• External Contributor

I'm not proud to be Australian

Australia has a rich history, it's the home of the oldest living culture on Earth. But we don't acknowledge that history, we don't teach a true recount in schools. A few times a year, our governments roll out dot paintings and shops put up Aboriginal flags, but neither will acknowledge the true history of white Australia, which is genocide.

Australia claims to be a multicultural nation, with our anthem claiming that we have boundless plains to share with those who've come across the seas, but we lock children in offshore centers, punishing them for committing no crime. Our government vilifies people who came to our shores seeking safety.

Australians have a complex about America. We we say we are more sensible, less drawn to violence, more respectful of others in our community, more polite. But tens of thousands of citizens took to the streets yesterday to 'fight for their freedom,' an action so quintessentially American. What would those protestors know about not being free? Only people with the highest level of freedom could do what those people did.

Australia is a good place to live for a lot of people. There are many more dangerous, more corrupt, less equitable places in the world. But the system is not set up to benefit all of us equally.

Australia is a nation divided. Divided by what started as the political left and right, but has quickly turned into young and old, atheist and religious, science believer and conspirator, PC police and people who use the term 'PC police'. These labels are used interchangeably depending on who you ask, and there is often a deep seated hatred for those on the other side.

We used to be the laid back larrikins, the country full of people who popped to the shops barefoot and weren't bothered by much. We were people who's first thought upon news of a bushfire was to help those affected, not to shout about climate change or the inaction of the federal government. A lot of people will say those were the good old days, but really, they were just the days when only selected voices could be heard.

The hippies were the only ones talking about the climate, the radical activists were the only ones talking about refugees, a miniscule percentage of Aussies were talking about Indigenous land rights, and anti-vaxxers were contained to one small town in northern NSW. But as progress is made and as marginalised voices are getting louder, the privileged elite are feeling silenced.

It's painful to see the tens of thousands taking to the streets to flout lockdown and mask mandates when NAIDOC protests and refugee rallies are lucky to see a few hundred. They'll march for their own freedom from face coverings, but not in solidarity with cultures facing genocide. They'll set off smoke bombs to protest staying in their homes to protect the community, but won't stand beside school students fighting for the climate.

For a short time, Australia welcomed migrants. Our population was at risk and we needed people to come to our nation. European workers were incentivised to migrate south, and were welcomed by our government. Now those same migrants, and their offspring, are fighting against people seeking asylum and refuge in a country where they aren't under constant threat.

I'm not proud to be Australian. I read the news and am ashamed. I listen to the Prime Minister and am embarrassed. I watch the lockdown protests and am disgusted. We're divided, we're not a united nation, and the most vocal and powerful among us are the most privileged and self-serving.