RACV Torquay Resort
This 5-star rated location is set on the picturesque backdrop of Torquay and Jan Juc beaches, and only a 75-minute drive from the Melbourne CBD. Its main feature, the Great Ocean Road Ballroom, overlooks a stunning golf course and Port Phillip Bay, and can accommodate up to 270 guests for a banquet meal, or up to 410 guests for a cocktail event. The ballroom, filled with natural light, boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, and can be transformed into smaller rooms for a more intimate setting. The resort features on-site ceremony services, with a selection of packages and accommodation options available. Featuring a family-friendly restaurant, bar, day spar, pool and playground, there’s something for the entire family. Prices range from $155-$180 per head. Located at 1 Great Ocean Road, this venue is sure to make your special day a day to remember.
Quii House Eco Meditation and Relaxation Retreat
Located in Lorne, the Quii House Eco Meditation and Relocation Retreat prides itself on being the perfect space for your tranquil, green and eco-friendly wedding. It’s an architectural gem, set in the heart of the Otway National Park, combining simple luxury with fresh mountain air. Nuzzled between tall blue gums and abundant ferns in marshmallow clouds, it’s the perfect place to spark romance and relaxation. Listen to the natural bush orchestra, gaze at the stars and sip champagne on the sunset deck in perfect stillness. What better way to reconnect with nature?
Grand Pacific Hotel Lorne
Built in 1875, this historic icon is located in the picturesque town of Lorne and will provide the perfect location for your special day. With custom packages available and outstanding views, the Grand Pacific Hotel caters for all wedding sizes, from 30 to 250 guests—and even has luxury accommodation available. Prices range from $79 to $125 per guest, with indoor and outdoor ceremony options available. Complete with a stylish menu, this venue may very well be the perfect place for your special day.
Peppers The Sands Torquay
This sleek and modern wedding destination is snuggled in the sandy dunes of Torquay’s north headland. With indoor and outdoor ceremony options, this venue caters for all wedding sizes from two to 350 guests. To make your special day yours alone, Peppers The Sands only hosts one wedding per night—and even comes with your very own wedding coordinator, who will assist with planning, as well as on the day. The venue boasts exquisite views of the world-class 18-hole golf course, and the stunning costal environment. With mouth-watering cuisine, prices range from $99 to $159 per head And it’s all only an hour’s drive from Melbourne!
Located on the gateway of the Great Ocean Road in Torquay, the Wyndham Resort boasts a modern, contemporary design—and it’s only metres from the beach! The resort creates individual wedding packages, and can seat up to 250 guests for a banquet reception, and up to 350 guests for a cocktail party. The resort’s main feature is the Zeally Ballroom, which has floor-to-ceiling windows, and 180 degree panoramic views of the beautiful ocean and rugged coast line. You can retreat for some pampering at the Breathe Spa, or seek out the fully-equipped gym and relax in the indoor and outdoor swimming pool and spa areas, with shopping destinations, golf courses and museums only minutes away. With the world-renowned surf beaches Bells and Jan Juc only a short drive away, it’s the perfect tourist destination, and only a 75-minute drive from Melbourne.
King Parrot Cottages and Event Centre
Located in Pennyroyal, this 5-star rated venue boasts a rustic bush environment, perfect for any nature lover. You can have a formal event with a marquee and all the extras, or relax with a casual cocktail or picnic event. On-site accommodation is available through beautiful self-contained cottages, or the campground beside the bubbling creek on the valley floor—though other accommodation is also nearby. The reception area has a beautiful 190-degree north-facing view of the mystical bushlands, and is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.
With stunning ocean views, Lorne Central is the perfect destination for your beach-side wedding. The venue features a large veranda which overlooks the Great Ocean Road and Lorne’s famous surf beach, and can cater for cocktail weddings with up to 200 guests, and a sit-down reception for up to 80 guests. With dedicated staff who will cater for your every need, midweek winter packages start from $80 per guest, and weekend summer packages start from a reasonable $90 per guest. Have specific requirements and budgets for your special day? Just ask—Lorne Central is more than happy to help make your day perfect and just for you.
