CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Australia Day or Invasion Day

Jan 26, 2017

The radical left has never been a fan of Western civilisation. It seeks at every turn to deride, attack, criticise and undermine the values and achievements of the West. So it comes as no surprise that each year when Australia Day is celebrated, all the usual suspects of the ever-offended left come out to pick a fight.

Calling this “invasion day” and the like, and seeking to change the date of the day may make these folks feel good, but there is little substance to their claims. The First Fleet that arrived at Sydney Cove in present day New South Wales was not an invasion fleet. But in so much of the mainstream media all you will hear is the angry, disaffected and raucous voices of those who refuse to celebrate the day.

Since it is now getting hard to hear an alternative viewpoint to that of the leftist historical revisionists, it is worth citing a few of them here. Kevin Donnelly just had a great piece which is well worth quoting from.

australia day 5The arrival of the First Fleet is one of the most important events in Australian history as it represents the first step in our development as a liberal, Western democracy based on English common law and a Westminster Parliamentary system.
The rights and freedoms we now take for granted, including freedom of assembly and speech, the right to a fair and timely trial, and the right to vote and elect a representative government, trace their origins to events that occurred on January 26, 1788.
As argued by the Perth legal academic, Augusto Zimmerman, “When the penal colony of New South Wales was established in 1788, the laws of England were transplanted into Australia” and “As a result, the legal sociopolitical institutions of Australia found their primary roots in the legal and sociopolitical traditions of England”….
The arrival of the First Fleet, in addition to bequeathing the nation with an English legal and political system also heralded the arrival of Christianity. According to the 2011 census Christianity, at approximately 61 per cent, is the largest religion and around Australia parliaments begin with the Lord’s Prayer.
While we are a secular society, where the constitution forbids favouring one religion over another, it is also true that without Christian hospitals, schools and charitable organisations Australian’s education, health and welfare sectors would collapse.
Christian concepts like the dignity of the person, the right to individual liberty and a commitment to social justice and the common good also underpin our legal and political systems and way of life.

He concludes:

While geographically a part of Asia, our heritage and traditions can only be understood in the context of western civilisation.
Australia is an egalitarian society where respect has to be earned instead of being granted by birth. Australians also distrust bludgers and those who believe it’s OK to rort the system or that the world owes them a living.
Given the chance and freed from government restraint, Australians are also entrepreneurial and risk-takers. Australians, on the whole, are independently minded and happy to give newcomers the benefit of the doubt unless they are hostile to our way of life.
Instead of denigrating Australia Day, we should all recognise that it’s only because of the First Fleet that we are such a peaceful, prosperous and stable country — that’s why so many migrants want to live here.

Writing a year ago Sara Hudson reminded us that we can either let this day unite us or divide us:

While people are free to do what they like on Australia Day, focusing on past injustices and portraying Aboriginal people as victims does little to empower Aboriginal people.
Contrast the ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality that organisations such as Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance and First Nations Liberation embody with the words of Bess Price’s daughter, Jacinta Price — who wrote, in a recent Facebook post that has gone viral:
“Instead of teaching our kids to feel pain and resentment… and painting white people as oppressors and racists and black people as victims…let’s teach them love, strength and acceptance.”
As the daughter of an Aboriginal mother and a white father, Jacinta is acutely aware she would not exist if it weren’t for Australia’s history. Instead of emphasising people’s differences, she advocates focusing on what Australians have in common.
“Ultimately we are all human beings and our physical differences should not set us apart.”

