Change the date but celebrate the day - The Centre for Independent Studies
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Change the date but celebrate the day

Last year Australians gave a very clear message, resoundingly rejecting the Albanese Voice and ignoring the hectoring and lecturing of the elites.

The Commonwealth and all state governments supported the Voice. As did most of the big end of town – companies; law firms; accounting firms; opinion commentators; media figures – especially at the public broadcasters; academics; and peak bodies in sport, community, religion, business and professional services. Let’s call them the woke elites.

In the name of inclusion, the woke elites alienated 60 per cent of their customers, employees, shareholders, readers, viewers, students, worshippers, fans, players and members who voted No.

They sneered at those people as racists, bigots, even Nazi sympathisers, and gave platforms for others to do so.

They donated millions in cash and/or kind to the Yes campaign, many of whose leaders trashed Australia and Australians. Money that could have been spent for the benefit of the woke elites’ stakeholders was instead spent on attacking them.

Don’t believe them if they try to justify this by saying Aboriginal people supported the Voice. The available data in remote majority Aboriginal communities, including Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Palm Island, Yarrabah and the remote top end of the Northern Territory, shows overwhelming lack of interest in the Voice, with average voter turnout well under 40 per cent.

This indicates that, at best, most Aboriginal people of voting age in remote communities didn’t vote at all, and the percentage who voted Yes was less than 30 per cent.

The woke elites don’t share the views of most Australians, and evidently not even most Aboriginal Australians.

But in the lead-up to Australia Day, it appears elites haven’t listened to the clear message their stakeholders gave them in the referendum.

Woolworths, Aldi and Kmart are refusing to stock Australia Day merchandise. Petstock announced there’ll be no Australia Day decorations in stores.

Cricket Australia said it would refuse to say “Australia Day” at the Australia Day Test match, backpedalling only after its CEO stumbled through a train-wreck interview. Tennis Australia won’t have Australia Day celebrations at the Australian Open. Most professional club sports wouldn’t survive without government funding. Who are they to thumb their noses at taxpayers?

KPMG’s chairman chose this week to declare the firm would continue to support social justice causes like the Voice, and noting for good measure that its staff can swap the Australia Day public holiday for another day. Perhaps if the big four accounting firms focused on cultural change within their organisations, rather than in Australia, we’d read fewer stories about their partners getting scrutinised by the ATO.

The elites don’t really want to celebrate Australia at all. They look down on the majority of Australians as knuckle-dragging, ignorant morons who need to be told how to think and act better.

I’m on record supporting a change of date for Australia Day. When I wrote about this over a decade ago, I suggested it be moved to January 1, the anniversary of Federation, when Australia became a single nation.

I wanted Australia Day to be on a date all Australians could celebrate, and not a date that many Aboriginal people have mixed feelings about.

I believe most Aboriginal people love Australia and want to celebrate our nation. Indeed, those Aboriginal leaders who staged a Day of Mourning and Protest on January 26 1938 – the day of the 150th anniversary of the landing of Captain Arthur Phillip at Sydney Cove – did so not because they hated Australia, but because they wanted Aboriginal people to be part of Australia, with the same opportunities, and able to fully participate in this nation.

But the narrative on Australia Day has moved from a discussion about the date to a growing opposition to the day, whatever date it’s celebrated on. Today, the loudest change-the-date voices are actually anti-Australia. Most Australians simply won’t tolerate that view, and therefore will never support a change of date. January 26 is becoming entrenched as a day marked by divisive clashes between the majority of Australians who love and celebrate Australia, and a small, noisy, anti-Australia minority.

While the woke elites are distracted with social justice, the Albanese government has been bringing in legislation and policies that are damaging our nation, their businesses and the interests of their stakeholders, including industrial relations changes that unwind decades of reform, are driving wage rises with no link to productivity improvements, and soon may make it impossible to be, or hire, a casual or contractor.

These are the things the Australian business community should be focused on. Instead, they are fiddling with social justice while Rome burns.

Elites need to wake up. Stop trashing the country and the people who keep you going, and start paying attention to the people you’re supposed to serve.

When Opposition Leader Peter Dutton originally called for a boycott of Woolworths, I didn’t jump in with support because I know from the referendum campaign that most of their staff don’t agree with the management overlords. But after hearing the attempts by executives of the woke elite over the past week to justify, explain or weasel their way around their decisions, it’s clear they still aren’t listening.

So, I’ve changed my mind. I now think majority of Australians who love Australia should boycott the woke elite who don’t.

Nyunggai Warren Mundine AO is Director, Indigenous Forum, Centre for Independent Studies.

Photo by Max Ravier.