The Mantra is nestled in 12 acres of landscaped gardens in the quiet seaside town of Lorne. With a beachfront location and heritage architecture, the venue boasts stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and the lush green grounds. It has a 5-star rating from a whopping 21 views, and caters for weddings of all sizes, with functions available for up to 300 people. The Manta has superb dining options with only the freshest ingredients, as well as a range of menus, venues and packages to choose from, and access to local celebrants, florists and entertainers. Prices start from $50 per person.
Lorne Beach Pavilion
The Lorne Beach Pavilion is a stunning beach-front location with picture-perfect photo opportunities. It caters for guest lists of all sizes, offering a cocktail-style and seated menus, with options to upgrade, as well as a range of beverage packages. The venue has indoor and outdoor spaces with the capability to set up stunning marquees over the deck, and caters to different function themes and styles.
Get married on the beach and then walk across the road for your reception! This 5-star rated venue features stunning views of Torquay’s waterfront, and is only metres from the water. There are a variety of packages available for morning, afternoon and evening sessions, and they love to tailor to perfectly suit your needs. Up to 150 guests can be catered for at this stunning venue with waterfront views, and prices start from $135 per person.
The Federal Election can be a very confusing time—especially if you’re not really sure what to do, who to vote for, or what the major parties are even saying. It can be pretty overwhelming—particularly researching what it is you want to find. Here’s a guide on what the major parties are saying to help you decide:
- Stronger animal welfare standards and legislation with tougher penalties.
- Ending unnecessary use of animals for testing and education.
- Clear definitions of “free range eggs”.
- Abolish animals in circuses.
- Ban the slaughter of whales, greyhound racing, recreational shooting, selective breeding, race jumping and shark culling.
- Stop the importation and exportation of zoo animals unless it will assist the continuation of the species.
- Establishment of a national animal welfare body.
- More power given to RSPCA and animal cruelty investigations.
- Plans for habitat management, species loss, and protecting native plants and animals.
- Ratify international environmental law.
- End broad-scale clearing.
- Increase educational resources.
- Cleaner oceans and protect costal zones.
- Ban dumping and creation of new coal mines.
- Detailed emission targets each year until 2050.
- Net zero or net negative emissions within a generation.
- 100% stationary electricity to be sustainable as soon as possible.
- Renewable energy implementation and research.
- Aim for a nuclear-free world.
- Cease uranium mining and exportation.
- Eliminate nuclear weapons.
- Banks to make greater contribution to public purse through taxes and levies.
- Minimise ATM fees.
- Programs introduced to improve Australian financial literacy.
- Tax and superannuation reforms to benefit low-income earners.
- Reduce excessive executive salaries.
- Housing affordability and availability.
- Stronger protection of worker’s rights.
- Protection for casual and fixed-term probationary workers.
- Childcare incentives.
- Paid parental leave scheme.
- Minimum of 5 weeks leave for all employees.
- Shorter standard working hours.
- Expenditure increase of 3% to support science and technology research.
- End criminalisation of consensual sex work.
- Protection of journalism sources and regional independent media.
- Ratify international human rights legislation.
- Global disbarment strategies and promotion of non-violence.
- Close foreign defence bases within Australia.
- Stronger support for the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.
- Reform restrictive “counter-terrorism” legislation.
- End global death penalty.
- More funding for schools based on equity.
- More infrastructure and specialised teachers.
- Free university education
- 16 and 17-year-olds can vote.
Health and mental health:
- Universal publically-funded Medicare
- Universal access to public dental care
- Funding for mental health services.
- Anti-vilification disability laws.
- Ban of junk food advertisements on children’s television.
- Decriminalise abortion.
- Legalise the right to die.
- Allow same-sex marriage.
- Equal access to adoption, fostering and assisted reproduction regardless of sex, sexual orientation or marital status.
- Transgender rights.