Also writing a year ago, John Slater said this:

Recasting Australia Day as ‘invasion day’ promotes the idea that spending a day celebrating what it is to be Australian is inherently hostile to Indigenous people. Quite apart from raising awareness about Indigenous disadvantage, this actually politicises the issue. It signals that to be patriotic is to be unfeeling, even defiant of the wrongs committed against Australia’s first people.
Is this kind of thing likely to create political momentum that sees governments doing more to alleviate Indigenous disadvantage? It might, if the invasion day rent-a-crowd actually named any manner of tangible policy objective save for decolonising the entire continent. But let’s not pretend heaping scorn on Australia’s settlers does anything at all to address Indigenous life expectancy, unemployment or educational achievement. In fact, the Indigenous people afflicted most by these problems won’t be seen anywhere near a protest rally on Australia day. They’ll be out in remote communities, hundreds of kilometres away from the hessian sack-wearing beatniks you’re likely to see shrieking into a megaphone on the 6 o’clock news.
Truth be told, if you’re goal is to divide Australia into victims and oppressors, this is probably a fairly effective way to go about it.
We can navel gaze all we like about how much moral blameworthiness to apportion to the forbears of the Australian colonies for the death and disruption inflicted upon traditional Indigenous life in 1788. But for the motley crew of poseurs whose sole contribution to the plight Indigenous disadvantage is just that, it’s time to stop pretending you’re engaging in some noble act of civil disobedience.
Unless you genuinely want Indigenous Australia to secede and form its own nation – in other words, instate a 21st century Australian apartheid – you aren’t helping reconciliation by choosing January 26th to pontificate about the original sin of Australia’s colonisation; you’re actually hindering it.

He concluded as follows:

Are there parts of our history that are challenging and regrettable? Absolutely. Yet if you look across the globe, it’s striking to note how few countries and civilizations haven’t been blighted by conquest at some point in history. Even Great Britain, the greatest colonial power the world has ever seen, endured a period of bloody occupation by the Romans early in its history.
Most countries take at least one day a year to celebrate their nationhood, often with far more fuss and officialdom than we do to mark ours. Yet far fewer seem to feel a growing need to spend that day sulking in cultural self-flagellation.
Those who pretend that celebrating Australia Day counts is tantamount to re-committing the sins of our forebears like to think they are doing Indigenous Australia a service. But if in the future Australia Day does become a day mired by division, the race-baiters will only have themselves to thank.

And even if we are to think in terms of “invasion” we need to have some historical and political context here. Leo Maglen nicely offers us this in his recent article, “Why Australia Day Matters.” Let me quote parts of it here:

It is, of course an article of faith amongst Aboriginal activists and the grievance industry generally to see things in a different, much darker, more doom-laden way, to view the running up of the Union Jack by Phillip on that day as the beginning of the end, the start of an invasion, one that would lead to the subjugation of the first inhabitants and the destruction of their culture and way of life.
What this view overlooks, of course, is that such an ‘invasion’, or even a succession of them, was inevitable. On no other continent have the original inhabitants been successful in holding on to their lands and traditional ways of life. Through waves of invasion, conquest, migration, settlement, by people ever more technologically and organisationally advanced, similarly nomadic hunter-gatherers either adapted, or were forced into ever more remote, inaccessible and inhospitable terrain, as in Asia, Africa and the Americas, or driven to extinction, as in Europe and the Middle-East. What is remarkable in the case of Australia is that it hadn’t happened earlier, and that the first inhabitants were able to enjoy their idyll for as long as they did.
So if it hadn’t been the British, it would have been someone else, or a bunch of others, contesting the terrain, carving it up, claiming it as their own. Given the location of ‘the Great South Land’, there was, however, only a shortlist of likely contenders, with the requisite technological and organisational capacity, the global reach and the territorial ambitions, to accomplish the feat, either on a full-scale or piecemeal basis….
So, all in all, the country could have done worse than have Arthur Phillip plant the Union Jack on its soil 226 years ago. Although they didn’t appreciate it at the time, Phillip probably gave the first inhabitants as good a chance of surviving in, and adapting to, the global world as any ‘invader’ could have given them, and the waves of immigrants that subsequently came, and are still coming, to these shores, a much freer, safer, fairer, equitable, open, tolerant and prosperous place in which to start a new life than might otherwise have been the case.
January 26 1788 is well worth commemorating, and celebrating, as Australia’s Day.

