February 10th 2018

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY Blackouts due to closure of coal-fired power stations

EDITORIAL Behind China's push for global power

CANBERRA OBSERVED The left's appetite for change can't be satisfied

POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY The Four Ideologies of the 21st century: Transgenderism, Libertarianism, cultural and Economic, and Radical Environmentalism

SEX-TRAFFICKING Meet modern slavery - in your very suburb

EUTHANASIA Delivering Victoria's death law: an unedifying spectacle

ENVIRONMENT Too hot? Too cold? Blame global warming

OPINION Report on child sexual abuse aimed at Church

FREEDOM OF RELIGION 'Equality' and equally disingenuous terms

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Saudis, Israel confirm Middle East alliance

OBITUARY To the memory of a multimedia Chestertonian: Tony Evans

MUSIC Straight to the heart: for the listener, at least

CINEMA The Commuter: And my criteria for reviewing films

BOOK REVIEW Essays take 'settled science' to task

BOOK REVIEW A pathway through a tangle of nonsense

BOOK REVIEW Quarterly Essay


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The left's appetite for change can't be satisfied

by NW Contributor

News Weekly, February 10, 2018

It should not come as a surprise that the success of the campaign to redefine marriage and Parliament’s subsequent endorsement of gender-fluid marriage have been quickly followed by the ramping up of a debate about the nation’s national day of celebration.

We live in a time of the perpetual protest.

Barely a fortnight had passed after the redefinition of marriage was announced before the ABC’s national youth radio station Triple J (funded entirely by the Federal Government via the Australian taxpayer) announced that it would no longer be holding its popular “Hottest 100” countdown on January 26.

At least one mooted solution may be a bridge too far.

The event had grown into the highpoint for the radio station’s year with millions of young Australians tuning in during the day while enjoying parties and barbecues celebrating Australia Day.

But for the politically correct ABC it was an embarrassment and therefore had to be changed.

Not surprisingly, the Greens seized on the issue as their next big symbolic gesture. Greens-dominated councils in inner-city Melbourne and Fremantle have already banned Australia Day citizenship ceremonies.

Meanwhile, former Labor leader Mark Latham launched a counter-campaign to “Save Australia Day”.

A cacophony of views have been unleashed, with one proposal from First Fleeter descendant Jonathan King in The Sydney Morning Herald urging changing January 26 to “Sea Festival Day” to celebrate “our nautical heritage and arrival of all Aboriginal people and migrant boat people including the British”.

Cape York indigenous leader Noel Pearson suggested that Australia Day be observed over two days, January 25 and 26, to include the day before British sovereignty and the day the takeover occurred.

“This would straddle two sovereignties: the sovereignty of the First Nations who possessed this continent since time immemorial; and the crown’s sovereignty that commenced when the British flag was raised at Sydney Cove on January 26, 1788,” Mr Pearson wrote in The Australian.

At the other end of the spectrum, Aboriginal activist Tarneen Onus-Williams of the Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance (WAR), made an invective-laden speech to an “Invasion Day” rally in Melbourne, saying that the day itself must be abolished, and that she hoped the country would “burn to the ground”.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the overwhelming majority of Australians were celebrating a national day that was ultimately “a story of enormous achievement”.

However, he added: “The impact of European settlement on Aboriginal Australians was tragic; of course it was. We understand that and there are many wrongs that were done in the past which we seek to right today.”

The Labor Opposition is divided on the issue, with many of its MPs sympathising with the push for a date change.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten typically had a bet each way, backing the retention of January 26, but encouraging “ongoing debate” in order to build a cohesive society.

“I do not sneer at people who want to argue which day our national day should be on. In our democracy, people are entitled to their opinions,’’ Mr Shorten said.

Indigenous Labor MP Linda Burney has declared January 26 date was “problematic” as it involved the “usurpation of Aboriginal sovereignty” and wants an additional public holiday to recognise Aboriginal culture and heritage, an idea backed by Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen.

Mr Shorten later ruled out Ms Burney’s proposal, saying: “We have enough public holidays in Australia”.

Anthony Albanese, a rival to Bill Shorten for the Labor leadership after the party lost power in 2013, used a speech at a citizenship ceremony in his Sydney electorate to suggest how January 26 could be kept as Australia Day, with the support of indigenous people, by holding ballots on two major issues confronting that national identity.

Mr Albanese said a referendum to recognise the first Australians in the Constitution would advance reconciliation and make January 26 a day “where we can truly say that we’re together as one, as a nation”, while a second referendum question on a republic would be a way of contemplating the nation’s future.

“It would mean Australia had a day which recognised our modern history of new arrivals, our continuous history of indigenous Australians dating back now some 80,000 years, and a recognition of confidence of us in a modern state,” he said.

Given Ms Onus-Williams views, which are not unique, Mr Albanese’s convoluted suggestions would be unlikely to be successful.

Another idea would be to have an Australia Day long-weekend on the second or the last week of January. But it is clear that as soon as any concession is made, the left will shift the goal posts immediately afterwards.

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April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm