We may be great, but state of grace eludes nation

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January 26, also known as Australia Day, is on the horizon once again so it won’t be long until the debate of the pros and cons of our national day starts raging.

It is fair to say there are good arguments on both sides.

For our Indigenous brothers and sisters January 26 is the day when their world turned upside down 234 years ago.

There may be some people who don’t get that, but that’s their problem.

On the other hand, January 26 celebrates some incredible achievements.

The fact that this giant island is now one united, wealthy nation must be right at the top of any such list.

We make enough food to feed 75 million people, we are world beaters in sport and other fields of endeavour.

Arguably, Australia is already a great country, although some believe it’s only just starting on that road.

As well as greatness, we should be seeking a state of grace in our civic affairs.

This means the indigenous issue needs to be resolved once and for all.

Same goes for finally cutting our ties to the British monarchy.

And then there’s the controversial Australia Day.

January 26, 1788 is recorded in history as the day the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Harbour and nothing can erase that.

But the question is, should January 26 be our national day?

In my opinion, and I have gone on the record a few times before, Anzac Day should be our national day.

January 26 can still be observed in a meaningful way, but not as our national day.

I have no doubt that it is only a matter of time before this happens.

Community interest in January 26 as our national day has been on the wane for many years.

Local councils struggle to get nominations for the citizens awards presented on the day.

Having served on Campbelltown’s Australia Day committee for a few years in the 1990s, I have personal experience of the lack of community interest.

Some progressive councils have treated Australia Day with contempt for years and will no doubt be celebrating the decision around citizenship ceremonies.

A couple of weeks ago it was announced it would not be compulsory to hold the ceremonies on Australia Day.

Yes, of course January 26 should be a glorious celebration of modern Australia and its massive achievements since 1788.

But for the reasons outlined above, it has rarely been smooth sailing.

It is a shame, but sorry, that’s how the cookie crumbles.

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