I fully agree. Happy Australia Day.

www.dailytelegraph.com.au/rendezview/january-26-is-australia-day-stop-trying-to-change-it/news-story/af8392591fa8610e13263f5bf73a3d0e?utm_content=SocialFlow&utm_campaign=EditorialSF&utm_source=DailyTelegraph&utm_medium=Facebook&nk=9295848938618b901072dbd875ae6cdd-1485320952
www.cis.org.au/commentary/articles/a-day-to-unite-or-divide-the-nation
www.menzieshouse.com.au/invasion-day-race-baiting-does-nothing-to-help-indigenous-disadvantage/
quadrant.org.au/opinion/qed/2014/01/australia-day-matters/

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20 Responses to Australia Day or Invasion Day

  • Really great articles and I wholeheartedly agree!

  • Welcome to Civilisation

  • Doubly agreed,

    You do come up with the most wholesome articles that make a lot more sense than most of the mainstream media in my thinking Bill, may the dissenters read this piece and weep, for their own lack of foresight and wisdom and seek to do real justice in our peaceful land by loving their neighbours as themselves. What do such people behaving like dimwits, think they are doing? Why do they not give peace a chance like Lennon sang back in the sixties, not necessarily the way Buddhists see it though, as their idea of peace is a Marxist one which seeks to let those born in poverty live that way, rather than help them to survive, among other evils caused by the love of money just like others? It sure beats living like those in Africa or other Middle Eastern countries, whose lifestyle is incompatible with our own or causing “Strained Relations”!

    Surely It is far better and more necessarily vitally important to help bring about lasting peace in this great country under God, just as it has been in the past and will be in the future, especially when those who seek after change for change sake, for which they will be sorry in the end, rather than change for the good of everyone, which is all anyone wants in the end is it not?! May such people gain a firm grip on reality and be given the peace that passes understanding, I pray so that “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our/your hearts and our/your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 (ESV) May the peace of God be with you and your readers Bill. Blessings

  • How refreshing to read some common sense, great article!
    Happy Australia Day??

  • Let’s not kid ourselves about the “idyll” of native existence before 1788. Life was harsh, scarcity was the norm, and there were waves of starvation. Should I even mention child sexual slavery ? Much of this noble savage nonsense derives from the fraudulent thinking perpetrated by Margaret Mead, and is a post 1788 invention.
    And I’m curious as to why I should feel guilty about the invasion because I’m white. My parents were immigrants, not one of my ancestors had anything to do with this colonisation. Are our recent immigrants from Asia or Africa to blame ? How does the ethics of guilt work here ?

  • “Jacinta is acutely aware she would not exist if it weren’t for Australia’s history”.

    That’s the one thing I can’t get my head around. Most “Aboriginals” have some non-Aboriginal blood, some apparently have mostly non-Aboriginal blood, yet they seem to be denying that, only looking at the bit they want to identify with.

    It would be like me whose heritage is at least 50% Irish claiming to be German because of a great (or maybe great great) grandfather.

  • Hello Bruno,

    Guilt is a great is a fact or feeling that alerts us to our need for repentance and forgiveness for our sin or wrongdoing. When our conscience prompts us of such a need we ought to be thankful and be happy that our senses are so sharp. There seem to be many these days for which this is a foreign idea or truth that does’t exist and this is really sad. Many of our grandparents immigrated to Australia from European countries, bringing with them Christian beliefs, who prefer to identify with Christ who came to bring peace and equality. Most of these settlers who brought civilisation to the country as Bill writes of above and most people assimilated into the Australian way of life as it was being adapted and adopted. You have to admit there are many more people coming from places who accept or care to know about Australian heritage preferring not to assimilate into society, insisting that this country accommodate to such ways of life which civilisation improved on long ago, setting back communities by thousands of years of civilisation tearing at the very fabric and firm foundations Australia was built upon. This has come about mainly because our denial that we we were created by God as well as our relationship to Christ in my understanding and knowledge of our salvation that Jesus won for us by his life, death and resurrection to new life, that when we believe this wonderful truth, we may live eternally with him in the Kingdom of God in heaven. It is very sad that the majority of trouble makers in this country today have their roots in Asia and Africa, it’s my prayer that the destructive influence on these poor people will be silenced, rendered powerless so that these new Australian’s are truly enabled to thrive, abiding by the current laws of the land already established for the good of everyone. Do you identify as Christian Bruno? Blessings!

