NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Invasion Day #changethedate debate : New Australia Day ad has no mention of it? Strewth


” The latest Meat and Livestock Association’s (MLA) annual Australia Day ad is out. It’s the first not to mention ‘Australia Day’, but it doesn’t need to. It features a “beach party” scene imitating all textbook illustrations of the arrival of European colonization.

The only thing I can hope for when I watch that ad is that this will be the last Australia Day held on the 26th of January, and that any future attempts to profit from patriotism will not need to try so damn hard to make Australian history, or contemporary Australian society, appear much more inclusive than it actually is. “

By Luke Pearson  Source:  NITV

” An Australia Day ad without actually mentioning Australia Day? Strewth, that’s un-Australian!

But that’s exactly what Meat & Livestock Australia has done, with its annual Australia Day ad failing to actually name the national celebration.

Labelled the MLA’s “January campaign”, the ad instead focuses on the controversy surrounding the negative meaning on Australia Day for indigenous Australians.

Referred to by many as “Invasion Day”, January 26th is the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet from Great Britain “

Australia Day ad has no mention of it? Strewth! The Australian

The ad perhaps is a fitting theme for Australia Day: forget about or completely misrepresent Australian history and contemporary society, and buy stuff instead.

Enjoy your paid day off, buy a flag cape, buy some alcohol and get drunk, buy some lamb and have a BBQ, and complain about whoever you think isn’t ‘Australian enough’ or about those who choose not to celebrate ‘Australia Day’ and call the day Survival Day, Invasion Day, or a Day of Mourning.

Apart from a brief reference to Aboriginal people having been here “since forever”, the ad crams tens of thousands of years into a quick sound bite. The ad revels in the last 200 years, because apparently, that’s when pretty much anything worth talking about happened.

The attempt to include ‘boat people’ at the end, with the response: “aren’t we all boat people?”, does nothing to redeem the caricatures we’ve just witnessed.

 2017 lamb ad features a beach party hosted by Indigenous Australians.

Using sarcasm to say “we’re not racist” is probably the point.

An ad like this can’t lose from a marketing perspective. People who love it will share it and sing its praises, people who hate it will share it and point out its flaws, commentators like myself will comment on it guaranteeing that anyone who reads this and hasn’t seen the ad will watch it, if only so they can make sense of what I am saying. I’m okay with that thought because, for my part at least, I’m not trying to get anyone to boycott lamb or trying to stop anyone from watching the ad.

Love it or hate it, it is still worth a watch.

My goal is trying to get the date of Australia Day changed, and the blind patriotism that goes along with it reduced, not merely extended so that everyone else can be just as blindly patriotic to the notion of ‘Australianity’, or mateship, or ‘One Nation’ or whatever we are calling it these days.

I do however appreciate that all ads are trying to sell something, that is what they’re meant to do, but I think the MLA are trying too hard to tack on their newly discovered ‘sense of inclusivity’ to their core desire to sell more meat.

The idea of a group of marketing executives sitting a room thinking, “Hmmm, how can we make the controversy over Australia Day equal more profits for us?”, just turns me off my lunch.

I can picture the creative team patting each other on the back after coming up with the line, “we’re all boat people” and feeling particularly clever about co-opting a concept that many people have used for years now, albeit for more altruistic motives, namely to combat the term being used to denigrate asylum seekers.

The construct of ‘Australia Day’ is problematic enough for the Australia Day Council given the date that Australia chooses to hold its national day, but to take it one step further to try to sanitise the history of migration to Australian shores is outright impossible.

Justifying the existence of Australia Day being on the 26th of January in order to sell lamb to a more diverse customer base is just too convoluted a plan for my taste.

The only thing I can hope for when I watch that ad is that this will be the last Australia Day held on the 26th of January, and that any future attempts to profit from patriotism will not need to try so damn hard to make Australian history, or contemporary Australian society, appear much more inclusive than it actually is.

I’m sure many people will consider this ad to be a great step forward for representation in Australian media, but personally, I still remember their racist ads of recent years, and I am not buying that this attempted shift of focus has anything other to do with trying to sell more lamb, which I am also not buying.

Maybe I’d have been a bit kinder to this latest attempt if it was a standalone, and not just the next chapter of a series I already don’t like, written for an company I already don’t like, tied to a day that I do not like…

Just change the damn date already.

NACCHO Aboriginal health and January 26 debate: What does Australia Day mean for our mob ?

January 26

A day off, a barbecue and fireworks? A celebration of who we are as a nation? A day of mourning and invasion? A celebration of survival?

Australians hold many different views on what 26 January means to them.

