Australia Day in Fremantle
January 27, 2016 4 Comments
It was another great Australia Day in Fremantle yesterday with a big citizenship ceremony on the Esplanade followed by the Premier’s Active Citizenship Awards, some great music and of course the quite spectacular cracker show aka Indian Ocean fireworks. It was also great to see the J Shed area so popular on its first weekend.
Before the citizenship swearing in ceremony Australia Day Ambassador Krista McMeeken, a young Aboriginal women from Esperance, gave a thoughtful speech on how Australia Day has a range of different meanings. It is in part a celebration that in Australia we are blessed to live in a wonderful climate with beautiful landscapes and large open spaces, a place that presents many opportunities for people to pursue their dreams and live their lives without fear of persecution.
But there is a flip side to this and Australia Day is also a day of reflection that Australia’s past that included some terrible atrocities especially to Aboriginal people – from early massacres to the stolen generation. Even today there is a long way to go: Aboriginal life expectancy is still 10 years less than that of the rest of the Australian population and a young aboriginal person is still more likely to go to jail than finish high school. The confronting statistics are from Stan Grant’s recent debate video that has gone viral and is well worth a view.
Australia is a wonderful and lucky country but also a country with a long way to go in terms of dealing with inequality and disadvantage before we can all truly celebrate together on Australia Day.