  • The Indigenous daughter of a former Northern Territory government minister says people shouldn’t feel guilty for celebrating Australia Day on January 26.

    http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/nt-aboriginal-leader-defends-january-26-australia-day-20170126-gtzd74.html

  • Amen. I’m still waiting for Anglo-Saxon land rights from after the Norman invasion.

    Yes there were many atrocities wrought against Aboriginal people as there has been throughout history and I’m sure as part of Aboriginal history too but many forget that a very good proportion of those “invaders” who did these things were brought to justice and hanged.

  • Thanks Bill,
    Well put together as usual.

    While 99% of Australians including a high percentage of the Aboriginal population want to live in peace and celebrate our great country on Australia Day regrettably the lefty minority want to cause as much mayhem as possible. Flag Burning, Four letter swear words on signs, etc . Real intelligence and thoughtful dialogue !!! NOT.

    No surprises NSW Greens, Soros funded GETUP and militant NSW Unions in the mix. As if changing the date is going to make a dime of difference to history, present day aboriginal health and education.
    Really pathetic and unnecessary. 99% of Australians once again expected to conform to the “high moral ground” thinking of the Left and David “deadhead” Shoebridge (NSW Greens) and airhead Celebrities.

    Best wishes All,
    Phil
    PS…
    My wife had a lovely time in Wollongong on Australia Day. Fun run along the board walk starting at 7:30am. Fantastic food stalls from every Nationality you could think of. Joyflights near the Lighthouse and Aerial displays. Awesome Fireworks as 9pm. Well done Wollongong Council. 100% effort. We will come again. A super time had by all.
    A huge contrast to the violence and abuse NSW Police had to endure in Redfern, Sydney.

  • Prof. Blainey looked into the history of problems between the settlers and the indigenous and found that more of us were killed than them. It was something like 320 to 280.
    Also Christians in the parliaments like premier of NSW actually had some tried and executed for their crimes. You don’t hear much of this.

  • What a great thing your page is Bill. You make me glad to be an Australian. It’s the open statement of the truth, frank but clean. No vitriol. I love the responsive, informed remarks you get. So many sane people here despite the others who have “poison under their lips”. Ahh it’s good to be an Aussie under the Southern Cross humbly trusting in the provision of Almighty God.

  • I am just finishing a “must read” book. “Why Warriors lie down and die” by Richard Trudgen .
    The Elders of the Arhnem Land Yolgnu asked him to write it. It is the story basically of post mission days, and of how we white fellas need to get our act together.

    In regard to Australia day, the book deals with some of the history even going back to about 1600 with the Dutch explorers and perhaps earlier with Indonesian and Chinese pearl traders. The well known “First Pastoral War” which went for about 40 years from 1842 could be described as the first invasion they experienced.

    It is the period from the 1970’s on for which we have much more responsibility. It is from this time that the life expectancy began dropping from over 70, the young men began loosing their athletic physique, and the western/European diseases began to take hold, the “self – determination” and land rights ideas which sound so good, failed, the western skills/intellectual benefits that the people had were not being passed on to the next generations, and the hopelessness of despair settled in.

