Letter to The Editor - the celebration of our nation’s legitimacy on Australia Day is justified, but not without a sober and humble acknowledgment of past flaws and wrongdoing

To THE AUSTRALIAN          Once again Geoffrey Blainey contributes marvelously to public debate (‘Australia Day doubters misread our past’, 26/1) with his combination of extraordinarily detailed knowledge of Australian history and sound common sense. Yes, Governor Phillip did not intend an invasion; a negotiated treaty in 1788 was impossible for two such different peoples; the settling of Australia was part of an irresistible ten thousand years-long worldwide development; and the Aborigines by no means lived in a paradise before the British arrived.

     On the other hand, reactionary triumphalism should be avoided by us on the conservative side of politics, as Robert Martin reminds us (Letters, 26/1) in his perceptive analysis of the limitations of the nation that sent the First Fleet here: gross social inequality, harsh administration of law, lack of free speech and unpleasant religious dogmatism. On balance, the celebration of our nation’s legitimacy on Australia Day is justified, but not without a sober and humble acknowledgment of past flaws and wrongdoing.
  NJ, Belgrave, Vic

 

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Saturday, 19 September 2020
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