Once again we are hearing about the need to change the date of Australia Day. Apparently some people find this date offensive. Others, a large percentage of Australians, want things unchanged.
Australia Day, that is January 26, commemorates the establishment of European settlement. However it is not the only significant event that happened on this date in Australian history.
Another significant event was the Rum Rebellion in 1808. This is the only successful overthrow of a government by force in this nation's recorded history. We did have other revolutions (Eureka, Darwin etc), but none of these succeeded in overthrowing the legitimate government.
So if we celebrate Rum Rebellion Day, instead of Australia Day, on January 26 here is just a short list of what can be achieved:
- The debate about the date will disappear. We can all forget that European settlement ever happened.
- There will be good reason for young males to get drunk and behave in a drunken and violent manner. Their revolting behaviour will be legitimised.
- It will require only minimal legislative requirements.
In 1999 I wrote a letter to our then local member for Farrer, Tim Fischer, suggesting we change the name of the New Year holiday to Federation Day holiday. I subsequently received a letter from the then Prime Minister which stated in part he would not consider the change “without a groundswell of public support”. Is it appropriate to change the date of Australia Day without a similar groundswell of public support?
Strong leadership needed
Bill Gates is telling us that we are entering the age of the trillionaires. Electric cars are nearly upon us and driverless buses will soon be a reality. At each step of our evolutionary development, the definition of paid employment changes.
Coach makers, horse breeders and ostlers found themselves looking for new careers as Henry Ford started to build petrol driven cars on assembly lines in big factories. Those building steam trains and those carrying and feeding coal to these enormous labour-intensive locomotives had to find new employment when the diesel motor became popular.
I remember the days of the lift driver. A smartly dressed operator would have several levers to handle as the lift doors were operated and passengers taken from one level to the next, with announcements of, “Third Floor. ladies lingerie, manchester”.
These days we press a button, doors open, we enter, press a button to the level required and an automated voice tells us what level we have reached. Doors open and we leave with little thought about our driverless vehicle.
In a very wealthy country like Australia, new automated services will come on stream very quickly. There will be jobs for those who are techno-literate but many will be left behind.
We already have about one million people under-employed and hundreds of thousands homeless.
We need a government which will give the leadership required to handle the changes and keep in mind that we are all part of this new age, not just a few entrepreneurs.