Australia Day A Chance To Celebrate Our Achievements
Australia Day gives us all a chance to celebrate our achievements and reflect on what we really have that’s unique and special in this land Down Under. Nowhere on Earth is there a country like Australia. An ancient indigenous culture that goes back more than 60,000 years, a settlement of people from the other side of the world that began with convicts and soldiers, a steady stream of migrants that grew to include people from all over the world – all contributing to a vibrant, diverse and exciting Australian culture and way of life that is the envy of the world.
On the whole we are a generous and welcoming people. Despite our relatively small population, Australia has won respect around the world. Despite coming from all sorts of backgrounds and cultures, we are a tolerant, informal and broadly egalitarian society.
Sure there are exceptions. Certainly we face internal threats that have shocked us all to the core in recent times. But these are threats facing the whole world. We are not alone. Even as we try to deal with this threat, we will continue to have elections without violence. When we disagree with our politicians we can vote against them. Governments will change according to the people’s will without much fuss. We have freedom of religion, the right to equality and respect for who we are. We are a strong people and we will live our lives without fear and intimidation.
Of course Australia is not perfect. We are 23 million people and there are bound to be some bad apples among us. But the law is there to help protect us, our rights and our way of life. Certainly the law and justice system we have in Australia isn’t perfect, but where in the world is there a better one? All people in Australia are equal before the law. Procedural fairness must be exercised in court trials and in any government decision making that impacts your rights. In criminal trials, we are all innocent until proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt. The judiciary is independent and not subject to political dictates. When we can’t afford legal representation, in many cases there is legal aid. Independent agencies safeguard our rights in the workplace, homes, business dealings, and protect our right not to be discriminated against on the grounds of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
So we have a heck of a lot to be proud of in Australia. Sure many things could be better, and being who we are, we’ll look forward to achieving that in the future. Happy Australia Day.