When my children ask me questions about 26 January 1788, I try to be an intelligent, thoughtful single mother. I like to remind them that in 1994 some idiot politician decided it would be called Australia Day, AKA ‘today I have a license to be a redneck racist day.’ And Aboriginal people remember it very differently to white people. For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it is Invasion Day and Survival Day, a celebration of the survival of people and culture. Australians hold different views on what 26 January means to them. I’d like to explain to my gals in an all encompassing, feminist-leaning, intersectional, embracing all cultures and values kind of way what Australia Day means, but we need to change the date. Some people get choked up with a false sentiment of the day and put it like this: Happy Straya Day youse are all tops, onya, get a yabbie up ya, chuck a coldie down ya neck cobber.
Today Australia lost a great feminist, a funny, feisty, smart, witty woman who championed many causes during a life well lived. Margaret Dovey Whitlam inspired many with her service to community and country. As a modern Australian woman I am grateful to her for blazing a trail in the 70s.