged that no local individual could speak for an Aboriginal nation, that did not exist in any legal or real sense.And from the Aboriginal point of view, Terra Nullius was also true. The Aborigines’ strong connection with their land, based on the Dreaming and story-lines, was in no-sense to do with physical ownership of places. The very opposite was true, and the various nations, tribes, totems and groups belonged to place and not the other way around. This is a concept that the British found hard to understand, but was even more sophisticated than any eighteenth-century legal concept.Arthur Phillip commanded the First Fleet that landed in 1788. Too often denigrated as establishing a “convict dumping ground” it was far more admirable than merely that.Like colonising another planet, the First Fleet of eleven ships and over one thousand souls, was one of the world’s greatest logistical exercises. It carried all the accoutrements of British culture with supplies to last for two years and by then, the settlement had to be self-reliant. It’s human cargo of convicts, the story goes, were transported for “stealing a loaf of bread”. Some maybe, but most came from the detritus of the British criminal underclass, too often victims of rapid industrialisation.Phillip was a visionary and very much a man of the Enlightenment. He had a sense of the settlement being something great, something that would be a great social experiment creating a great new society. He was right. He was also instructed to treat the Aborigines with “Amity and Kindness” and took this seriously. Aborigines were “Protected British Subjects”. Speared at Manley Cove, he prevented reprisals for example, and cultivated friendship with the Eora people of Port Jackson and made friends with Bennelong.Unfortunately, other forces were at work. Perhaps 90% of the Eora people were wiped out by about 1790, from the hidden cargo of diseases such as small-pox that stowed away on the First and subsequent Fleets.Although it is not fashionable to say so, the British were a modernising force, trying to eliminate regressive Aboriginal traditional practises, such as paedophilia, infanticide and cannibalism, all well-documented in anthropology and going back thousands of years. The myth of the “Stolen Generations”, tended to be the removal of abused or neglected children by agents of Government from families of all backgrounds, not just Aborigines. The British gradually evolved structures and practices, improved on by Australians. The British elevated respect for human life and the rights of the individual. The list is an impressive one but not exhaustive. Such things as the Rule of Law (trial by Jury, the presumptions of innocence, equality before the Law etc.); the abolition of slavery and transportation; the pre-eminence of parliament; universal suffrage; the “Eight Hour Day”; freedom of Assembly, the Press etc.; pensions and the social safety net; minority and female rights and so on are all things to be proud of. Admittedly, these have not always been perfectly implemented due to human frailty, but they are a list worth celebrating on the 26th of January, as we ALL benefit from them.The landing of the First Fleet on 26th of January, 1788, is so much a matter of pride, in achieving Arthur Phillip’s visions for all of us. It should also be a matter of pride for Indigenous people today, who have struggled, bravely and intelligently adapted to change and contributed to modern Australia in so many ways. It also celebrates more recent arrivals who have added to the story over generations.HAPPY AUSTRALIA DAY.”Thank you Rowan Smith for this post.

Published by Nelle

I am interested in writing short stories for my pleasure and my family's but although I have published four family books I will not go down that path again but still want what I write out there so I will see how this goes

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