- Remove religious exemption for anti-discrimination laws.
- Create commissioner for sexuality, gender and intersex rights with the Australian Human Rights Commission.
- More funding to domestic violence and women’s shelters.
- End the gender wage gap.
Workplace and tourism:
- $20 million in funding to protect vulnerable workers.
- Tax cuts for small businesses.
- Tax incentives for innovative start-ups.
- $23 million investment for small businesses.
- Trans-pacific trade agreement and free trade with Indonesia, the European Union and Pacific Islands.
- $20 million investment for infrastructure for tourist regions.
- Planting 20 million new trees by 2020.
- $70 million investment for green spaces.
- $30 million to support local parks.
- Emissions reduction fund.
- $15,000 to community groups for renewable resources.
- $5 million to a threatened species recovery fund.
- $3 billion to invest in the Great Barrier Reef and clean water over 10years.
- $100 million aim per year for Smart Cities program.
- Additional $60 million in funding for sport programs.
- STEM funding of $73.6 billion over 4 years.
- $4.6 million for alternate education pathways.
Technology and science:
- A further $60 million to upgrade or create 499 new telephone bases to tackle an additional 3,000 mobile phone service black spots.
- $50 million to the MyGov website.
- $7 billion in funding for clinical trials.
- $650 million in 4 years for medical funding, including $20 million for childhood cancers.
- $1.1 billion for the National Innovation and Science Agenda.
- $2.5 billion boost to law enforcement and security.
- $1 billion to strengthen borders.
- $40 million Safer Communities Fund,
- $37.3 billion investment for education.
- Girls Into Code initiative with $4.5 million in grants.
- Safer Schools program of $6 million over 3 years.
- Increase in child care benefits for low-income earners.
- $50 million to support family day care systems.
- $31 million funding for tertiary education.
- Additional funding for undergraduates.
- Restore medicare benefits.
- Legalise medical cannabis.
- Give citizens the right to die.
- $72 million funding for mental health.
- $7 million for breast cancer, $10.6 million for prostate cancer.
- $25 million for dementia research.
Climate Change and Environment:
- $500 million to the Great Barrier Reef.
- 50% renewable energy by 2030.
- Net zero pollution by 2050.
- $17.4 million in funding for Climate Change Authority.
- Ban cosmetic testing.
- More investigations and sanctions to breaches.
- Establishment of animal welfare body.
- NBN to premises.
- $400 million Western Sydney rail package.
- $1.2 million National Cycling Strategy.
- High-speed rail between Brisbane and Melbourne via Sydney and Canberra.
- Protect weekend penalty rates.
- $4.5 million for Fair Work Commission.
- No baby bonus.
- Paid parental scheme leave.
- Tax reductions for small businesses.
- Crack down on multinationals.
- More jobs and courses available.
- Creative Australia Policy.
- Building 12 submarines in South Australia.
Gender and sexuality:
- Marriage equality.
- $70 billion to family violence services.
- $8.4 million investment for indigenous girls.
- Paid parental violence leave of 5 days.
- More coverage for women’s sport with $21 million in funding to the ABC.
Despite all of these lovely promises, there’s no promises they will be put into place. I would encourage each and every one of you to think for yourselves–and to do your research: because your vote matters.
I feel for our dairy farmers—I really do.
I can’t imagine how it would feel to have everything you’ve ever known dwindle around you. To have your livelihoods rendered worthless. To be thrown into unfair debt. I have no doubt that dairy farmers have the best intentions—and maybe some of them really do look after their animals. But even so: dairy is a destructive industry, where animals are objectified as means to an economic end—and this isn’t okay.
Before you abuse me, take a moment to consider my words—humour me.
Let’s think about the practicality of dairy and how we actually get milk—cows don’t just magically produce it: it results from pregnancy. Like humans, cows carry their young for nine months. Unlike humans, most cows will have their young taken away within 12-14 hours after birth due to their economic strain. Calves less than 30 days old—known as bobby cows—will often be sent to the slaughterhouse. In Australia, this is around 400,000 calves per year. This “cruel separation” is a traumatic experience, destined to be repeated over and over for a cow’s workable lifetime— every 13 months. These calves will never even taste their mother’s milk.
