Flat White

A new ‘welcome to country’

Kevin Donnelly

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Kevin Donnelly

6 October 2022

9:00 AM

The Indigenous Welcome to Country is so prevalent and widespread that it’s heard at sporting events, at the start of public meetings, during musical events, the theatre and ballet, and whenever planes land at airports. It’s even printed on receipts issued at Coles supermarkets. 

While there’s no doubt the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 led to significant dislocation, pain, suffering, and death to Australia’s Indigenous people, there is also much to acknowledge and value about the nation’s Western heritage and the ongoing debt owed to Western Civilisation.

It’s time to respect and value the 96 per cent of Australians who are non-indigenous; especially those who trace their ancestry to the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Europe. It’s also time to launch a Welcome to Country that embraces all Australians, regardless of race, the colour of their skin, or where they were born.

A Welcome to Country that states:

Before beginning, I’d like to acknowledge the sovereign land of Australia and the institutions and way of life that ensure our freedoms and liberties; one land, one nation, one people. We stand on the shoulders of giants and as a result of their legacy Australia is a beacon of opportunity, equality and justice in an increasingly dangerous and hostile world.’

Compared to many of the nations north of Australia – including China, Cambodia, Vietnam, Lao PDR, and North Korea – Australia is a Western, liberal democracy based on concepts like popular sovereignty, the separation of powers, the rule of law, and the right to liberty and freedom.

The fact we have inherited such rights and freedoms is no accident. Arriving with the 212 marines and 778 convicts who accompanied Governor Phillip on their perilous journey to Botany Bay were two books seminal to a way of life many now take for granted.

The King James Bible taught the belief as all are made in God’s image all deserve the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Parables like the Good Samaritan, the admonition to love thy neighbour as thyself, and concepts like social justice and committing to the common good stem from the New Testament.

Not surprisingly, Christianity is a vital force in the nation’s education, health, social welfare, and aged care systems serving millions. The fact parliaments begin with the Lord’s Prayer and the Preamble to the Constitution includes the phrase ‘humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God’ reinforces how significant Christianity is.

The second book arriving with the First Fleet was Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England. Central to Blackstone’s book is the conviction British common law guaranteed certain inalienable rights that have to be acknowledged and respected. 

Such was the force of law two of the convicts arriving with the First Fleet were able to successfully sue the captain of their ship for losing their property. While the American colonies permitted slavery it’s also true that the Admiralty and Governor Phillip refused to allow slavery in New South Wales.

Equally as important in Australia’s evolution as a liberal, open society where our rights and freedoms are protected is we are an outpost of Western Civilisation. While geographically part of Asia our culture, language and way of life can be traced to the ancient Greeks and Romans.

Since the time of Aristotle, Plato, Socrates, Euripides, Homer, Marcus Aurelius, and more recently Dante, Michelangelo, Leonardo DaVinci, Shakespeare, and Tolstoy to name a few, great philosophers, scientists, mathematicians, artists, composers have enriched and shaped our inheritance.

The fact we are able to share the benefits of an advanced industrial and technologically sophisticated society is the result of events like the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and the arrival of the digital age unique to Western Civilisation.

Inventions like the printing press, the steam engine, the internal combustion engine, electricity, and medical advances including penicillin, immunisation, and open heart surgery could never have occurred in less civilised and less advanced societies.

It’s also true for all its sins and faults, Western Civilisation contains within itself the ability to rectify injustices and transgressions. Ending slavery, introducing universal franchise and documents like The Rights of Man, Citizen, and A Vindication of the Rights of Woman are uniquely Western in origin.

The story of Western Civilisation deserves as much recognition and attention as Indigenous culture, history, and spirituality. To do otherwise, as noted by Douglas Murray in The Strange Death Of Europe, is to cause cultural suicide by denying succeeding generations of young Australians their birthright and their inheritance.

Dr Kevin Donnelly is a conservative educationalist, commentator and author of The Dictionary Of Woke. He was one of the many speakers at the Sydney CPAC Conference.

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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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