Gillard is an atheist. Fine. Everyone is entitled to their own personal choices free of government interference. It’s called individual liberty, something the left do not always subscribed to, but something that should be respected. So it was no surprise that Gillard skipped out on the parliamentary church service to welcome in the new parliament today. Gillard also refused to swear an oath to God in becoming PM. That’s her business, no need for vain hollow acts.
However, in rejecting Christianity and in the customs that follow,why did Gillard (and Abbott!) endorse and attend the aboriginal ‘welcome ceremony’ for the new parliament today? The ‘welcome ceremony’ is a quasi-religious event that has nothing to do with the Constitution or Westminister custom. More to the point, ‘welcome ceremonies’ have nothing to do with Australia: the political idea of the world’s only unified, democratic and free continent-nation, a distinctively non-aboriginal concept. What type gall must a person have to think they can ‘welcome’ Australians to the country they and by implication their ancestors conceived of and built up?!?!
“On the occasion of this opening of the 43rd Parliament I welcome you,”
So said the chief witch doctor:
“With this welcome I express the hope of a united, reconciled nation, the oldest living culture joined with the many diverse cultures of a modern successful Australia.”
Apart from the fact that when Howard was PM no one from the left was calling for unity or political consensus, and also the habitually dubious claim that aboriginal culture is the oldest living today: what aspect of Aboriginal culture are we all meant to be reconciled with at this time?
Gee where to begin, ritual torture and abuse? Welfare and drug dependency? Don’t say happy unified families and communities. This is not an aboriginal idea more an aspirational ideal shared by most Australians.
Now we have Gillard via the GG pushing the ‘first Australian’ mantra.
….the need for constitutional reform to recognise the First Australians and local government were also of “great significance in this term.”
And of course the political elite don’t mean the first people to actually identify and call themselves Australians. The first recorded English usage of the name ‘Australia’ was by Matthew Flinders in 1814. Governor Macquarie began to use the name from 1817 and from then onwards British people born in Australia began to call themselves Australian. The first Australians, a geographic and then a demographic term.
As far as we know aboriginals had no coherent concept of a continent. Supposed mythical dreams and maps interpreted and ‘discovered’ by sympathetic academics are not a substitute for the former. Nor were Aboriginals unified as a common people who identified themselves as Australians or anything of the like.
Federation gave birth to a Australia as a political and economic concept. Aboriginals were by and large separate from the Federation process, and hence debate occurred as to if they were entitled to all the privileges of citizenship, etc…
In any of this how can the political elite claim that aboriginals of today, with all their genealogical and mitochondrial dna complexities, be the ‘first Australians’? It is a claim that simply says, a group of people today, who at times have a tenuous link to another group of people who lived 222 years ago, are the first Australians. If that was all one needed to do to be Australian – just turn up and have a genealogical link – then virtually anyone arriving at any of our international airports would qualify. It make very little historical sense and I’ve yet to see an explanation for it.