Station Life column: Growing weary of big debate on Australia Day date

The Australia Day date debate comes up every year.
Camera IconThe Australia Day date debate comes up every year. Credit: Don Lindsay/The West Australian

Thank goodness that is over for another year. Christmas Day? No. New Year’s Eve? No. It’s Australia Day. Not the day itself but the never-ending bickering, sniping, arguing and plain nastiness around whether it should be celebrated on January 26.

Every year it seems to get worse. Every person, organisation, council and politician wants to buy into the argument.

Numerous other dates have been suggested, while others want different ways of celebrating Australia Day (or not celebrating as the case may be) and still others think there shouldn’t be any such day.

I feel like I’m in the latter category, especially given the past 12 months in Australia.

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I don’t think I can ever recall when, as a supposedly united country, we’ve seemed to be made up of separate States and Territories.

The celebration of Australia Day, when we have Premiers sniping at each other, residents locked out of their own States or unable to visit family and friends in other States, and distressed citizens unable to be with their loved ones as they die, seems pretty damned ironic to me.

Supposedly “we are all in this together”, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way.

For many, Australia Day is just another public holiday.

I wonder how many took a sneaky Monday off to create a four-day weekend out of it?

Any Australia Day event is usually flooded with cheap Chinese plastic flags and other token symbols which, no doubt, end up in landfill. Where are our locally made Australia Day mementos that can be recycled rather than binned?

How many of us even know what’s behind Australia Day?

Why do we have it, what’s the history behind it, what’s the significance of the date? More to the point, how many people even care?

Despite all this many enjoy a great Aussie Day, whether at the beach or having a barbecue in their backyard or just chilling with mates.

There are 365 days in a year (366 in a leap year), yet I feel it is highly unlikely we could ever have a 100 per cent consensus on a date for Australia Day.

As a short-term solution, I’d like to suggest we have it on February 29, so we get a break from the discussions for three years out of four.

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