A great discussion is underway on the OHPI Facebook page as we plan for our Unity in Diversity on Australia Day Campaign. The Indigenous voice, calling for a change to the date of our national day, is certainly emerging loud and strong and will feature in the campaign. So too is the voice of those from all across the globe who have moved to Australia and now call her home. The emotion of citizenship ceremonies as people become Australian on this day has been shared. The humble Aussie BBQ has been praised. The discussion will no doubt continue and we encourage that.
Our purpose in running this campaign on Australia Day is that we need to reinforce the positive values which we share in 2016 as Australians. We need to assert that these values of multiculturalism, pluralism of religious positions (including those who are agnostic or atheists), respecting people’s dignity, mateship, volunteering, and a commitment to the rule of law, are what our national symbols stand for. If we don’t, the far right will claim not only the day, but also our national symbols. Whatever our national symbols are at any point in time, and regardless of whether you feel they should change or not, let’s all agree they should stand for mateship, diversity and an inclusive and fairer Australia. She may be a work in progress, but she’s one in which we all have a stake and in which all Australians are welcome.
Many people have suggested that Australia Day should instead be on January 1, the day of Federation. The image of the $5 note above is of a special edition commemorating the Centenary of Federation. It features Catherine Helen Spence, who became known as “The Grand Old Woman of Australia”. She was Australia’s first female political candidate, campaigned for representation of minorities and for woman to get the vote.
As the campaign draws closer we’d like to again invite as many people as possible to contribute to the campaign fund. The default donation amount is just $5 and the target is $1000. The money raised will pay for advertising to promote positive messages about Australian values, and to encourage people to report any racial or religious vilification they see on the day. If you can spare a fiver, please donate now. Let’s not leave the far right unchallenged.
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