Seminar on Australain National Day issue

Report on Australian National Day Issue

Reported by Ron Lambert

Professor Leng Hui’s students gave an informative, clearly researched and well delivered presentation on Monday of the last week of the Australian Cultural Festival. This was run as part of the work of the Centre for Australian Studies attached to the School of Foreign Languages at LNNU.

In the presentation, the students explained the origins of the Australian National Day starting with how the 26th January was selected as the day of celebration. This was the day marking the arrival of the British first fleet. The discussions then moved onto how 26th January came to be widely acclaimed amongst white Australians – because it celebrated white domination of the land mass.

The students had researched their topic well, informing the audience about Australian Aboriginal views of 26th January. Many Aboriginal people call it "INVASION DAY” to indicate the end of the traditional Aboriginal way of life. It signifies the arrival of the British and their ways based on private property and capital accumulated by exploiting the lower classes and the land.

As this area of Australian history is not well understood in China, I feel Professor Leng Hui’s students did a remarkable job in dealing with the different stories of black and white Australians. My small input was well received by the audience. I observed that Australia must recognise and come to terms with the relationship of immigrant Australians and Aboriginal Australians if we are to tell the story of our land. This new story must be fair and respect the many elements which make up the narrative of our nation today.

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