    Trudgen lays the problem squarely at our feet, but not at all in a blaming or “lefty” or socialist kind of way. The main problem he says is communication. To put it in a nutshell; It is white fellas’ responsibility (as the now dominant culture), to learn from the Yolgnu, language and custom in depth. When we have done that, then we have the beginnings of hope of being able to teach the Yolgnu what they want to learn about our ways.

    And they do! want to learn, that is. The book is replete with great stories about how he was able to make a real difference. It was careful and tedious work as is common with cross cultural communication, but the results are those that must be achieved everywhere in Western/first nation relationships.

    Trudgen’s web site is “Why Warriors”
    PS I am going to buy a carton of these books and give them to friends.
    If you haven’t got this book Bill, allow me as a gift.

  • If people wish to continually look backwards on a never ending fault finding mission, they will eventually have to ask, how did the Tasmanian Aboriginal became dispossessed of mainland Australia eons ago?

  • I was a teenage white invader by
    Arthur Chrenkoff The Spectator Australia 26 January 2017
    I have a confession to make: I’m one of the invaders. My ancestors did not come to these shores with the First, the Second, or even the Fifty-Second Fleet. In fact, while my namesake was bringing his merry band of convicts, sailors and marines into the Sydney Harbour, my ancestors were being invaded, oppressed and dispossessed by the Russian and the Austro-Hungarian despoilers and partitioners of the once mighty Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
    In other words, my indigenous Polish forebears were otherwise occupied at the time, no pun intended. Unlike most of you, I didn’t even grew here, I flew here, to borrow phraseology from the ‘Bra bogans beating up on the Lebs. I didn’t step off the plane on the January 26, but as a white Christian European male arrival I still fit the profile of a typical coloniser.
    I bring all this up because the debate, which rears its leftie head every year, but this year seemingly even more so than previous times, about changing the date of Australia Day to another day, which doesn’t commemorate the First Fleet landing, strikes me as a complete furphy. Whatever alternative date you pick, whether it is something else meaningful from our history or an entirely random combination of digits, some people will still be unhappy because what Australia Day signifies: a celebration of the existence of an advanced liberal Western democracy, a new country, a new state, and a new nation, where there was not one before.
    The Australia we have today came about because a Stone Age hunting-gathering society was superseded by another culture, in yet another example of a historical inevitability played out hundreds if not thousands of times throughout the human history, where those less technologically advanced, less dynamic, less aggressive are overcome and displaced by those who are more so. From our common Cro-Magnon ancestors coming up on top of the older Neanderthal population between 100 and 40 thousand years ago all the way to today, people have been conquering and getting conquered, dispossessing and getting dispossessed. Native Americans, Africans, Asians, all have been colonising and building empires throughout their entire history; it’s just that the Europeans have been the most successful at it in the modern times.
    Whether we celebrate Australia on January 26 or April 26, we are celebrating the creation and the continuing existence and growth of a new nation, which came about through the British colonisation of Australia. Had the continent been left alone (not that this was ever a real possibility – if not the Brits, then the French, the Dutch, the Germans or other Europeans or perhaps Asians would have permanently filled the colonial vacuum) there would be no Australia today, and no Australia Day to celebrate.
    Indigenous Australians got the raw deal, in as much as their traditional way of life has been irrevocably disrupted and eventually lost; but there is no such thing as peaceful colonisation. Endless apologies for it are as pointless as feeling guilty about human nature. Yes, the world has changed now, and it is an objectively good thing, but as a historical – and ethical – development it is but a blink of an eye on the timeline of human history.
    I will be too busy today to whack some sausages and steak on the barbie and crack a coldie while listening to JJJ’s hottest 100, but neither will I be feeling bad, ashamed, guilty and apologetic about the holiday. In 1788, after some 40,000 years of stasis, Aboriginal life in Australia changed forever. As did my grandparents’ life in 1945 when the Red Army dispossessed them and expelled them from the lands their families occupied for centuries. My ancestors in turn probably displaced some of the indigenous Ukrainian Slavs and Lithuanians a few centuries earlier. These in turn probably shafted the previous Celtic, Sarmatian and Scythian residents a millennium and a half ago, who in turn took over the lands belonging to even earlier inhabitants. History is not a morality play.
    For myself, I invaded Australia on 30 November; I guess I should celebrate my own private Australia Day that day. This is the crux of it – or one of them, in any case – if you believe that Australia was indeed invaded on 26 January 1788, then every new arrival to our shore since then – convict, settler, European, Asian, refugee – has continued and perpetuated that invasion and occupation of the Aboriginal continent. You can even call that each individual instance a micro-invasion, or micro-aggression.
    And if you indeed believe, as many do, that the defining aspect of the Australian experiment – at the risk of sounding INXSive, its original sin – is the invasion, colonisation, dispossession and even genocide of the original Australians, then the very act of celebrating that nation-building experiment is gross and offensive it itself. You could change the date to May 8 – M-ate… geddit? – as some on the left propose – and what a way to privilege maleness and (toxic – is there any other) masculinity at the expense of women and minorities that would be! – but it won’t actually change a thing. It’s not the Day, it’s Australia.
    Australia Day, love it or not, leave it.
    Arthur Chrenkoff blogs at The Daily Chrenk where this piece also appears.

