Just a Common old Tuesday - or is it?
This article belongs to Australia - Land of the Free? column.
Once again the 11th of December roles around - the 76th anniversary of Australia's Independence - with no recognition of the date, but how can anyone in the great brown land recognise it if they've never heard of it?
It's interesting the response to my earlier article on this subject - Australia's Secret Independence - in February 2007 was to argue the date of independence -Lejon 6/8/2007. The commentator suggested it was in 1986. Unfortunately this is the usual response in any discussions on Australian independence.
The fact is The Statute of Westminster passed by the British Parliament in 1931 transferred to Australia most of the powers to administer the law and made it final for the Federal Government to control the country. Yes there were some residual transfer of powers that weren't completed until 1986 but most of the work was completed in 1931.
Here we go again back into the argument of when.
Why does the debate attract left-brain thinkers who want to argue the semantics about when? Where are the right-brain thinkers who are concerned with the positive emotional effect of being independent?
The muddle around Australian Independence is immense; it should be addressed and explained. For instance how can Australians plan for the future when we don't understand the past?
Independence is a great emotional hook to hang understanding of this country and of what needs to change in the constitution. For instance, if you ask to change the head of state from the Queen of England to the Governor General voters are going to say no because of a myriad of reasons and prejudices. Just because politicians tell them something it doesn't mean they'll believe them.
Why? Because opposing forces muddy the waters knowing that is the way to get a no vote.
However if Australians know about and understand our independence they will get more of an emotion attachment to Australia.
An example of this is the enormous emotional connection Australians have with Anzac Day. And rightly so, this holiday commemorates the day Australian and New Zealand forces stormed ashore at Gallipoli on April 25th 1915. The enormous losses for such a small country in many wars have a profound effect on the people of the this nation.
While Anzac day unites the country mostly in grief and sometimes in anger - most of Australia's wartime losses were sustained fighting for England - nothing else has the result of pulling the country together in passionate appreciation of who we are.
If we declare our independence to the world, wear it on our sleeve; it will give us something to celebrate. It would unite Australians in a way that nothing else can. Australia Day commemorates the day the first fleet arrived to set up the Colony of New South Wales.
Independence Day on the other hand would show us that we as Australians have achieved much in the way of nationhood. It shows recognition of where we have come from and points the way to the future. It would unite the great brown land in appreciation of all the diverse peoples welcomed to our shores.
Let us stop this fruitless debate of when we became independent and celebrate the fact that we are. The 11th Dec 1931 is the most appropriate day although there were still some minor actions yet to be taken. But most of the acts were in place by that date. What does it matter? Lets get on with it.
Meanwhile, Australians can join me on Tuesday the 11th of December by waving a flag outside our houses. I'm sure our neighbours will think we're mad.