Focus on the killing now, not 200 years ago


Sir – Is the controversy surrounding Australia Day another encouraged distraction in the hope that no one will notice, far less object to, the very real erosion of our rights and liberties that has taken place under the guise of “fighting terrorism”?
If so it would be in good company: The whole LGBT thing, the Harvey Weinstein scandal (Hollywood moguls are root rats – who knew?), and maybe the next taxi off the block to be a recycling of the monarchy or republic debate.
Is someone pitting us against each other? Are we being distracted so no one will talk about things like habeas corpus, personal privacy, public trial by one’s peers, indefinite detention, going to war through executive fiat rather than through an act of Parliament – and the list goes on.
The two major political entities are equally complicit in foisting these distractions on us, and the minor entities seem willing to do and say anything to get in the headlines and hopefully gain another vote or two.
On Jan 26 we are being asked to don sack cloth and ashes for the killing of people two hundred years ago, but no one is talking about the killing of more people by an order of magnitude half a world away today, not yesterday.
No amount of focus on the loss of life and liberty perpetrated in years gone by justifies ignoring the losses of life and liberty going on right now, and in which Australia is fully complicit.  Let’s turn our attention to what we can do to make a better world today and let an openly acknowledged part of our history be just that, history.
Hal Duell (pictured)
Alice Springs


  1. As you say, this was in our past. Not to be forgotten, but learned from. If we continue to grovel in the passed, both black and white, we will never move on.
    We are all Australian, we should as a people and nation together, not them and us.
    Until the government changes the policies to cover all as equal we will never move on.

  2. I agree Hal, but the quickest way to shut down the debate and move on to more important things is to change the date.
    There is much to celebrate about being Australian, and like many of the rest of us, most Aboriginal people seem to be especially proud of being Australian as soon as they leave our shores.
    However, not only does the 26th of January celebrate the invasion of Australia by whitefellas (I note that England does not have a holiday on 14th October to celebrate the Norman invasion in 1066), but it celebrates the establishment of New South Wales. Those of us who live in other jurisdictions might prefer another day to celebrate the federated nation of former colonies.
    So let’s have a genuine Australia day, and leave the 26th of January to the Indigenous for their Independence Day.
    Since 1st of January when the Commonwealth came into being is already taken, perhaps the anniversary of the first Federal election on the 29th of March, or the opening of the first Parliament on the 9th of May would be suitable days on which all could agree.

  3. Fair enough, Hal, so let’s stop all the carry on about Gallipoli and WW1.
    Enough of the sack cloth.
    After all, WW1 was before our local Coniston massacre in 1928.


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