History: celebrations and displacement

Like every other nation, the history of Australia is complex. While there is much to celebrate about this nation that almost 22 million of us call home, there is also many things in our history that are quite appalling.

I have always felt that we are at a stage in Australia’s history that we should be able to simultaneously celebrate what we have achieved while at the same time acknowledging our mistakes and errors. There is no contradiction between the two: but some seem to feel that we are too immature to acknowledge such divergent feelings simultaneously.

This is the basis for an article I wrote for Opinion Online (available here) based on my visit to the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, UK. The article also explains the history of the Lambanana (pictured).

I often describe myself as a ‘progressive nationalist’: loving this country while also understanding that much of its contemporary wealth is based on displacement and acts of violence against indigenous nations; proud of our social achievements while finding our treatment of refugees outrageous; celebrating the diversity while knowing tensions do exist and so on.

One dimension of our history that will continue to haunt Australia is our relationship with the various indigenous people and their displacement. This focus on displacement, land rights, ownership and Australia’s future as a republic is covered in an article I co-wrote with Prof. Spike Boydell (available here…).

As always, would love to hear your thoughts on these issues…


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