The Dutch visited Australia in 1606
The Spanish visited later that year….
In fact the shipping lanes were crowded with visitors – Chinese, Malaccan, Indian….
29 different Dutch ships alone visited Australia during the 17th Century.
Captain Cook first sighted land in Australia on the 19th April 1770.
His crew landed at Botany Bay 29th April 1770.
So 26th January certainly isn’t the Discovery of Australia!
Captain Arthur Philip first landed in Botany bay 18th January 1788.
On the 22nd January he landed in Sydney Harbour at a place he named ‘Sydney Cove’.
So 26th January isn’t really Invasion Day!
Most importantly, however, Australian citizenship was created through the Nationality and Citizenship Act 1948, and came into effect on that date…….26 January 1949.
Prior to 26th January 1949, all Australians were British subjects.
On 26th January 1949, White Australia discarded British subject status and became Aussies.
So 26th January IS the day we truly became Australians.
So this year, why not celebrate the fact that we are self-governed?
We haven’t been British subjects for just over 70 years.
We’re not American subjects.
We’re not Chinese subjects.
We’re not Dutch, German or Japanese subjects.
That carries with it responsibilities……
We’re responsible for us.
For our attitude toward the planet….toward nature…….toward other countries……. toward other peoples…..toward our own first nation peoples…..toward those who ask us for shelter and safety…..
We’re responsible for our own rules, our own obligations, our own endeavours……
We’re responsible for our own culture, our own responses to homelessness, poverty, disability, morality, education, work and social enhancements.
We’re totally responsible for us.
So we can’t blame anything on the Americans, the EU or the rise of Asia……
We’re responsible for us.
And all these responsibilities have a spiritual basis.
For example, in 1967 (just over 50 years ago) Australian aboriginals were also given the right of Australian citizenship. Sadly, today, many still aren’t (as we choose to require a legally binding birth certificate)…..even worse is our attitude (as a nation) toward many of our ‘first-nation’ brethren. Deplorable.
Another example: There’s about 1500 asylum seekers locked up within Australia itself today. We have restricted some of them to solitary confinement for years.
Many are still locked up!! Inhumane.
A third example: the terrible treatment of large numbers of animals which are bred, fed, used and killed purely for food. Atrocious.
A fourth example: we look the other way when large corporations (like banks) commit criminal acts – but righteously condemn individuals for petty versions of the same. Totally unethical.
As a nation I believe our actions should encompass spiritual responsibility.
We don’t just have the “legal right” to be self-responsible……
That said, happy 26th of January on Tuesday!
May we go forward in friendship, peace and sincere co-operation with all the peoples of the world…..and may we equally care for all our own!