Out on the patio we’d sit

Happy Australia Day. Today I will be celebrating the 2nd public holiday of the year (and we’re not yet even out of January) with a barbecue with snags, rissoles and kebabs, a nice Australian red wine and listening to great Australian music. I will not be listening to the Hottest 100, because I hardly know any of the songs (yeah I’m old, so shoot me:)). One thing I will not be doing is wearing the Australian flag.

Call me old-fashioned, but a flag to me belongs on a flagpole, not on someone’s back as a cape, a tattoo, or a boob tube. I guess while I’m at it, I think V8 supercars are a waste of time, I don’t tan, because I can’t, I drive Japanese, not Ford/Holden and I think John Farnham is overrated. For all of these actions, you could call me un-Australian, that word which people such as Alan Jones and John howard used to love slapping on to any action which did not conform to their conservative, xenophobic, 1950s outlook.

The funny thing is, I am Australian as you come. My children could trace their family back in Australia to the 1820s when their ancestors came out in chains. Another lot came out as a result of the clearances in Scotland. And more recently some arrived as the last of the 10 pound Poms- that would be my parents and 1 year old me. We arrived in 1972 from Belfast, at a time when my mother would worry whether or not my dad would return home alive. I gained citizenship, hold an Australian passport, barrack for Geelong and love roast lamb.

Marieke Hardy’s piece does some it up for me. There are times when I fear that what is displayed in the name of patriotism is a very small step from nationalism.


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