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26 JANUARY IS NOT AUSTRALIA DAY.

I have already celebrated Australia Day 2023.

On 1 January this year, as I do every year, I poured a wee dram of my finest scotch whisky (Lagavulin from Isle of Islay) and quietly proposed a proud toast to Australia and the Founding Fathers who brought our nation into being on I January, 1901.

I do this in acknowledgement of the undeniable fact that until the first day of 1901 there was no nation of Australia. That’s the day that 6 independent colonies came together to create our nation. It is the only day on which we can celebrate Australia Day. All other possible days that are suggested from time to time are cosmetic attempts to pretend to celebrate our nationhood.

26 January is quite clearly the wrong day for several valid reasons.

It is the day when the British created a jail for several shiploads of their convicts, plus the many shiploads that followed. They treated all of them brutally. I am descended from a convict (and proud of it). Why should I celebrate anything to do with the British inflicting agony upon him?

May I also ask why I should celebrate a day in which the British invaded a continent and began to steal it from its indigenous owners who had been here for 65000 years?

This totally unjustifiable invasion led to a war of occupation that lasted 100 years during which 30000 aborigines were shot defending the land that was theirs and another 100,000 died from diseases of civilisation brought by the invaders.

Do we really want to celebrate theft, murder and brutality? Fact is we have done so by accident. We simply started celebrating 26 January without giving any real thought as to what the day actually represents.

I cannot understand why we have any need to celebrate on 26 January when we all know that the rightful and only day to celebrate Australia Day is 1 January. It is a fact of history we have chosen to deny.

People who love public holidays say to me that if we celebrate on 1 January it will deprive them of the public holiday we are used to having on 26 January. They oppose any change because of that gross deprivation alone. Aborigines and convicts and the nation building of the Founding Fathers pale into insignificance for them compared with the loss of a public holiday.

However, we should all note that it will be no problem at all for our federal government to declare a replacement public holiday later in the year, hopefully to celebrate ENVIRONMENT DAY when we can plant trees and commit ourselves to stop polluting Australia.

Celebrating Australia Day correctly on New Years Day will also highlight positively our need to sadly note that our Founding Fathers did not acknowledge our Indigenous Heritage in our Constitution. Actually, they had no option as our State Governments insisted on retaining control of Aborigines and threatened to call off the Federation Movement had Aborigines been mentioned. Indeed, New Zealand withdrew from the proposed Federation because they wanted the status of Maoris recorded in the Constitution and their request was bluntly rejected by all 6 States.

However, we can do something positive towards correcting this huge error later this year by voting YES in the Voice Referendum.

May I say in closing that the dumbest thing about 26 January is that it occurs just at the time when our schools begin their year. We give students another holiday when they have just completed 6 weeks of holidays. Unbelievable really.

My regular readers will note that I hammer away about the disaster of 26 January every year. May I say that I will continue to do so until I take my last breath.

It is simply wrong (and stupid).

Which reminds me of another fact. 26 January is only New South Wales Day. The other five States were founded on different dates and treasure their first settlement just as proudly as NSW.

Your fair dinkum Aussie Mate

Everald

PS. You will note that I have featured below a great book by a fine Australian author Thomas Keneally. It is called A BLOODY GOOD RANT. This is a splendid description of my words above. It is also a great read that stimulates the mind. You will come across a number of chapters in which he makes very thought provoking comments about our image of Australia and our unintentional denial of our history.

LEGISLATION TO ESTABLISH VOICE

As a committed YES voter and campaigner in the Referendum on VOICE, I am concerned that it is in danger of defeat by a powerful and negative campaign that is demanding details in advance of what powers VOICE will have, how it will operate and what it will cost.

This significant threat can be answered in full, simply and easily, by Parliament passing clearly defined legislation prior to the Referendum which will become law automatically when the Referendum is passed and which cannot be altered without another referendum being held.

I want to humbly suggest that the wording of the legislation should be in this concise form.

ABORIGINAL and TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER VOICE.

VOICE will be established with the authority of a Referendum which adds appropriate words to the Constitution of Australia.

It will have 35 Members who are Indigenous Citizens elected by Indigenous Voters.

