Does Australia need a national identity in a multicultural society? A reason, or even worse, an excuse to forget our past, to discredit the Australians that have gone before us. We must not forget these people for these people are my people. They who came here in chains, who were lashed while they worked in convict gangs at Port Arthur.
I would like to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of Describing the true australian national identity land, the people of the Kulin Nation, and pay my respects to their elders past and present. I would also like to congratulate the Public Policy Network on turning 20 this year and to acknowledge the initial work of Ainsley Kello who was a founding member.
So according to The Book of Ages 20 is the age of the young bride? As this is Australia Day I would like to reflect tonight on the issue of Identity, and also to explore with you how Identity intersects with what my day to day work is — human rights.
In choosing to focus on identity today, I hope to build a bridge across the worlds in which we work. As Race Discrimination Commissioner, I have an interesting and challenging role.
It is an expansive mandate — race, colour or national or ethnic origin. It is controversial at times, perhaps not surprising when you consider that our own founding fathers, and of course they were all men!
And it is challenging as we think about how this Constitutional construct impacts today on the good and bad practice in race relations across the country. What is important for our identity as a country at this time? This is a time when we begin a campaign promoting constitutional recognition of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, we have the latest iteration of a multicultural policy for Australia, and as we explore what it means to be a global citizen — through trade, through international education and through a world that is immediately connected by technologies that were unimagined a decade ago.
Identity is a tricky concept. It is often linked to perceptions of ourselves, observations of others and also in many cases, stereotyping which may not reflect fairly or accurately what identity might be.
The identity of a country is even trickier. I have chosen three milestones in the recent history of our country that have had a significant impact on what constitutes our identity. These are not conclusive milestones, as there are others, but these suit my reflections.
The first was white settlement, which commenced in with the arrival of Captain Arthur Phillip on the shores of Australia. The 26th January was the date in this year when the first fleet arrived in Sydney Cove and the period of colonised history began. The second milestone iswith the passage of the constitution that brought Australia together as a federated country rather than separate states.
The third milestone iswhen we first heard talk of Australia being a multicultural country, the early signs of what might constitute the Australian understanding of multiculturalism started to take shape, and the final nail was put in the coffin of the White Australia policy.
But we should also remember that this date was a turning point for our own Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who had previously inhabited the expansive lands of Australia for tens of thousands of years.
This point is to be particularly remembered in order to understand why the current debate about Constitutional and legal recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are so important. There has been much said of the dispossession and past treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders following the white settlement of Australia, since One of the most eloquent reminders of the tragedy of that treatment was captured by the passionate address by former Prime Minister, Paul Keating, in his now famous Redfern Park speech in We took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life.
We brought the diseases. We committed the murders. We took the children from their mothers.
We practiced discrimination and exclusion. It was our ignorance and our prejudice. And our failure to imagine these things being done to us. The question I pose is what is missing to rectify this? What does this say about our identity as a nation, and what more do we have to do to make up for over years of dispossession?
The referendum was critical. What is clear is that the policy context that defines how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are treated still needs to be modernized, and hence the importance of the Constitutional reform process.Does Australia Need a National Identity?
The Australia Day controversy. Australian Values. Language and Identity. Iconic Australians. Australian Symbols. Australian Stereotypes. Aboriginal Rights. Racism and Egalitarianism even though a stereotype may not be true in practice, it may be true in myth and for this reason belief in the.
When it comes to describing the national ethos, such references are safe territory and undoubtedly true. The same cannot be said for describing our national identity.
It is time for the Australian national self-image to fit better with our national profile. A national identity is an invention.’ Richard White () Inventing Australia Each one of us could describe ourselves with a multitude of different identities.
These identities can be seen as defining us as people and may be cultural, ethnic, religious, gendered, class-oriented or ideological. National identity. Coming just fourteen years after the Federation of Australia, the Gallipoli campaign was one of the first international events that saw Australians taking part as Australians.
As such, it has been seen as a key event in forging a . The Australian soldier served Australia proudly and with their return to Australian shores came the recognition that Australian was at last a nation.
The Soul of a Nation, The Australian Identity had evolved. Helping you find government information and services.
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