We applaud Australian Prime Minister for Standards Scott Morrison this week for his muscular proclamations that in order to best uphold core Australian values of freedom, democracy and a fair go, he intends to enforce participation in certain expressions and ceremonies of national identity and place. It is with some embarrassment that we confess that we did not expect Mr Morrison to have such a nuanced understanding of the historical and legal background to Australia Day. However, Morrison’s unilateral application of government force to ensure acquiescence to sovereign power perhaps comes closer to expressing the true meaning of Australia Day than any number of white girls draping bikini shaped flags over their Map of Tassie and shit-faced boys with Southern Cross tattoos bolted on their neck nuggets ever could. Well done, Sir!
Celebration is likely to become mandatory from 2020 once the LNP pass proposed Freedom of Patriotic Expression legislation so we suggest you start preparing now. There are many excellent ways to spend your Australia Day Long Weekend in Melbourne in 2019. You could head on down to Docklands to try an Aqua Donut BBQ Boat and recreate for yourself the landing of the First Fleet. Or keep an eye out for the United Patriots Front, who have been making noises that their 100 strong rally in St Kilda was just a warm up for a more sustained presence on Australia Day. Those wanting Fraser Anning’s John Hancock should probably show up for this one.
The familial unit at True Places HQ doesn’t normally celebrate Australia Day but there’s a few tempting offers on the table this year so we’ll be heading up to the Big Smoke with the following itinerary:
Narrm Invasion Day Rally
In case you hadn’t heard it, the local Indigenous name for Melbourne is Narrm and it’s a good idea to start practicing it ahead of the Invasion Day Rally. It’s great to see the rally getting bigger, but even better to see public dialogue around it becoming more complex year by year. Attending the Invasion Day Rally is not only a great way to express solidarity, but also an opportunity to get your head around the many diverse views passionately expressed within the Victorian Indigenous community. These extend far beyond issues of whether we should change the date but into core issues around issues of treaty, constitutional recognition and sovereignty. A top tip for us whiteys is to remember that our personal opinions on these matters are typically both radically uninformed and almost entirely uninteresting so try and remember to keep your ears open and your lips from flapping.
The Narrm Invasion Day Rally is particularly recommended for white people who like to point to Jacinta Price as the model of a sensible Aboriginal person expressing the moderate opinions that most other Aboriginal people (who are actually quite “good”, really) also hold.
When: From about 10.30 am, Jan 26th 2019
Where: Steps of Parliament House, Spring Street, Melbourne
Balit Narrun Festival – Share the Spirit
The Balit Narrun Festival will pick up after the Invasion Day Rally finishes and is held just next door at the Treasury Gardens. The baby of Songlines Aboriginal Music Corporation, this is a feast of music, culture and art. Their line-up for 2019 includes Mojo Juju and on that basis alone we will be there with bells on.
When: 1- 5pm, Jan 26th 2019.
Where: Treasury Gardens, Melbourne
Zoo Twilights with Briggs and Archie Roach
Bless the Royal Melbourne Zoo for slipping this surreptitiously in to their 2019 Zoo Twilights Schedule. Programmed for January 26 and with no mention at all of Australia Day in their promotion, the evening showcases two of the Victorian Aboriginal Community’s most powerful wordsmiths. From different sides of the State and with very different musical styles, Briggs and Archie Roach tell the stories that politicians don’t want you to hear. If you’ve put in the hours at the rally and Balit Narrun Festival, you’ll be ready to collapse on your picnic blanket as sun sets over the zoo. Tickets are still available, so get on to it.
We suggest practicing your singalong-with-Briggs beforehand
When: 5.30pm, Jan 26th 2019
Where: Royal Melbourne Zoo
This itinerary should provide excellent practice for when Celebrating Australia Day becomes mandatory under the Freedom of Patriotic Expression Act. We believe it will be simultaneously educationally exhaustive and terribly enjoyable. Hope to see you there.
*The aptly named Australian Flag Dreamlite Sleep Mask (without white border) is guaranteed to keep you blissfully unaware. It can be purchased here.