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Australia Day 2014

By Sophie Love - posted Tuesday, 28 January 2014

I love this country. Its pristine beaches and rollicking surf, its wide blue skies and brilliant sun. The heady scents of the bush and even the cicadas. The fertile river flats and the wide barren inland where the spirits of an ancient people call to us from the dreamtime, urging us to remember country and a simpler and more soulful way of being. I love its peoples, old and new, and the sense of healing, promise and hope it offers. I love the plants, parrots and watching the platypus play. We are so blessed to live here, to call this wide brown land home.

For so long Australia has seen itself as some sort of second class citizen on the world stage, too afraid to step up and throw off the shackles of its convict past and say 'we're here, we brew beer, get used to it.' We have seen ourselves as the world has seen us – a backward outpost of the once great British Empire, good for surfing, cricket and the eponymous Aussie BBQ. Only with Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard was there any sense that we could step up and play with the superpowers. We have earned the respect of the world with our economy and handling of the GFC but now we are sliding backwards and losing the opportunity to make our mark and become the global leader we are destined to be.

Australia was once a hotbed of solar research and development, only to see all the talent and technology sold off to higher bidders offshore. Now Germany leads the world in solar technology and take up while Spain, China and the US power up cities with the sun's rays. Here in Oz last week The Financial Review blamed solar installations for grid failures during the heatwave . . . In a country with one of the world's highest daily solar hours, our continued government support & subsidies for mining & fossil fuels which destabilise and destroy landscapes and our oh so precious water supplies is incomprehensible. We should be leading the world in renewables, not keep kowtowing to mining magnates.


As the world wakes up to the immediate need to tackle climate change, Australia is repealing the carbon tax and any semblance of action on our carbon emissions, and abdicating any sense of moral or ethical responsibility for the future of our children and their children. This government is permitting mining and dredging in the vicinity of our world heritage and iconic Great Barrier Reef while State and Federal Governments continue to endorse fracking which not only uses huge quantities of water (which we do not have) but poisons our groundwater. As we look down the barrel of yet another drought, only 7 years since the last one ended, this is just nonsensical. How can we have become so disconnected from our environment that feeds and sustains us?

Our Economy is the envy of the world (partly because of all those mineral resources) but the mining boom has not made Australia wealthy, just a select few who seem to have pet politicians in their pockets. Which is why the Mining Tax was a good idea. Why does Australian Government now allow itself to be determined and dictated to by powerful lobby groups? What happened to integrity and the will to serve the whole?

The Refugee crisis is a shameful representation of Australia and its peoples. We have such abundance to share and yet we refuse those who seek shelter on our shores . . . we, migrants all, who have stolen this land from its rightful owners.

Australia perpetrates human rights abuses on refugees in our detention centres, we alienate our most important Asian neighbours and this Government thinks it has the right to stay silent on these issues. I beg to differ, they seem to forget that we pay their salaries, they do not have a divine right to rule.

The rest of the world legislates to allow gay marriage while our Federal Government fights the State that makes it possible and overturns the wishes of its citizens. Yet another backward step as the global village becomes ever more tolerant, accepting and welcoming to our homosexual sisters and brothers.

The world wide web has changed every aspect of our lives in only a few short years. As the rest of the world sees the potential of our future purchasing patterns, online lifestyles and business opportunities with high speed internet we are way behind and apparently going to stay in the dark ages with FTTN. Countries in the top 20 for fastest download speeds include Latvia, Romania, Bulgaria, Israel and the Czech Republic. Why is it that we want to be trailing far behind the rest of the world when it is precisely our great distances that make rapid internet crucial for our future development and determination.


The Apology to the Aborigines was a significant step in our reconciliation with the original Australians, but we haven't followed that up with anything meaningful – like increased investment in indigenous education, health, training or any attempt to enrich modern Australia by learning from, and connecting with, the land they know so well, and the spiritual laws and customs of a people who understand community and a more measured way of life. The social issues we vilify them for are all caused by the injustices perpetrated against a great race by Captain Cook and the convict settlers. Isn't our insistence on celebrating Australia Day disrespectful in the extreme? What if they had 'turned back the boats'?

Our politicians spend their time in bitter battling between parties and leaders rather than making Australia great. What has happened to our proud pioneering spirit, our Aussie battler mentality and sheer grit? Have we turned into a nation of namby pambies too weak or apathetic to stand up for ourselves, be the change that we want to see in the world, and create a force to be reckoned with? C'mon, Aussie, c'mon . . . .

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About the Author

Sophie Love has been involved in the advertising and media industries since the 1980's 'greed is good' heydays. British by birth, but Australian by choice, she is passionate about this beautiful sunburnt continent and re-connecting Australians to their literal roots - where their food comes from. She runs a farm, a family, and a marketing/design agency. In her free time (!) she likes to put pen to paper and share her thoughts about a wide variety of issues and modern day dilemmas. You can read more at

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