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'one people, One Destiny' « Previous | |Next »
January 26, 2006

And so today is Australia Day. Time to fly the flag, hit the beach and have a barbecue. Only its too dam hot. The threat of bush fires is everywhere, given the extreme conditions and an onslaught of north-northwesterly winds across south-western Australia.

The PM has had his say about the meaning or significance of Australia Day. It stands for social cohesion and national unity.

Paul Zanetti

The PM's conservatism is evident in the way that he highlights social cohesion:

In the 21st century, maintaining our social cohesion will remain the highest test of the Australian achievement. It demands the best Australian ideals of tolerance and decency, as well as the best Australian traditions of realism and of balance....A sense of shared values is our social cement. Without it we risk becoming a society governed by coercion rather than consent. That is not an Australia any of us would want to live in...So tomorrow let us indeed celebrate our diversity. But we should also affirm the sentiment that propelled our nation to Federation 105 years ago – one People, One Destiny.

So what are the values of one People?

Those of an Anglo Australian monoculturalism? Are these the shared values (of mateship?) that hold the nation together? Does it suggest a neo-assimilationist narrative that highlights both the ethnic differences within the nation and a structured narrative; then demands that Muslims, or Arab Australians, identify with the dominant Christian Anglo-Australian culture?

What does One Destiny refer to? The phrase just sits there hanging in mid-air. Just what is the one destiny of one Australian people in a globlised world? Howard's structured narrative--Advance Australia Fair---is leading to what end point in history?

Alan Moir captures this perspective perfectly:


Those who question this are seen as the 'shrill voices ' of the left , who are full of 'self-loathing' who hold that Australians should be 'ashamed of ourselves. They---the 'pointy heads and the bleeding hearts' 'knock down those things we believe in' and ' thoroughly disparaged our national day ' as 'xenophobic, intolerant and illogical' .These are the expressions of the voice of Australian conservatism---Murdoch's Australian newspaper.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:56 PM | | Comments (3)


There is far more sophistry in Howard's anglo-nationalism than in Menzies day. Howard's speech writers earnt their keep, whereas Menzies can make anyone cringe with; "I did but see her passing by, and yet I love her till I die."

I think we are seeing the rise of the latte-conservatives. A conservative commenteriat foisting policies on Australia that polling seems to indicate people the majority dont want. Devine is a good example, she prattles on and on about multiculturalism being dead, yet ACNeilson's poll suggests that 80% support or strongly support the policy.

Half of Australians have no confidence in the flag. These things suggest at the maximum nationalist conservatism can't eke a majority, at worst its policies/ideology are flat out unpopular with a large majority.

The policies are only being propelled by a government system that rewards statis and encumbancy. It helps to have a highly centralised media system. I think we are seeing a new chattering class; the latte-conservatives.

Neo-assimilationist; I wouldn’t give the present conservative Govt that much creative credit.
This is what Bill Snedden, Minister for Immigration had to say, in 1969:
‘If [Asian] migration implied multi-cultural activities within Australian society, then it is not the type Australia wants. We must be a single Australian people and that’s a view I strongly hold’.
PM Gordon had this to say on the subject in the same year:
‘We must remain homogeneous … people of other races can come in and be assimilated’.

We seemed to have had social cohesion and national unity prior to 1996 when Howard and Hanson hit the scene with their “nobody asked us” attitude to non-white (Asian and Middle Eastern) immigration. It is they, and the small minority of bigoted Australians that share their views, that have upset the social cohesion.
The present Govt policy of indifference towards aborigines is also dated. It’s old style conservatism not seen since the 1960’s. I’ll tell what is sitting there hanging in mid air, and that’s Australian multiculturalism, and Aboriginal reconciliation. For the last 10 years now, I haven’t heard one Govt minister explicitly state the Govt’s support for these policies. In the last ten years the Govt through its dog whistling has openenly sort to marginalise Australians of Asian, Middle Eastern and Aboriginal background. Is it just coincidence that these Australians are non-white?
I hope that at the next federal election, Australians put social policy in front of economic policy when they go to vote.


you are probably right. Maybe it is just the return of old-fashioned assimilation from the 1950s and 1960s that is based on the exclusion of non-white Australians.

I called it neo-assimilation for two reasons. Firstly, because I reckon a lot of the material is now coming from the US Republicans via Rupert Murdock's Australian.

Secondly, the conservative response to the Cronulla riots was to defend the white vigilatism 'reclaim the beaches' from the aggressive Lebanese Australians. That vigilante dimension is new.