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January 27th 2009 print

Bob Carr

Australia Day Tells the Nation’s Story

Some might think old-fashioned Manning Clark’s opening line that civilisation arrived in Australian in 1788. Still, in a land that had only seen hunter-gatherer cultures the arrival of the First Fleet was the start of settled communities on the Australian continent: buildings, bridges, villages, towns. It also brought the application of British common law to Australia and, eventually, government through parliament where, to be truthful, there had been only tribal systems and cycles of warfare. It brought a written language. Fortunate to be begun as an English settlement, too, because a revolution in England 100 years earlier – 1688 – had resulted in new constitutional arrangements to check the power of executive government. Out of English ideas and notions we acquired, in fits and starts, the institutions of a free society.

Source: The Australian

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