Straya

On a sunshiney day at an outdoor gig in a park by the beach in Cronulla, I met a Palestinian man who had come to Australia last year for a better life for his family. His wife and four beautiful children said hello but it was he who needed to talk. To a clown. There is something about wearing a red nose that makes people open up and share their stories.

I told him I thought he was very brave to leave everything and everyone he knew behind to create a life in a new country. He told me in Australia he had hope for his children’s future. He believed that they would have a better life here. He said,
In eight months we have achieved a lot.”

I told him I thought that it took a lot of courage to start life in a new country, but as I said it, I felt a dread that I’ve never experienced before. I hoped to God that dumb rednecks would not ruin his view that Australia was a peaceful place to be. I hoped that no one made nasty remarks or commented on his accent. I couldn’t bear to mention to him that racism is rife, as I could see a few metres behind him a woman pushing her child on a swing with a southern cross tattoo on her neck

I want an Australia that doesn’t lock people up and torture them because they dare to seek asylum

I want to vote for politicians who consider people in their policies before posturing politicking bullshit

I want uneducated rednecks out of parliament

I want a beautiful Australia where real estate speculators haven’t bought up and ugly-fied every building that happens to overlook a beach.

I want to live in a country that recognises that love is love.

I want aboriginal people recognised in our constitution.
I want $300 lunches to be abolished while people are homeless and kids are going to school hungry.

An end to reality renovation shows
I want to meet this lovely man’s children in 20 years and say, “Your mum and dad wanted you to live in safety so they gave up their friends and family for you to have a chance.” I hope they have a wonderful life, I hope they don’t get teased for their accents. I hope their mum and dad find great jobs and they grow old together, free of war.

And I hope his kids don’t end up voting for idiots 


Good on ya ripper bewdy mate

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 it’s called Australia Day, not ‘today I have a license to be a redneck racist day.’ And Aboriginal people remember it very differently to us white people. For some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, it is Survival Day, a celebration of the survival of people and culture. Australians hold many different views on what 26 January means to them. So I 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 sometimes I get choked up with the sentiment of the day and I’m lost for words. So I’ll put it like this:
Happy Straya Day youse are all tops, onya, get a yabbie up ya, chuck a coldie down ya neck cobber.