Is it okay to celebrate an act of genocide? Is it reasonable to hold neighborhood parties on the day that genocide began — opening crates of beer, cranking up the barbecue and staging colorful fireworks displays?
That’s the question being asked by Australia’s indigenous people ahead of the country’s national day, which falls on Jan. 26. It’s the day the British sailed into Sydney Cove, claiming the country with the purpose of establishing a penal colony.
That first British settlement was the starting point of what — just maybe — is one of the world’s most inspiring stories. The detritus of Britain were discarded on an island 10,000 miles from home, yet they prospered.… Seguir leyendo »
Social conservatism, as an international political movement, may have just scored one of its greatest-ever own goals.
Here in Australia — like in many parts of the world — social conservatives have long argued that they speak for the silent majority, for people silenced by “political correctness.” But on gay marriage in Australia, the silent majority was firmly on the side of inclusion. In the coming weeks, the Australian Parliament will finally legislate in favor of same-sex marriage — but only after a process which traumatised many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Australians, sent shock waves through families, and cost a small fortune.… Seguir leyendo »
Australia thinks of itself as “the most successful multicultural society in the world” — to quote the oft-repeated phrase by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. But now that claim is being challenged in so many ways, all at once, it seems.
For a start, there’s the current political crisis, based on a half-forgotten section of the constitution forbidding those who have dual citizenship from sitting in Parliament. So far, eight parliamentarians — including the deputy prime minister — have been thrown out of office for no greater crime than having a father who was born in New Zealander, a mother who was Italian, or some other similarly unlikely “allegiance to a foreign power.”
Nearly all these parliamentarians were born in Australia.… Seguir leyendo »