Straya Day, 2011


Normally I rise about 6 am; today I got up a couple of minutes before nine. I presume the reason for my lethargy had more to do with confusion than the copious amount of red wine consumed the previous evening. Of course I was confused and who wouldn’t be. Was it Australia Day or was it Invasion Day or even Survival Day?

I drove down to Sandgate Beach and was relieved to find that there were many cars and utes parked near the esplanade that did not have two little Australian flags protruding from their roofs. I knew then that it was not going to be a replay of Cronulla Beach of a few years ago when a white racist mob bashed any one of Middle Eastern appearance they could find.

The ABC radio broadcast and extract from the Prime Minister’s Australia Day citizenship speech in which she rambled on about her Welsh parents being 10 pound poms. I wish she’d get a speech writer or get a better one, if she is already blessed with one. I drove round to the Cabbage Tree Creek trawlers and bought some prawns. The trawlers are selling prawns from their boats now that the Co-Op has closed. It appears that the manager of the Co-Op left hurriedly for South America, taking the bulk of the Co-Op’s funds with him.

As I was walking back to my car, two utes each sporting two Strayan Flags screamed past. Their CDs were playing so loud, that the heavy metal rock nearly drowned out their specially tuned mufflers. I hopped in my car and changed to another ABC station that was broadcasting an elderly British television personality who was giving the Australia Day Address. He seemed intent on pointing to the presence of Australia’s cultural cringe and having done that successfully assured us that because we had exported Barry Humphries and Dame Edna to London we did not need to cringe any more. I was not entirely convinced by his argument. I found it slightly unsettling that we could not find an Australian sufficiently erudite to give us an Aussie Australia Day Address. It might have been shorter: “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. Oui, Oui, Oui”.

But, then again, had we found an Australian capable of reflecting on what is happening in this wide brown wet land then she or he may have reflected on the failure of successive Australian governments to meet our international obligations to asylum seekers who arrive on overcrowded boats. That person might have mentioned the United Nations condemnation of several aspects of the Government’s Northern Territory Intervention into 73 Aboriginal communities. The person might even have alluded our endless connivance with the US in wars in the Middle East. At least Parkie did not touch on such matters – though, I considered it rather poor taste that he thought it necessary to mention the cricket and England’s winning the Ashes.