We welcome your comments in the online forum below

For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it isn’t a day for celebration. Instead, 26 January represents a day on which their way of life was invaded and changed forever.

For others, it is Survival Day, and a celebration of the survival of people and culture, and the continuous contributions Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make to Australia.

On the eve of 26 January 2014, and in the spirit of reconciliation, we would like to recognise these differences and ask you to reflect on how we can create a day all Australians can celebrate.

On this day in…

From around 40,000 BC the continuing culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples flourishes across the country.

1788 The First Fleet lands on Australian shores, and Captain Phillip raises the Union Jack as a symbol of British occupation.

1818 26 January is first recognised as a public holiday in NSW to mark the 30th anniversary of British settlement.

1938 Re-enactments of the First Fleet landing are held in Sydney, including the removal of a group of Aboriginal people. This practice of re-enactment continued until 1988, when the NSW government demanded it stop.

1938 Aboriginal activists hold a ‘Day of Mourning’ aimed at securing national citizenship and equal status for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

1968 Lionel Rose becomes the first Aboriginal Australian to be named Australian of the Year. At the time he noted, “One hundred and eighty-two years ago one of my mob would have been a dead cert for this.”

1972 The Aboriginal Tent Embassy is established on the lawns of Parliament House, Canberra, in reaction to Prime Minister William McMahon’s Aboriginal policy.

1988 The Aboriginal community stage a massive march for Freedom, Justice and Hope in Sydney, followed by the Bondi pavilion concert that preceded the Survival Day Concerts. 1988 was named a “Year of Mourning” for Aboriginal people, and also regarded as a celebration of survival.

1992 The first Survival Day concert is held in Sydney.

2000 Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue, a member of the Yunkunytjatjara peoples of Central Australia, delivers the annual Australia Day address and calls for a conversation on changing the date of Australia Day.

2014 Townsville Council will for the first time officially celebrate both Survival Day (on 24 January) and Australia Day (on 26 January).

Some quick statistics

15,000 Australians attended the Freedom, Justice and Hope march in 1988 to celebrate the survival of Aboriginal people and culture.

Around 16,000 people attend the Yabun festival—the single largest Indigenous festival in Australia, and one of the most important music events in the country—in Sydney to mark 26 January each year.

8 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been awarded Australian of the Year since the award began in 1960.

In 2014, there are 14 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander state and territory finalists for the Australian of the Year Awards.

Meet…the Saltwater Freshwater Festival

Each year on 26 January the Saltwater Freshwater Festival showcases the living Aboriginal culture of NSW’s mid-North Coast and extends an invitation for everyone to come together on Australia Day to celebrate Aboriginal culture. It is one example of many events around the country bringing people together in the spirit of reconciliation on Australia Day.

Read more about the Saltwater Freshwater Festival here.


Watch Mick Dodson accepting his 2009 Australian of the Year award, espousing his hope for all Australians to work for reconciliation

What they said

“For me, the most important first step to reconciliation is dialogue. For me, this means participating in mainstream national events and ensuring that the Indigenous voice is heard…I would however make a strong plea for a change of date. Let us find a day on which we can all feel included, in which we can all participate equally, and can celebrate with pride our common Australian identity.”
Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue, Australian of the Year 1984

“The great majority of Indigenous people want to live in one Australia; want to share in its destiny; want to participate in and contribute to its progress; but at the same time, want the recognition and respect that their status and millennia-old civilisation so clearly warrant.”
Sir Gustav Nossal, Australian of the Year 2000

“It is one thing to acknowledge the fact of invasion; it is quite another to celebrate it.”
Michael Mansell, Lawyer and Indigenous rights activist, upon refusing his Senior Australian of the Year 2014 nomination

“For [Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders], it must be a day of disaster.”
Manning Clark, Australian historian

Take action…

Attend or volunteer at the Saltwater Freshwater Festival at Kempsey on the mid-North Coast of NSW.

Change your view on Australia Day by seeing an event different to the traditional barbeque or fireworks, such as attending the Yabun Festival in Sydney, or a Survival Day concert in Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth.

Read Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue’s Australia Day address in 2000, discussing how it is possible to both celebrate being Australian, while acknowledging and seeking to address the wrongs done to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the past.

Check out the nominations for the 2014 Australian of the Year, or nominate someone for the 2015 Australian of the Year Awards.

Register your support for reconciliation in Australia and sign up to support the Recognise campaign.

Reconciliation Australia would like to thank the National Australia Day Council, the Saltwater Freshwater Alliance and Gadigal Information Service for their assistance in developing this factsheet.