It seems that around the globe, people are calling to make their country how it once were – ‘great’.
As for Australia, this statement is immediately questionable: which Australia are we talking about – the one under the ‘colonisation’ of European settlement, or the continent 250 years ago with indigenous people living their civilised nomadic life? Australia has not reached a treaty, nor it has managed to acknowledge the rights of Indigenous people in its constitution. So what are we trying to ‘bring back’?
I only know Australia for the last 12 years. I have lived here. I have studied, worked, and obeyed by the local law. And I observed the nation form into something quite different to what I once knew.
I first thought it was my coming to reality, that I thought I was only beginning to see the country from a resident’s point of view instead of a traveller’s; that it was probably normal to see some ugly side of a nation as you get to know the everyday life. But it was not just that. The law has been changing somewhat un-kindly. The parliament is gasping for money as it is panicking about the idea that the nation is no longer debt free – every other nation seem to have debt and seemingly managing fine, but the idea of Australia and debt does not seem to mix. Migrants and some specific cultures are under pressure. And the education is being considered as a new place for business ventures, and education frauds is flourishing, supplemented by government accreditations. What nation prohibit same sex marriage but promote education fraud in name of the government?
What on earth is wrong with these people, I thought. I did not spend 8+ years of my life to gain my residency to a nation that considers education as a mere place for business. Where is your foresight, I questioned. Can you not see what the history has repeatedly showed us?
But here I am, still wanting to see Australia the way I used to see. The country I once fell in love with; how after the 2 initial years of working here on a temporary visa, I became drawn to the idea of living here permanently. I fell in love with the big sky. I fell in love with the people around me, the typical Australians who were madly inclusive and took me in as one of their ducklings so quickly. When the draught eased, I saw the greener side of Australia, and I knew that I would manage here ok. I knew that this was a nation where anybody who was willing to work hard would get a fair go – whatever happened to that in the last 5 years.
So when I hear the idea of bringing back Australia, I think of the spirit of the land I fell in love with. It was never about the colour of skin, income level, what you wore, marital status, or what belief you had. It was that “thanks for your help, do you wanna stay over for dinner?”, and how nobody seemed to care what accent I spoke. How I’ve always said hello to a dog before a human, and nobody questioned my sanity for my nature.
Life isn’t about competing whose armour is shinier; those things belong to the past. We need courageous academics to declare that greed is an addiction to money; that materialism is a religion. I would like to live in a nation where people are expected to stand on their own feet, provided with decent education that allow each person to build their own path. Education is an invisible infrastructure of a nation. Suppose we accepted that we probably wound’t want to just go backwards, what kind of future would we want to go back to?