There are 1.6 million dairy cows in Australia. While cows will naturally live around 20 years, cows in the dairy industry are only expected to live around seven to eight years. Australian cows also produce around 5730L of milk per year—which is incredible, as the average is only 2900L. Our farmers are struggling, and no matter how beloved certain cows may be, farmers simply need to get as much as they can from their livestock. But is money worth these drastic measures?
Speaking of drastic measures, let’s talk about industry standards. Yes, there are standards—and yes, they’re a lot better than a lot of other countries. They do genuinely try to provide better lives and treatment for cows in terms of welfare. But some aspects are still quite barbaric, such as dehorning and castration. Dehorning is a common practise for male and female cows, which involves sensitive tissue being sawn off. Castration, while considered a major operation for older bulls, can be done to males younger than six months by anyone—no matter how inexperienced. Shockingly, there are no laws required for pain relief.
Is cruelty and objectification not enough to convince you of a change of heart? Well, let’s look at health factors.
For decades, we’ve been fed the idea that dairy is best—that we need it. But consider who would have encouraged this propaganda: that’s right, the for-profit dairy industry. Yes, dairy is the source of calcium and other vitamins, but to put it bluntly: it’s not meant for us. It’s meant for a rapidly growing baby calf.
Dr Mark Hyman said consuming dairy is actually not in our best interests, and that we’ve been force-fed many ideas that are not factual. For instance, milk doesn’t reduce fractures—it may actually increase the risk of them by 50%. By consuming five to seven portions of fruits and veggies per day (and no animal products), a person can reduce their risk of heart disease by 47%, strokes by 26%, and cancer by up to 18%. Furthermore, about 75% of the population is lactose intolerant. Know why?
Because. We’re. Not. Meant. To. Drink. Another. Animal’s. Milk.
Think about it. Think about what they’re not telling you. Do you think animals should be used purely for economic gain? Even if you don’t think it’s wrong for them to be killed for our consumption, I’d like to think that—as reasonable agents—we can agree that cows should at least be treated well—starting with stricter industry standards and better policing. Even if they’re going to be slaughtered, at the very least, they should live fulfilling lives.
Does this make you feel sad? Do you wish things were different? Well, they can be—and you can help. Change begins with education. Even one mind changed can start a revolution. As it is, we don’t need dairy—there are plenty of plant-based sources of calcium, like dark leafy greens, beans, pulses, nuts, brown bread, enriched fruit juice, plant-based milks, soy mince, tofu and so on. Dairy is dwindling—the number of farms in the last two decades has decreased by two thirds. Maybe there’s a reason for it.
Dairy farmers, I feel sorry for you—that you’ve been brought into this war and are struggling. That you’re only paid 37 cents for a litre of milk, despite it costing 38 cents to produce. But instead of supporting our farmers by buying their product, why don’t we encourage them and donate to them to create new and sustainable livelihoods—livelihoods that don’t rely on forced slavery.
Some things are meant to change—and I for one choose compassion.
Ah, Tinder. You’re as useful as you are cringe-worthy. We’ve all heard about the horror stories—whether they’ve happened to us, or to someone we know. And yet, for some reason, we continue to swipe right, unbeknownst to us that we may be about to invite a total creep into our life.
For the few people who actually have successful relationships and friendships from Tinder, we salute you. But for the rest of us mere mortals, Tinder is hilarious, strange, insulting, creepy and sometimes downright sad. And thanks to the wonders of the internet, our discomfort will now be your entertainment—enjoy!
“I tried out Tinder for like 3 days but then deleted it because no one would match with me.” –L, 25.
“[Some guy told me:] I wish you were my little toe, because I’d bang you on the coffee table.” –T, 21.
What a pick up line!