Each State shall elect 5 members, Northern Territory 4 and Australian Capital Territory 1.

Their election will be arranged and implemented by the Australian Electoral Commission.

The Rules and Procedures for the work of VOICE shall be determined by Act of Parliament as will its operating Budget

Voice will meet 4 times annually for one week on each occasion.

Its Members will debate and submit policies applicable to the livelihood of Indigenous Australians.

The policies will be transmitted to the Speaker of the House of Representatives who will make appropriate arrangements for both Houses of Parliament to consider them.

Parliament will be under no obligation to accept them but the Speaker must convey a response to VOICE on each occasion.

This legislation automatically becomes law on the passing of the Referendum.

Lawyers can add legal words here and there but this is a concise basis for the creation of VOICE.

Lets do it NOW and cut out all the nonsense about the Opposition wanting detail and the Government saying it is not needed.

Fact is that voters trust neither of them.

EVERALD COMPTON AO

VOICE

Sometime during the second half of 2023, we will be given the opportunity to vote YES or NO in what will be known as the VOICE REFERENDUM that arises from the ULURU STATEMENT FROM THE HEART.

As announced by the Prime Minister earlier this year, a YES vote in the Referendum will create an amendment to the Australian Constitution that will enable Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders to participate in a democratic election to establish a VOICE which will meet regularly to recommend policies to the Australian Parliament which will have the total authority to accept or reject them.

After the Referendum, Parliament will debate and enact a Bill that creates the rules that will apply to the way in which the VOICE is elected and operates.

In reality it is quite simply a positive step forward in integrating 65000 years of heritage into our Constitution and our life as a nation.

I will vote YES and actively campaign for a Yes vote.

In doing this, I am well aware that a significant number of my friends intend to vote NO and have carefully considered reasons for doing so. I respect their right to vote according to their conscience.

Here are some of their reasons for voting NO.

*Australia is a nation that already has a voice – our Federal Parliament – to which we have elected a significant number of indigenous parliamentarians.

*The Voice will create apartheid.

*Australia provides billions of dollars to Indigenous people every year and this has been wasted. No matter what is done for them, they are ungrateful and will always want more.

*The establishment of a Voice will not solve the problems that are ingrained in indigenous society such as crime, unemployment, alcohol, drugs, health, housing, domestic violence, poor education and lack of skills.

*It is only city aborigines who want a Voice. Country aborigines have no interest in it.

*A Treaty, based on the Waitangi Treaty of New Zealand, would achieve more.

In response to these concerns and beliefs, I tell my friends the reasons why I will vote YES.

*Indigenous people were excluded from the Australian Constitution in 1901. This was an insult and a mistake which must be rectified now.

*When Britain, in 1788, invaded the continent we now call Australia, they stole land which had been occupied by indigenous people for 65000 years. The welfare that is now given to them is a tiny fraction of the value of their land that they have never ceded.

*100 tribes of Indigenous people have never been able to speak to the Australian Parliament with one democratically elected Voice. Previous institutions have been comprised of political appointees who did the will of the governments that appointed them.

*White people have always decided what is best for aborigines, never the reverse.

*Defeating the referendum will achieve nothing. This issue will never go away. We will just irresponsibly kick the can down the road so our children and grandchildren will eventually have to do what we failed to do.

*It is quite simply the right and decent thing to do.

I am certain there are other important reasons why people will vote YES or NO and these will emerge during the referendum campaign. However, the ones I have outlined give an indication of the general scope of the forthcoming debate.

The Albanese Government will not provide funding for either the YES or NO campaigns. Both sides are required to set up there own organising teams and raise their own funds. This is a good thing as it would be wrong for the government to be seen to be promoting YES even though it is a clear policy of the Labor Party. So, it must promote neither.

I have joined, as a volunteer, a significant group called FROM THE HEART and my role is to help organise a strong YES vote from the Senior Australians. My plan is to enlist as many older Aussies as possible to visit everyone in the streets around their own home to chat about the absolute common sense of having a VOICE. We won’t waste money on advertising. Face to face talking is the powerful way to sell this historic strengthening of our national life.

My gut feeling is that there is a significant task ahead.