  • Really, its the blood of Christ that will be the driving force behind the true reconciliation. If only Australia knew how powerful it is, how we can actually leave the past behind and look to the cross together, black and white Australia and be freed from the guilt, shame, blood shed and move forward as one nation under God. Let’s see January 26th as the day that two different cultures collided. It as also the rise of evolution, Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution that caused the deaths of many Aboriginals at the hands of “white” people.

  • By all means, celebrate everything that our Anglo-Celtic Christian forebears, starting with the First Fleet, gave us; but people need to stop pretending that the continent-wide nation of Australia began on 26 January 1788. The goal of the British government was to establish a penal settlement: a prison. Most of the First Fleet had no choice in coming here, even ‘free’ people like soldiers/marines.

    The word “Australia” was championed by Matthew Flinders, well after 1788. The nation of “Australia” began with federation on 1 January 1901. There is a reason that the United States does not celebrate the day its pilgrim fathers arrived as “US Independence Day”.

  • This was refreshing to read after what appeared on social media, and in some print media about Australia Day.

    My paternal ancestors were English. They were a mixture of farmers, and skilled workers. Others came here on assisted immigration after being evicted from their homes in Scotland. I have to wonder what would have happened to them if they had settled somewhere else?

    Thanks for pointing out that if the British had not colonised Australia, another power would have done it. One argument I have read, is that though indigenous people did suffer because of British settlement, the British were much more humane than other European colonisers.

    Think of what happened to the Aztecs after the Spanish came to South America.

  • This is quite interesting too:

    Inconvenient fact: Native title can only exist if Australia was settled, not invaded
    Sherry Sufi, 20 January 2018

    Yet there is a fundamental point which goes to the heart of this debate that literally no one, to date, seems to have picked up on. Hence, this article.

    Native title can only exist if Australia was settled, not invaded.

    Why? Because international law recognises all territories acquired through invasion and annexation by force, prior to World War II, as lawful conquests.

    This ‘Right of Conquest’ doctrine was first conceived by the International Law Commission of the United Nations and later adopted as UN General Assembly Resolution 3314.

    Provided that all citizens of a lawfully conquered territory are granted equal rights by the local law, international law doesn’t consider the descendants of the conqueror and the conquered as two separate peoples.

    This in turn invalidates any claims to separate land rights under the same jurisdiction.

  • Dear Bill
    Once again another joyful Australia Day in Wollongong for our family.
    Successfully removed a number of invasion Day posters from the streets of Wollongong that Marxist student s from the university put up minutes before on public property.
    Exceptionally tired of the Greens and marxist haters their divisive and anti – community rhetoric , Why can’t we live in peace
    Great blessings for 2018.
    Phil

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