42 thoughts on “Invasion Day

  1. i have never heard from any local,original or otherwise, the words “invasion day”

    i have heard “flagwaving wanker day”

    but it’s a holiday and the fireworks can be OK.

  2. Changing the date is like the “apology”. It will change nothing for indigenous Australians. The flag-wavers, like myself, get irritated by the symbolism of the left attacking what has become (with whatever historical inaccuracies) our national day. Treat it as a holiday if you like but if you want to attack it you will offend the majority of Australians who want to retain this day, who want to celebrate it and who see something worthwhile in healthy nationalism that celebrates the amazing Australian success story. The act of attacking the day is much more socially divisive than choosing a particular date. The latter is irrelevant to all other than the self-hate, guilt brigade – it will not address past or current injustices to indigenous Australians nor resolve “hurt feelings”.

    I liked this op ed.


  3. Commentator 1: “I haven’t heard of it so it’s not a thing.”
    Commentator 2: “Correct.”
    Commentator 3 : “They hate us for our modernity and prosperity.”

    Meanwhile, researchers try to ascertain some historical facts.

    “In 2009 professor Raymond Evans calculated the indigenous fatalities caused by the Queensland Native Police Force alone as no less than 24,000. In July 2014, Evans, in cooperation with the Danish historian Robert Ørsted-Jensen, presented the first-ever attempt to use statistical modelling and a database covering no less than 644 collisions gathered from primary sources, and ended up with total fatalities suffered during Queensland’s frontier wars being no less than 66,680—with Aboriginal fatalities alone comprising no less than 65,180 — whereas the hitherto commonly accepted minimum overall continental deaths had previously been 20,000.” – Wikipedia.

    “Experts estimate the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders at more than 770,000 at the time of the invasion in 1788. It fell to its low of around 117,000 people in 1900, a decrease by 84%.” – Source: Aboriginal population in Australia – Creative Spirits

    That’s a genocide and a holocaust. People in denial are the quickest to take offence when asked for contrition and reparations. Responsibility for ancestor actions is a paradoxical thing. You are not guilty of the crime but you have grown fat on the proceeds. Once you have become appraised of the facts, you are then morally an accessory after the fact. Contrition and reparations become a moral requirement. This of course is why many deny the facts so vehemently, blindly and aggressively.

  4. She we let indigenous Australians decide the issue?

    A 2017 Guardian commissioned survey:

    Asked about whether the date of Australia Day should change, 54% of Indigenous Australians polled were in favour of a change compared with a total of 15% of total Australians polled … A majority of Indigenous Australians polled believe the name should change. Only 36% of those polled said it should remain as Australia Day. The Indigenous community was more likely to nominate Invasion Day (25%) or Survival Day (21%) as alternative names.


  5. Our national day should be on January 1 when we became a nation.

    It aint an invasion on this definition

    An invasion is a military offensive in which large parts of combatants of one geopolitical entity aggressively enter territory controlled by another such entity, generally with the objective of either conquering; liberating or re-establishing control or authority over a territory; forcing the partition of a country; …

  6. hc has a point that it will not as such change anything substantive but e.g. — the fed govt continues to push through the cashless welfare card in the absence of evidence/evidence of absence of its effectiveness; WA continues to imprison for nonpayment of fines; the entire coalition had conniptions over the concept of an “indigenous voice” with no legislative power whatsoever to parliament; their previous incarnation abolished ATSIC; etc. etc. etc. ad infinitum. Given that indigenous activists and advocates are not winning a whole heap of the substantive battles (except in some sisyphean sense, perhaps), why the hell shouldn’t they pick some symbolic fights? What have they got to lose?

    And I live in Newtown (for those who don’t know Sydney, when Dutton, Morrison, Hadley, take your pick, talk about sneering inner-city greenies etc., they’re talking about us); there are plenty of people around here who talk about “invasion day”, even if sometimes it might have a hint of irony to it

  7. In the early 20th century, 1.5 million to 2.5 million Armenian, Greek and Assryian Christians were systematically and gruesomely murdered by the Turks, who were happily assisted by fellow Muslim ethnicities, including but not limited to the Chechens and Kurds.

    I wonder if Harry Clarke thinks the meagre remnants of the genocide still living in Turkey should shut their ungrateful cakeholes and partake enthusiastically the Atatürk Day celebrations?

  8. Nobody is saying that Australians can’t have their day of celebration, with lamb bbqs and flag waving, just not that particular day (the day of the Rum Rebellion).

  9. Any invasion is followed by an occupation and land thief. The use of terra nullius for all but the last part of this occupation was scandalous. The ongoing social cost to what are now Australian citizens is unpardonable. It resembles what the English did to the Irish from about the time of Queen Elizabeth 1 until the Northern Ireland accord of this century. Ask The real Irish in Northern Ireland if they were happy celebrating their own invasion day. Ask them if they can forgive the English for hundreds of years of land theft. It is not the same to say that some sort of apology was given. Some of my ancestors came from Ireland and still have NOT forgiven the English. they were cut off from their national culture and the land of their own ancestors.

  10. hc and trampis;
    Deprssingly hc, you provide a perfect illustration of jqs post on
    … as you link to the barons paper has your fbook mates: (read echo chamber) showing in your link to the (not) australian!

    As our host has put this topic here and allowed us to have out say please repost using ALL THE DEFINITIONS below.

    1.an act or instance of invaing or entering as an enemy, especially by an army.

    2.the entrance or advent of anythingtroublesome or harmful, as disease.

    3. entrance as if to take possession oroverrun:the annual invasion of the resort by tourists.

    4. infringement by intrusion.

    Still don’t get it hc? Cambridge would be right up your alley:
    Meaning of “invasion” in the English Dictionary

    B2 an occasion when an army or country uses force to enter and take control of another country:

    C2 an occasion when a large number of people or things come to a place in an annoying and unwanted way:
    the annual invasion of foreign tourists: that is a joke you’ve told isn’t it hc.

    C2 an action or process that affects someone’s life in an unpleasant and unwanted way.

    Question for hc and nottrampis. Do you understand the difference between Affect and Effect? I am waiting….

    Medical:  invasion;
    the entry and colonization (via bullshit terra nulus) of a host (aboriginals) by an organism… every pox carried by the invaders.
    Collins Dictionary of Biology, 3rd ed.

    Framing hypocrisy by berkclub and oriel.
    Affect vs effect. Jennifer and berkclub exhibits little INSIGHT… “Labor has gained poll popularity by mastering the art of framing.”

    It is just a joke. On you by you.


  11. Some of my ancestors came from Ireland and still have NOT forgiven the English.

    Presumably you mean their descendants have still not forgiven the English. That’s unfortunate. As Bob Hawke once wisely said, f*ck the past before the past f*cks you.

    hc: here’s a pro-tip. There’s no point linking to an article that’s behind a paywall.

  12. @Gregory. Stan Grant the other day quoted Nietzsche in words that brought to mind your “resentful” ancestors: He wrote about the resentful man, caught in a time warp, returning always to the source of injustice that he cannot fix and does not want to fix. I am sure he was seeking to put bounds on indigenous indignation but the remarks apparently apply to a few Irish as well.

    History, for the resentful man, is a festering wound, to be picked at over and over, never allowing it to heal. His suffering is his strength; his weakness the greatest weapon he has over his oppressor:

    “His soul squints; his mind loves hidden crannies, tortuous paths and backdoors… he is past master in silence, in not forgetting …”

  13. January 26 doesn’t signify the creation of a new nation but the establishment of an off-shore detention centre for Britain’s rejects. January 1 signifies the huddling together of the colonies under the ideology of White Australia – indigenous Australians were seen to be all but wiped out and the Japanese and Chinese were looming to the north. Anzac Day signifies our willingness to go to war for Britain to safeguard this White Australia. I would argue there is no date of which contemporary Australians of whatever heritage can be unambiguously proud. Perhaps January 26 is as good or bad a date as any to reflect on the ironies of our very mixed past.

  14. On a related topic, reactions to the recent remarks on air by Kerri-Anne Kennerley appear to generally support your thesis that the only real political correctness in Australia is that nobody’s allowed to call anyone a racist.

  15. nobody’s allowed to call anyone a racist.

    On the contrary, people call other people racist all the time. They might (per, KAK) or might not (per, Fraser Anning) get criticised if they do, but it’s not like they get into any legal trouble.