Right now, my private polling of public opinion tells me that Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania are likely to vote NO and this will create a national defeat of VOICE as our Constitution says that a referendum cannot pass unless a majority of States vote YES.

I also suspect that Senior Australians will vote NO by a margin of 60/40 because of ingrained negativity about all indigenous issues generated over many decades, but I think that a positive campaign could make it 50/50. Young voters will then take it over the victory line.

Overall, I reckon that with sincere and courteous campaigning the cause for YES can achieve a positive victory and I intend do my best to make it happen. My experience is that most older Australians are responsible people who will try to do the right thing for the good of Australia once they understand the issues at stake.

Creating a VOICE is clearly a nation building exercise that will benefit us all.

Nevertheless, I have an open mind to debate any better alternatives that sincere advocates put forward as this issue will never go away. Defeating it will achieve nil.

Grace and Peace in the spirit of ULURU. It is a symbol of unity.

Everald

THE MURDER OF CASSIUS TURVEY

Three weeks ago, a young Indigenous Aussie, just 15 years old, was peacefully walking home with his friends from the school they attended at Middle Swan in Western Australia.

His name was CASSIUS TURVEY.

They were attacked by a 21 year old man who hit him, and some of his friends, with an iron pole. He died two weeks later and his attacker has been charged with murder.

When he was laid to rest this week in the ancient and splendidly spiritual traditions of his ancestors, there was a genuine outpouring of grief across Australia as people of many cultures and religions met to light candles of remembrance. These gatherings were not organised as a part of any campaign against racists. They just happened. Indeed, the family of Cassius asked that his death not be used in any way as part of a political campaign.

Certainly, most of us do not want a nationwide crusade similar to that which happened when George Floyd was murdered by 4 police in USA. That incident was not a show of grief. It was as close to anarchy as it was possible to get. Simply, it was naked political unrest fostered by extremists who capitalised on the sincere feelings of many peace loving Americans who were appalled at Floyd’s death.

The death of Cassius is a stark reminder to all of us that we live in a violent society that is growing in its incidence of brutality for no valid reason.

This has been fostered by the ever growing use of hostile and insulting words that millions of us use every day in the normal course of our lives.

I cringe when politicians abuse one another in Parliament on every occasion they can. They set a dreadful example to the nation of disrespect and intolerance.

Media stirs divisions among us every minute of every hour of every day by creating controversial headlines that are blatant lies designed to divide society into warring factions that will support whatever sick ideology they are fostering at the time.

Social media is the worst centre of abuse by far. The bitterness, nastiness and lies that are spewed out every day are hugely disgraceful. So much so that I have recently taken up the practice of instantly blocking any follower or reader who is even slightly abusive, vulgar or hypocritical. We do not need them in our society in any shape or form.

We can commence our crusade against abuse by the way in which we participate in the debate during the forthcoming Referendum which will be held in Australia sometime during 2023 on the creation of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander VOICE.

This referendum has the capacity to create huge social divisions across the nation, not because there is anything illegal or divisive or dishonorable about it, but simply because it will give racists and bullies a respectable platform to vent their appalling spleen across our society and try their very best to divide us into warring factions.

I intend to campaign strongly for a YES Vote simply because I passionately believe it is time to recognise in the Australian Constitution the 65000 years of Indigenous heritage of our nation. This was deliberately omitted when our Constitution was written and voted on in 1901.

However, I will use no nasty language and I will respect the right of opponents to express their differing views as citizens of a democratic nation. If ever I overstep the mark, I will apologise sincerely.

My profound hope is that Australia will grow as a nation that has a predominantly cohesive society and that, in the years ahead, young Aussies like CASSIUS will be able to live with an expectation of security in a peaceful community, no matter whether they are black or white or of any other ethnic group or religion or culture.

May I say this in closing.

I did not attend a public gathering for CASSIUS. I paused for a few moments at my home to quietly shed a tear for him. He died before he had the opportunity to play the music that was in his soul. There and then, I made a quiet commitment to work relentlessly to foster a nation of peace.

And I now remember the words of the great English poet, John Donne, (amended to remove the word Man).

‘The death of any person diminishes me as I am involved in humankind. Therefore, never ask for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for you.’

Sincerely,

Everald Compton