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January 26th 2013 print

Christopher Akehurst

A guilt-edged ticket on the ‘invasion day’ express

With all this hand-wringing doing the rounds, those bleating loudest about "invasion day" could lead by example, pack their bags and go. There would be no shortage of volunteers offering a lift to the airport


Australia Day, and bang on cue comes the usual tiresome and divisive bleat from the Melbourne Age about how dreadful it all is ("A national day of shame").


It was the day that marked the theft of a land (terra nullius), the day that marked the theft and abduction of a people, of a culture, the day that initiated the pathways to the Stolen Children and, to our ultimate shame, the deaths in custody. It is a day that stands as a reminder of massacres ...

etc. etc. You could write the script yourself. I don’t know why The Age doesn’t simply recycle the same piece each year and put a different name to it. (editor’s note: but isn’t that what they already do?)

This year’s bleat comes from a right-on old liberal called Peter Gebhardt, described as a poet, retired judge and former headmaster of Geelong College (he left "after a disagreement with the school council".).

Why don’t these people take their shame to its logical conclusion and clear out? A few years ago a Melbourne clergyman, Canon Peter Adam, announced that was the thing to do if we were ever to right the wrong of Aboriginal "dispossession": hand the country back to its rightful owners and repatriate ourselves to wherever our wicked forebears came from — though whether that would mean England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Scandinavia or a combination of any of them (Britain and Germany in the case of the Gebhardt) or anywhere else in Europe, or Asia come to that, is a moot point.

Neither the canon nor any of the other wailers about white guilt has booked a ticket. It’s far easier to relish the moral complacency of parading one’s ersatz shame on 26 January, enjoy the comforts of living in this stolen country, pocket one’s cheque from The Age and forget about "invasion day" until next year.

Christopher Akehurst blogs at Argus