  16. Invasion is not only by an army.
    In wikipedia it is. Is this where wenall arengetting our definition?
    Wikipedia; “An invasion is a military offensive…” missing the various definitions of invasion.

    1. an act or instance of invading or entering as an enemy, especially by an army.
    2. the entrance or advent of anything troublesome or harmful, as disease.
    3. entrance as if to take possession or overrun
    4. infringement by intrusion.

    Meaning of “invasion” in the English Dictionary
    B2 an occasion when an army or country uses force to enter and take control of another country
    C2 an occasion when a large number of people or things come to a place in an annoying and unwanted way
    C2 an action or process that affects someone’s life in an unpleasant and unwanted way.
    Example: The ancient Britons inhabted these parts of England before the Roman invasion.

  17. @Smith

    On the contrary, people call other people racist all the time.

    The point, as I understand it, of the statement “the only real political correctness in Australia is that nobody is allowed to call anyone a racist” is that the typical reaction of a public figure to being called a racist is of a piece with political correctness, i.e. offended outrage, accompanied by pearl clutching in the establishment. It’s true though, that the statement is an exaggeration, i.e. not only do people call each other racists “all the time” as you say, but the more usual kind of political correctness is a thing too. The statement is rhetorical, rather than literal. I took the KAK example as illustrative because, when accused of racism, rather than simply denying it and/or providing a justification for her remarks, she took offence with a degree of dudgeon, and segments of the establishment media also took offence on her behalf, and attacked her interlocutor for daring to make such a suggestion..

  18. As is normal now the Invasion day march down Swanston st in Melbourne was far bigger than the Australia day march that preceeded it . Even if only 20% want the date changed that’s too many million Australians who can’t participate, so let’s do it .

  19. The flag-wavers, like myself, get irritated by the symbolism of the left attacking what has become (with whatever historical inaccuracies) our national day.

    So, what:
    + you were told years ago that there were problems with making it the national day
    + you went ahead and did it anyway
    + now there are problems
    + and you’re irritated by people telling you “there are problems”
    + and you expect us to have sympathy with you?

  20. @Tim Macknay

    It depends on the media. The Australian rounded up the usual suspects and blah blah blah. It was all so predictable and boring but no doubt their readers got a frisson of delight having their prejudices replayed back to them, again. For the most part the remaining media treated the whole episode with the lack of seriousness that it deserved.

  21. Anning seems to have broken the taboo here (at least to some extent), just as Steve King has done in the US. Given that you can’t fit a cigarette paper between Anning and Hanson, or between King and Trump, it will be interesting to see whether this becomes more general. If so, accusations of racism will have to be met with evidence of anti-racism, rather than with hairsplitting and politically correct outrage, as has been the norm.

  22. @Smith9

    For the most part the remaining media treated the whole episode with the lack of seriousness that it deserved.

    True – it was principally the Murdoch papers and other conservative outlets who jumped on the bandwagon, predictably enough.

  23. @KT2

    Wiktionary defines invasion as;

    “A military action consisting of armed forces of one geopolitical entity entering territory controlled by another such entity, generally with the objective of conquering territory or altering the established government.”

    There’s no doubt that in this instance the British invaded Australia.

    Also, the letter by Nicolas Baudin to Governor King in 1802 challenges the notion that “things were different then”

    “To my way of thinking, I have never been able to conceive that there was justice and equity on the part of the Europeans in seizing, in the name of their Governments, a land seen for the first time, when it is inhabited by men who have not always deserved the title of savages or cannibals which has been given them, whilst they were but the children of nature and just as civilised as are actually your Scotch Highlanders or our peasants in Brittany”

  24. From my position as a new Australian with roots in Aotearoa I think it would be better to stop trying to wipe out first nations *then* change the date and the name. At the very least it should be a solemn commemoration not a celebration, like ANZAC Day. Do we celebrate Jewish Holocaust Day? As NSW Premier, Henry Parkes said of requesting aboriginal involvement in the celebrations ‘And remind them that we have robbed them?’.
    But it’s not my call. The people who have the right to make that call are the first nations people.

