Sunday, 26 January 2014

January 26: Australia Day ...

There’s been a barrage of criticism, of how white man claimed this land
That he shot and killed the locals as they watched him from the sand
That he stripped them of their country and he took it for his own
His actions borne of ignorance, of facts then he had not known
He ostracised the owners, imposed on them his laws and ways
He called it “Terra Australis” when her beauty he appraised
He shipped out all his murderers, his thieves and vagabonds
He shipped them in their thousands, down to that great beyond

For a hundred years it stayed that way, 'til those convicts became gentry
They owned the land, they earned respect, forgot the nature of their entry
The real owners he removed with force, he took anything of worth
All they ever really wanted was the red dust of their earth
Their past was in the dreamtime, their custom and their history
Was spiritual in nature, to white man just a mystery
Their beliefs and laws were passed by word, from father down to son
They were nomads who lived off the land, and wandered with the sun

Two hundred years have passed us by, since the Southern Cross in the sky
Was taken as our signature, hung so proudly and so high
But in ninety-two there came a shift, in what most of us believed
Eddie Mabo had a dream, and from the High Court he achieved
“Terra Nullius” it was invalid, the connection was always there
Nomads yes, they may have been, but this land was in their care
The Court anointed land rights, their ownership restored
But confusion reigned for many years, over land grants lawyers poured
Paul Kelly he did pen a song, a moving message sent
“From little things big things grow”; but some would not repent

Which brings me to Australia Day, as we celebrate down here
Adam Goodes has my support as Australian of the Year
His passion for his people, his passion for his place
His dream that white Australians will acknowledge the disgrace
Of separating values, of discriminating race
The two-faced hypocrisy that down here it has no place
But progress runs with snails, and some still do not agree
When they say "all Australians", only white folk do they see

Ignored, deplored and pushed aside; yes, it was a crime
But were those who first arrived, just products of their time?
We here now are not responsible for what happened in those days
But unless we make a difference, that responsibility stays
To those who pillory Australia Day, pull your heads in, take some pride
Today it is for all of us, a celebration, nationwide
We all live here in Australia, the best country on this earth
Where every person makes a difference, where every person has a worth

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