Victorian schools are being encouraged to begin assemblies with a ‘Welcome to Country’ ceremony acknowledging the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land.
Victorian Principals Association President, Fred Ackerman, heartily encouraged the trend describing it as ‘good practice, and appropriate’.
To illustrate the offensivenss of this ‘appropriate good practice’, let’s take an example from my home country. Imagine if schools in England began their assemblies by reminding England’s growing population of Arabs, Pakistanis, Indians, Chinese, Slavs and Africans to ‘respectfully acknowledge the [Angles, Saxons, Danes, Jutes, Normans and Celts] who are the traditional owners and custodians of the land on which we stand.’
Fair enough? No, of course not. It would be rightly slammed as offensive, divisive and appallingly racist. One of the great features of citizenship in England and in Australia (i thought) is that all are equal in the eyes of the law. This new direction would mean judging people by the colour of their skin rather than their personality; it would mean valuing them on the basis of their ancestors not themselves. It would be racism and it would be wrong.
So why is it ok in Australia?
In July, i am due to take my Citizenship Test, having been a permanent resident in this fine country for two years. Am i right in thinking that i will be a second class citizen in Australia because i am not ‘indigenous’?
Andrew Bolt has more.
Update I – my sincerest apologies for using the word ‘indigenous‘. I hadn’t realised that it is no longer politically acceptable to use it. I wasn’t aware that it ‘robbed the traditional owners of Australia of an identity’. Won’t happen again.
Update II – thanks to Andrew Bolt for the link to this post. Check out the comments section for an ancient English history lesson!