It’s Equality, not DNA, That Makes an Australian

What makes me Australian?

First, I was born here and that makes me indigenous to Australia, just like those loudly claiming that their genetic heritage, no matter how small, should bestow considerations and advantages not available to the rest of us. Spurn that urge to separatism; as citizens of Australia we are all of us equal.

Secondly, my forebears on both sides of the family came to the Great South Land from Scotland, Ireland and England seeking the freedom and opportunity to be their best. They were largely unaware of conditions in the land “down under,” or even if there were real opportunities to demonstrate their abilities with hammer, needle and plough. But come they did and soon found themselves working on farms, clearing bush, in sawmills turning trees into lumber and shearing sheep in sheds newly built from timber often felled on site. All that mattered was the ability to do a job and the implicit commitment that, when necessary, you were there and available to assist your fellow workers, mates and neighbours. Read Henry Lawson’s The Fire at Ross’s Farm to see how decency and mateship overcome rivalries of even the most bitter kind. This was the dawn of Aussie mateship, built on a fair go for all. Our forebears built a future and a nation of which we can and should be proud. We were mutually motivated to make Australia great and to benefit from that growth.

It was a time of achievement interrupted by two world wars that saw Diggers much honoured and commended. After defending our freedom in those two horrific wars, we opened our vast land to people fleeing countries shattered and divided by those conflicts. These New Australians were prepared to start again by working hard and building new lives side by side with Aussies whose ancestors had done likewise. These immigrants soon adopted the Australian way of life, embracing and expanding the culture that welcomed them. We claim we are “multicultural”, which is true enough after a fashion. But most of all we are Australians with every right to be proud of that.

So why do we presently confront the divisions exacerbated by the Voice — a supreme irony as the Yes camp would have you believe such tampering with the Constitution will actually be a force for amity and unity. Why do we have a tiny segment of our population totally reliant, generation by generation, on taxpayers for all of their needs even as they deliver lectures about how uncaring — indeed, callous in the most racist way — are their fellow citizens? What we don’t see is the embrace of the most basic responsibility to gain an education and become proudly self-reliant.  

Thirdly, what makes me Australian is the fact that although I am now 80+ years of age, I am passionately proud of the land we have all had a hand in developing. Our continent is now more fertile, more productive and mostly better managed than at any time in thousands of years.

To those harping for more rights — read that as ‘race-based privileges’ — and ‘reparative’ handouts, let me say this: stop whinging and start pulling your weight. As part of Team Australia you will gain both the respect and support of other team members. You will be proud to say ‘I am Australian first and Aboriginal (or Italian, Chinese or whatever) second’, just as my forebears did and millions of other new settlers have done.

Believe me when I say the Voice is not the way to get there. Scrap the grievance mongering. Drop the trauma-of-colonisation nonsense. You have nothing to lose, apart from mendicancy, and so much to gain.

Ron Pike, a self-described “old bushy”, is a water consultant and third-generation irrigation farmer

6 thoughts on “It’s Equality, not DNA, That Makes an Australian

  • Daffy says:

    Is it not xenophobic of some Aboriginal activists to think that the kindness of their forebears in hospitality to boat people from another land, which they left because of its injustice ignores that ‘diversity is our strength’. We know that all cultures need to mix for mutual betterment. Well, we’re done and dusted on that. At last the greeting inhabitants when the Europeans arrived got the horse, the wheel and tinder boxes. All good IMO.

  • Brian Boru says:

    Thank you Ron for saying it as you have. We are of immigrants from the first to the last. All equal and all out of Africa.
    It is an abomination that a person with a mere fraction of aboriginal ancestry could be seen as somehow superior to another citizen with perhaps a far greater heritage of Australian born forebears.

  • padraic says:

    Totally agree, Ron. Them’s my sentiments too.

  • padraic says:

    The Fire at Ross’s Farm is one of many poems that sums up the Australian spirit. In our family “Around the Boree Log” collection of poems was very popular as well as The Man From Snowy River and the very perceptive Hanrahan. Such poems were taught in schools as well. Young people these days would not know poetry if they fell over it, thanks to our education system that is deleting Australian traditional culture.
    “I love a sunburnt country” appealed to me when I was living at one stage in an unheated bedsit in London when it was dark when I went to work in the morning and equally dark when catching the bus home after work at 5pm. Many people in Oz in those days could recite the poems or excerpts by heart. My father’s favourite was the last stanza of The Old Bush School :
    Hard the cobbled road of knowledge to the feet of him who plods
    After fragile fragments fallen from the workshop of the gods;
    . and so on

  • rosross says:

    So true and so well said. The fact is all humans were once stone-age and there is nothing impressive in the least in failing to evolve beyond it for thousands of years – pick a figure. Neither is it admirable to survive in this land, where much of it is rich and fertile, by killing your babies at rates higher than the British had seen anywhere else in the world.

    Australians are tired of the moaning, whinging and greed from too many of those with aboriginal ancestry.

  • Botswana O'Hooligan says:

    The bottom line is that we stopped making them work for a crust and just like mostly anyone else you give them money and goods and services free gratis, and they will bludge on you forever. The lower classes in their hierarchy are just dole bludgers on a good thing as in the former PNG people were cargo cult believers or rice Christians. The ones pulling the strings as in Mr. Pearson et al benefit tremendously, and of course the public servants who administer our taxpayer dollar wastage are in full and satisfying employment. Some government has to stand on its hind legs and say enough is enough, we are all equal and you real or pretend aboriginal people are going to get treated exactly the same way as the other 97% of Australians.

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