“I had a guy from Tinder actually track me down and introduce himself to me at uni. I didn’t recognise him because he looked nothing like his picture.” –Z, 20.
Awkward. Pro tip: don’t stalk people you’re interested—because it (usually) doesn’t work.
“I say hey, and they never reply.” –R, 21.
“I once turned a Tinder conversation into a business deal to make a website for my business.”—S, 20.
I’m not sure it’s supposed to work like that, but good on you!
“Guy: Hey. What’s your snapchat?
Me: Why? You’re not going to send me pictures of your junk, are you?
Guy: Lol wtf? No . . . do guys do that?
Me: Yes. It’s usually the only reason they want to add girls on Snapchat.
Guy: I promise I won’t do that.
Me: Okay. *Gives Snapchat*.
. . . Five minutes later . . .
*Receives snap from guy; opens it. It’s a dick pick.*
Me: You motherfucker.” –S, 30.
We’ve been there girl. I hear you. Guys, please don’t send random women pictures of your genitals. We really don’t like it.
“I had a guy randomly ask me in the middle of a conversation if I wanted to see him naked. As if that were some kind of fantastic pick up line or something.” Z, 20.
Smooth as butter.
“I invited a guy over, and he looked a lot larger than his photos . . . [when] I saw him at the end of the drive way . . . Shamefully, I grabbed my phone off charge in the lounge room where the windows were open and hid in my bedroom. Heard him knocking for ages. Eventually, he left and I messaged him saying why didn’t you come around? I pretended I was in the back room and must not have heard him. So ashamed!” –K, 24.
Ah, poor guy!
“I had a guy ask to be his second partner for him and his pregnant wife. He said with his Mrs being preggers, they wanted a third party to join in to spice things up a little for them both. I deleted Tinder the next day.” –A, 20.
Probably not one of the strangest things to occur on Tinder . . .
“I went on a first date with this girl from Tinder and she messaged me later telling me she loved me. “—D, 21.
But, what if it was love at first sight, D?
“[I was on a date with this guy in America and he] wouldn’t stop nodding at me. Even when we were not talking. It was super awkward.” –A, 21.
“I didn’t realise Tinder was a dating ap. So I looked for both guys and girls, hoping to make some friends. Safe to say I probably wasted the time of a few lesbian women trying to find relationships.” –S, 20.
“A guy stood me up like five times, and I was awkwardly waiting for him for an hour at a bowling alley once.” –A, 21.
Let’s hope karma strikes back!
“On a date one guy legit talked about his drunken experiences the whole time and didn’t even take me anywhere, after sending me on a wild goose chase to find him. Then he just rambled about his drunken experiences and that his dad was rich.”—A, 21.
Impressive, tell me more?
“This one guy pretended to be Morty from the show Rick and Morty—literally everything he said was a quote from the show. It was pretty great.” –Z, 20.
I like what you got. Show me what you got.
And last, but certainly not least, this saga . . .
“Me: so I was talking to this girl, right . . .
Her: Hi, are you willing to be controlled and obey? I am a dominant mistress looking for a submissive to obey and worship me.
Me: Lol yeah, I could live with that.
(She told me to call her mistress and tell her my sex fantasies. I told her to tie me to something so hard it leaves marks and indents).
Her: But first . . . you need to undergo my online training . . . and sign a contract.
Me: Basically it was a scam site to try and get me to pay for sex from a random person off the internet.” –D, 21.
Well, then. There are no words for that.
May the odds be ever in your favour, fellow Tinder users.
Do you have any cringe-worthy Tinder moments? Let us know in the comments!
The Eurobodalla Relay for Life was held over the weekend at Batemans Bay’s Mackay Park, and was “better than expected” according to Cancer Council community engagement coordinator Grant Plecas. Zoe Simmons reports.
Warning: this post contains nipples.
It all started with a simple Facebook post.
Renee Gerber is a 21-year-old Queenslander—and she’s the latest person to get on board with the #FreeTheNipple campaign—in particular, a social media campaign promoting—you guessed it—nipples.