  25. Do we even need a national day? I am a kind of nationalist but only because our national polity is (sort of) democratic. It’s the democracy that counts not the nationalism. We would be better off celebrating Democracy Day than Australia Day. Nationalism must be viewed pragmatically. It is the container we need (currently, under extant geo-political conditions) to permit our democracy to exist. Nationalism is the pot, democracy is the plant. The pot currently sits on stony ground (world geo-political conditions). If all the ground were conducive, the pot would not be needed. That would be a condition of international democratic socialism.

    However, I am a realist (a “Left Realist”) and I see that democracy is actually in retreat. We are further from international democratic socialism, not closer, compared to say the 1960s. In that case a pragmatic (not jingoistic) nationalism remains necessary for those pockets which remain “reasonably democratic” (which category clearly excludes the great powers of USA, China and Russia). Indeed, a fracturing of empires and superpowers and a splintering into many smaller democratic nations (democratic polities of about 5 million to 50 million people) could likely be more conducive to progress towards democracy and socialism. Powers bigger than that seek to empire build and accrue too much power (monopoly or oligopoly of power). Power corrupts and great power corrupts greatly. This applies to nations and empires as well as to individuals.

  26. democracy is actually in retreat. We are further from international democratic socialism, not closer, compared to say the 1960s.We are further from international democratic socialism, not closer, compared to say the 1960s.

    Whatever are the merits of democratic socialism, it is not synonymous with democracy.

    If the 1960s is the point of comparison, the world is far more democratic now than then. In the 1960s, all countries in eastern Europe were dictatorships, as were Spain, Portugal and, from 1967, Greece. Now, it’s far from perfect in Eastern Europe (Russia Hungary, Poland) but it’s immensely better. Just about all of Latin America in the 1960s were military fascist dictatorships. All or nearly all Latin American countries now are democracies. There’s been less progress in Africa, but there’s been some important improvements, South Africa being the most obvious. In Asia, Indonesia (200 million people) was a dictatorship then and it’s a democracy now. Even China is better. It’s still a dictatorship, but it was a lot worse in the 1960s.

  27. Latin America is also much more democratic now than it was in the 1960s.

    I have come around to thinking that adopting the moniker “democratic socialist” is a good idea, especially in the USA and Oz, since Republicans and Lib/Nats have long used the word “socialist” to incite fear. But technically speaking, democratic socialists are rebranded social democrats rather than true socialists. Social democracy also conjures up, for me at least, images of the dullness and senescence of the European social democratic parties, so rebranding makes sense.

    But like Smith9, I’m not sure what Ikon is on about. And sorry for being OT. I’ll take any further comments, along with my bucket and spade, to the sandbox.

  28. Why waste energy on changing the date of A/I Day when there are bigger fish to fry? Channelling that energy into getting more Aboriginal kids to complete school would be just one more productive option.

    What’s the plan, change of date in five years? Five years of distraction driving the agenda at the expense of bigger issues.

    Just what is the left’s plan for closing the gap? The current model is failing and it has little to nothing the do with invasion day.

    Just for the record, apart from the public holiday I don’t give a rats about NSW Day. 1 January is a rubbish idea.

  29. Smith9,

    My mistake, I should have written that the world has become less democratic since the 1990s. That is a more supportable thesis on the standard or conventional measures of representative democracy. In turn, there are major flaws with the standard or conventional measures of democracy, IMO. These flaws lead to the miscounting of many nations as democratic when essentially they are not.

    Some articles, like the one I link to below, suggest that “the liberal world order is indeed coming apart under pressure from the authoritarians”. What such articles do not often recognize or state explicitly is that much of that pressure, in the Anglophone “liberal-democratic” sphere, is coming from internal neoliberal, corporatist, oligarchical capital: the capitalists, the functionaries and their bought and suborned politicians. In the Anglophone world, Canada and Australia probably still just clear the bar of being reasonably representative democracies. The others do not clear that bar any more. Counting them as democracies is fallacious.

    A major problem is that capitalism itself is antithetical to democracy. It is not in any way a partner of democracy. The more that capitalism is unfettered, the more democracy itself is fettered and then destroyed. Representative democracy itself is far from true democracy. Originally, it represented an advance over previous forms of autocratic government. Now it has been institutionalized into a form to contain and repress true democracy while giving free rein to capital.

  30. sfdc: because many of the failures to help first nations people are caused directly by refusing to listen to them. Perpetuating that because of the failures doesn’t help. The Uluru Statement from the Heart was a perfect example of that, and ideally us immigrants should be trying to do better, not worse.

