January 26, 2012 2 Comments
I have spent Australia Day (also known as Invasion Day) catching up on housework and contemplating the more curly aspects of my day off. Earlier in the week, a number of my Aboriginal co-workers expressed their wish to work through the public holiday. The 26th January marks the arrival of the First Fleet to Australia, the declaration of British Sovereignty and a time of terrible, violent upheaval for Aboriginal people. But as Australia Day is a declared public holiday there are limitations and conditions placed on employers, such as penalty rates, that offer a disincentive to employ full staff numbers on public holidays (or, put another way, an incentive to employers to allow their staff to spend time with family and friends). Some members of our team do participate in Australia Day, some see it as a day of national pride while others have separated it from its historical and symbolic context and use the public holiday to share time with friends. Attempt have been made to change our national holiday to a day less contentious but without success. Reconciliation of differing individual and cultural perspectives is no easy thing, especially in practice.
At a very basic level, I’m just pleased to be home for more than two days in a row. And here are the flowers bought to mark this rare occurrence.