Instead Of Changing The Date Of Australia Day, Scott Morrison Wants To Create An Entirely New National Day For Indigenous Australians

'Separate but equal' isn't something to aspire to, Scott.

According to an exclusive in today’s Daily Telegraph, Prime Minister Scott Morrison wants to keep Australia Day on January 26th, and resolve the issues around the date by creating a second national day for Indigenous Australians.

He’s also revoked Byron Bay Shire Council’s authority to conduct citizenship ceremonies, after they announced they would celebrate Australia Day on January 25th rather than the 26th.

He believes celebrating Australia Day on January 26th means celebrating the fact that on that day, “Australia changed forever”.

Australia didn’t properly exist until 1901, Scott, but go off, I guess.

In suggesting a new national day for Indigenous Australians, Morrison told the Telegraph:

I also believe we need to honour and acknowledge in our national calendar our indigenous peoples. Rather than further conflict and argument, this is how I believe we can work together to bring and keep Australians together.

The reason it seems a lot like “let’s come up with another term for marriage” is that it’s driven by the same principle: separate but equal.

‘Separate but equal’ was a legal doctrine in the United States that ensured racial segregation didn’t violate the 14th Amendment, which was implemented following the Civil War and addressed equality under the law. The doctrine meant that as long as the facilities provided to each race were equal, governments could continue to segregate them by race.

In this case, as long as both days are afforded the same status as public holidays, Morrison evidently thinks all will be well. ‘Separate but equal’ didn’t work in the US, and it won’t work here.

The problem inherent with the January 26th date is that people like Scott Morrison and many Indigenous Australians fundamentally disagree with what the date represents. Morrison believes it represents the beginning of Australia as a nation, and many Indigenous people see it as a date that marks the beginning of the process of colonisation. People like Morrison see a cause for celebration, where others see a tragedy.

January 26th marks the date Captain (and later Governor) Arthur Phillip rowed ashore and claimed the land for King George III. The colony of New South Wales wasn’t established until February 7th.

Again, Australia didn’t exist as a nation until January 1st, 1901, which is when federation took place.

January 26th doesn’t celebrate Australia as a whole; by alienating so many Indigenous Australians, it fundamentally cannot include them. Morrison’s solution is the wrong response, a flawed attempt at compromising between those who support changing the date and those who feel protective of their right to get drunk on a very specific day.

Australia Day wasn’t officially a public holiday nationwide until 1994 – that makes it (officially) younger than me. It was celebrated on January 26th around the country before then, but it was also celebrated on other days, as the posters and badges shown in this tweet indicate:

The only way to fully include everyone in a celebration of Australia’s history and achievements is to change the celebration to a date that doesn’t alienate the descendants of the people who lived on this continent for 60,000 years before Phillip rowed to shore.

Reckoning with Australia’s treatment of its Indigenous peoples didn’t end with the apology in 2007 – if anything, that was barely a beginning. The way forward cannot include creating a separate national day for Indigenous Australians, a separate national day that suggests they aren’t a part of the Australia that’s being celebrated on January 26th.

Acknowledging this isn’t an act of ‘indulgent self-loathing’, in the words of Prime Minister Morrison; it’s an act of basic empathy and decency. If Morrison really does have a ‘deep respect’ for Indigenous Australians, he should actually listen to their criticisms of January 26th; only then would he realise his suggested solution misses the mark completely.

(Header photo by Stefan Postles/Getty Images)

Scott Morrison Throws Trans Kids Under The Bus Because He's Worried About 'Gender Whisperers' In Schools, Whatever Those Are

Can we get a Scott Morrison whisperer to explain his thoughts to the rest of us?

Thanks to some old-fashioned fear-mongering from The Daily Telegraph, our latest Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, is worried about ‘gender whisperers’ in schools, tweeting that we should “let kids be kids”. Thanks for that insight, Scott. It’s gems like these that we’re paying you hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for.

The Telegraph reports that teachers are being trained to “spot potential transgender students in the classroom”, which actually means that they’re being trained to respond appropriately when their students say things like “I feel different” or “I’m androgynous”. Teachers, being taught how to best support their students?! Not in Scott’s Australia, thank you very much!

While the Telegraph believes that the increasing number of students being referred to gender dysphoria clinics is the result of indoctrination (apparently there’s been a 236% surge in the number of kids wanting to transition in the past three years), logic would suggest that it’s actually the result of more teachers being equipped with the knowledge to identify and deal with these feelings in students. Before, kids who felt different were at best ignored, at worst bullied. Gender dysphoria clinics didn’t even exist for them to be referred to.

But now, as we all learn more about how best to assist children dealing with dysphoria, teachers can refer children to these clinics and provide them with adequate support. If that means that those children end up coming out as trans, that’s a win in my book, especially considering how high the risk of suicide is for young transgender people.

The Telegraph article quotes a gender counsellor, Dr Elizabeth Riley, who says “I only go into schools I’m invited into. I teach the school how to deal with these children with special needs and to treat them like any other child… It’s important we support them so they get the right advice­ early so they are not bullied or go into hiding.”

Dr Riley clarified her role to Junkee, explaning that she “teach[es] school staff what terms like transgender actually mean, and how to recognise a child potentially in distress over their gender identity”. She also refers children to counselling services if they’re needed.

That all sounds… totally fine? Is Dr Riley meant to represent these ‘gender whisperers’ Morrison is so scared of? If so, gender whisperers sound useful to have around. If all kids had access to experts like Dr Riley, I’m certain they would feel supported and valued, as all children should be.

Prime Minister Morrison says he’s worried about the values schools are imposing on children, which is why he sends his kids to independent schools. If the values he’s worried about are acceptance, support for people regardless of their differences, and less of a willingness to turn a blind eye to bullying, I think we could all stand to go back to school and get some values imposed on us.


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