  31. Ikonoclast : are you suggesting that the People’s Democratic Republic of North Korea might not be named entirely honestly? Or that the USA is slightly more democratic than China because it has one more state-approved political party, but neither are really democratic?

    (the nonsense hidden inside the US political party system is quite incredible. I mean literally, you wouldn’t believe it if I just wrote it out for you. It’s not particularly hidden, much of it is unremarkable “the way it’s always been”. But … read up and be grateful you live in Australia).

  32. Moz
    The Uluru Statement is a perfect example of what’s wrong with the current debate. You don’t move forward by looking backwards. The wrong done to Aboriginals has been acknowledged over and over again. You can’t ignore the past, but reinforcing Aboriginal victimhood pretty much guarantees they will remain victims. They are badly let down by their leadership.

  33. The Uluru Statement was misrepresented, denigrated and rejected almost immediately by the govt; that is the perfect example of what is wrong. The wrong done has not been fully revealed nor acknowledged.

    You move forward with regards to the past, it is what Australians like to pride themselves on (lest we forget).

  34. “In the Anglophone world, Canada and Australia probably still just clear the bar of being reasonably representative democracies. The others do not clear that bar any more”

    New Zealand says hi. So does Ireland.

    And while we are at it, so do the US and UK. It is ludicrous to say they are not democracies.

  35. Smith9 – Ikon has a point and not a nit pick or “neoliberalism”. Still a democracy by your metric yet Economist describes the US as a “flawed democracy”. Russia has democratic laws but you try and use them in Russia as a Russian. The US could easily slip up or down and still retain it’s constitution and laws. A few exec orders here, a declaration of emergency there. Flawed by trump syndrome. Flawed democracies. USA – 7.01–8
    ” The US fell below the threshold for a “full democracy” in 2016 and is now rated as a “flawed democracy”. The main cause of the US regression was a serious decline in public trust in US institutions in 2016. This year the country’s overall score remained the same, and the US remains in 21st place in the global rankings.”


    And USA easily qualifies as a putative oligopoly too.
    “Putative oligarchies
    “A business group might be defined as an oligarch if it satisfies the following conditions:
    (1) owners are the largest private owners in the country (2) it possesses sufficient political power to promote its own interests (3) owners control multiple businesses, which intensively coordinate their activities.[13]

    Confusing frustrating and vigilance come to mind. Even worse: the Electoral College.

  36. Smith9,

    Apologies to NZ. “In the Republic of Ireland, under the Constitution of Ireland, both languages (Irish and English) have official status, with Irish being the national and first official language.” – Wikipedia.

    I attempted to use anglophone in a very limited sense meaning nations where English was the national and first official language, spoken as a first language by a majority. It appears that is not the received definition of anglophone so that is my mistake.

    There are many arguments about what constitutes democracy. There is an even an argument that mere representative democracy alone (often flawed in itself with poor voter turnout and first past the post voting), in a political-legal system which widely guarantees the rights of a relatively few rich capitalists and upper middle class persons but which widely erodes the rights of the majority of workers, the precariat and many minorities, is not true democracy at all. The UK certainly fits that bill. Indeed, without “democracy at work” and democracy in all important social spaces there can be no true democracy at all.

  37. The US, with its President being elected by electoral college and the executive being nominated by the not directly elected President, is not a good example of democracy.

  38. Our democracy is certainly flawed. An illustration of that is the media kerfuffle over Bill Shorten choosing not to accept an open invitation to meet American citizen Rupert Murdoch in the US. Technically non-citizen Murdoch may not have a vote but in reality he has power and influence that arguably exceeds that of the poorest one million voters, especially now that those voters are for the most part not unionised.

    Still, a flawed democracy is better that no democracy at all. If we were Chinese citizens living in China, we would disappear into an internment camp if we discussed politics like we do on this forum.

    The Uluru statement’s main point is that indigenous Australians should be guaranteed a voice in the Australian Constitution. I disagree with that. I support a Constitutional preamble that respectfully acknowledges the First Nations but not a voice for what is, after all, three per cent of the population with most of those folk being of mixed heritage. I also note we have 4 indigenous Australians in the current federal parliament.

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