The campaign—set to launch later today—plays a game of “Guess Who?” by editing female and male (as well as transgender) nipples onto male bodies in order to protest the irrational and unequal status of women created by the sexualisation of the female nipple and breast. The goal of the campaign is to grant women the right to legally expose their breasts, as well as to destigmatise breastfeeding in public. In order to promote inclusiveness, the 20 images (with various quotes and captions) will include nipples of all genders, sexualities, races and body types.
“It’s important to understand that they’re simply body parts, and if you constantly sexualise them, that’s your own inappropriate interpretation.” Ms Gerber said.
After viewing an Instagram post last Sunday night about Orange is the New Black star Matthew McGorry doing something similar, Ms Gerber decided to upscale it into a campaign for equality. A simple Facebook post about her frustrations brought the campaign to life—and 29-year-old Clinton Ulfhedinn-Visi into the picture, who too believes it’s an important issue, and that women shouldn’t be shamed for their natural bodies.
“It’s about mother’s breastfeeding, [women] swimming in uncomfortable tops, having to constantly think about what you’re wearing, and if you’re covered up correctly,” he said.
“It’s about the fact I don’t even think about putting a shirt on when it’s hot around the house. It’s the fact that it’s just simply not fair and equal.”
The pair hope the campaign will raise awareness, encourage conversation and eventually lead to parliamentary change with enough support.
“We want it to go viral,” Ms Gerber said.
While some may believe campaigns like this are immoral and useless, they may not realise that in Australia, women can be imprisoned for showing their nipples. According to section 393 of the Crimes Act 1900 ACT, indecent exposure, which is defined as “a person who offends against decency by the exposure of his or her person in a public place”, carries a penalty of up to 12 months imprisonment. The legislation is similar in all other Australian states, with varied terms of imprisonment and in some cases, hefty fines
But really, why do we consider it “indecent”? The primary function of the female breast is to breastfeed—it’s only become sexualised because we as a society believe it to be. And let’s not forget that it was only a few decades ago that it was illegal for men to expose their nipples in public.
In the United States, it’s illegal for women to be topless—even when breastfeeding—in 35 states, with threats of up to 3 years imprisonment, and $2500 in fines. It was only 75 years ago that it was illegal for men—in all states—to be shirtless.
This is why the Free the Nipple campaign—which originated in the US—is so important. It even has a film dedicated towards the movement, which proclaims itself to be a “mission to empower women across the world” by standing against female oppression and censorship.
Ms Gerber said it’s just another form of female oppression—and also points out that women in other countries aren’t even allowed to show their ankles. While this may seem absurd to us, to them, it is normal—it serves as proof that our expectation on what’s acceptable and what’s not acceptable for a woman’s body is purely social conditioning.
“Cultures have long controlled women’s bodies, and unfortunately ours is one of them,” Mr Ulfhedinn-Visi said.
Ms Gerber believes Facebook further perpetuates the sexualisation of the female nipple, and that it is important to challenge that.
“With our photos, we’re refusing to reveal if the nipples used are male or female. It’s almost impossible to visually tell the difference,” she said.
“The nipple is a way to feed children. We all start as female in the womb, that’s why men have nipples in the first place,” Mr Ulfhedinn-Visi said.
“This view we as a society have of women’s bodies is really toxic and harmful,”
“We deserve the right to our own bodies—we’re born with them. When that right is taken away, it becomes oppressive,” Ms Gerber said.
“It’s an example of pure female objectification.”
Support for the campaign—even before it’s official release—has been astounding, with many volunteering their nipples as tribute. Australian model JD Gower, as well as model and musician Barnaby Oakley, are involved as well as a few others yet to be confirmed. Ms Gerber hopes to collaborate with the Veronicas, as she’s collaborated with them on similar issues in the past. Miley Cyrus and Cara Delevigne are also strong supporters of the American Free the Nipple campaign.
“People are waking up to the sexist and slut shaming ideologies we’ve been taught, and they’re not happy,” Ms Gerber said.
