Australia Day, 2016

As that Men At Work song says, “I come from the land Downunder,” where on January 26 Australia Day is celebrated.  It’s sort of like Canada Day, traditionally marking the end of the long summer holidays, the end of the season of major summer sporting events (golf, cricket, the Sydney to Hobart yacht race, and the Australian Open tennis tournament, to name a few); and the start of a new school year. Officially, Australia Day, which is a national public holiday, marks the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the first fleet of British ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, and the raising of the flag of Great Britain at Sydney Cove by Governor Arthur Phillip. For others, especially some Indigenous figures and their supporters, its more appropriately termed ’Invasion Day’.

On Australia Day this year, together with a number of library employees, I am continuing my participation in our learning and development program, Indigenous Voices – Library Edition.  This week’s session is our second seasonal teaching and an opportunity to review my Intercultural Development Inventory, Personal Development Plan. In doing so, I cannot help but reflect on the many similarities between my countries of citizenship (Australia and Canada), especially when it comes to matters related to our Aboriginal populations. While some things are local, it is surprising just how global some issues have become.

In an remarkable move for a Liberal government, ex-army chief David Morrison has been named the 2016 Australian of the Year.  Click here to listen to his moving commitment to advance the following issues during the coming year:

  • Gender equity
  • Diversity
  • Republicanism

Good on you, mate!