“It’s time for change.”
By Samantha Holz.
The views expressed in this article are of the author’s and are not reflective of It Begins With Z.
I’ve been working in the same bar for nearly three years and have been accepted as part of the scenery by locals. Sometimes I suspect they think I only exist when I am at work. So naturally, when holidays arise, they ask things like “What will you be doing for Christmas?” or “Are you spending Easter with your family? ”
After the Christmas/New Year season dies down, I start to get nervous. There is one more holiday coming and it is a favourite of many patrons. These people are working class Aussies to the very core and they’re the type of people for whom the hashtag ‘Straya’ exists.
The day in question: Australia Day.
This day means a lot to ‘Strayans’. On this day, they celebrate how proud they are to be Australian. In their minds, they deserve to be here and it is their God-given right. They love their flag, their anthem, the weather, and their unapologetic (offensive) sense of humour. Beers and barbecues are a rite of passage and anyone who doesn’t like it can eff off. And so we arrive at the shoreline of my problem with this holiday.
By commemorating January 26, we glorify the arrival of the British on Australian soil in 1788. Cook & Co are the reason we’re here, right? Yay colonialism! Wait. . . That doesn’t sound right, does it? Like Southerners in the US flying the Confederate flag, the suggestion being that they are proud of the cause once fought under that flag.
Colonialism is bad. And I think you know where I’m going with this. For the next two hundred years, the British/white “Australians” systematically carried out the annihilation of an entire peoples’ identity and culture. The ancestors you’re proud of for coming here, were inextricably linked to the death and disenfranchisement of the indigenous population. They slaughtered them and took their children from them.
To celebrate this nation on a day that marks the demise of a deservingly proud people is a kick in the guts to the true caretakers of this land. Not a single white person belongs here. We are here, by the will of our ancestors, and so this is our home, too. This is a country of immigrants.
By celebrating colonialism, we have created an exclusionary experience. We are not celebrating being Australian, rather, being white and privileged. And we invite others along to celebrate with us, but others are tourists on this holiday. We include them on a temporary basis, under the pretence that they celebrate our privilege with us.
Therefore, anyone who does not wish to celebrate with us is seen as “un-Australian”. So then indigenous people of Australia become un-Australian for not celebrating a bunch of foreigners taking over Australia. Anyone wanting to celebrate the inclusive multiculturalism that does exist in parts of this country is shit out of luck, too. If you don’t want to drunkenly chant “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie. Oi, oi, oi” at the top of your lungs, you can just go back to where you came from. Like, why would you even come here if you want to celebrate things that aren’t White Australia?
When patrons ask me “What will you be doing on Australia Day?” I answer “nothing”. They laugh, because they think I am looking forward to a day at home with my family. When I say I do not celebrate the day, they are horrified.
“Aren’t you proud to be Australian?” they ask, almost angrily.
No, I am not. I am not proud that I exist here because my ancestors cleared the way with violent oppression so that I can live on land that was once cared for by one of the oldest indigenous populations of the world; or that, whilst I was taken to my family home shortly after my birth in 1985, aboriginal children were still being snatched away from their families ‘for their own good’; I’m not proud that we turn away refugees because they make people uncomfortable. And I refuse to take part in a holiday that celebrates whiteness.
If we moved celebrations to the anniversary of our Federation – January 1, 1901 – we could truly celebrate Australia. To celebrate the day of this country’s unification is to celebrate and respect the traditional owners of this land. It is to celebrate its heritage as a place for people from diverse cultures in search of a new start. Throw that steak on the barbie; but also throw some lamb kofta on there. Listen to AC/DC (if you must), but also listen to Yothu Yindi. If we embrace and learn from each other the best elements of each culture, then we can be stronger. We can build a real identity for this beautiful nation instead of clinging to the heavily manufactured one that has been pushed upon us by selfish, conservative politicians who are afraid of diversity. See beauty in the difference around you and this year, ask yourself: what are we celebrating on January 26 and how do we celebrate the real Australia?