The question of “Australian Identity” reared its head again this week (as it so often has a remarkable tendency to do whenever this nation gets within spitting distance of an election).
At first, due to my overwhelming cynicism of all such notions hoisted up on behalf of nationalism, I summarily dismissed the question.
However upon reflection, I think this time around, it might just be a question well worth asking.
So can Australia, through the lens of identity, really be seen as the land of the iconic “Fair Go”?
I have a rather unsettling suspicion the answer to this question might just be no.
If you look at the Australian response to illegal refugee’s (AKA ‘Boat People’) the answer would most definitely have to be a resounding no to the idea of a ‘Fair Go’.
There has been a rather concerning lack of ‘fairness’ shown toward those who arrive on our shores without the benefit of that all-important small piece of paper known as a valid passport.
So being Australian today, if you believe the political spin, now includes holding a rather alarming propensity for locking asylum seekers away.
Another Australian propensity related to this revolves around the broader issue of racism.
Apparently Australians today are a racist bunch and indeed if you were only to look at Australia’s policy driven responses to Indigenous Affairs, you would undoubtedly see clear evidence of this.
So far, the notion of the Australian ‘Fair Go’, in terms of identity, only applies to those who are born white and non-Indigenous in this country.
The Australian identity (well at least our political one) is also homophobic too.
If you look at the political stance that Australia’s leaders have taken over Gar Marriage, you could also add the denial of the right to marry the one you love, to the list of human rights violations occurring in this country.
In terms of identity, the ‘Fair Go’ spirit does not seem to apply to those born elsewhere or born of a different race (ethnicity), nor to those born with a different sexual orientation.
But wait…. There’s more……
If you are an Australian with a disability or the parent of an Australian with a disability, guess what? Apparently you are excluded from the notion of a ‘Fair Go’ too.
Nor can the NDIS even be seen to be, at this point time, as providing a solid promise toward making the lives of those with disabilities ‘fairer’.
So far all it has done is make those agencies who provide disability support workers, richer and quite frankly, that’s about it.
The quality of care has not increased even thought the amount of money being thrown at organizations who provide said care, has.
As the parent of a young adult with a disability I can tell you that there is absolutely nothing even remotely ‘Fair Go-ish’ about the way this country both treats and regards those with disabilities.
So far the concept of a ‘Fair Go’ only applies to those who identify as white, born in this country but not of Indigenous or any other ethnic descent and who are entirely heterosexual and also not at all disabled.
And then there’s the unemployed whom have been quite vocal of late in airing their grievances over the fact that unemployment benefits haven’t risen for the last 20 years despite the constant leaps and bounds in inflation.
Of course I should also add the elderly and those who work as unpaid familial carer’s, to the ever growing list of those whose identities, are no longer experiencing the much mythologized Aussie Fair Go.
Ok, I will. So here we go…..
Identities that don’t qualify for the Australian ‘Fair Go’ experience are those who are Indigenous or of any other ethnicity, not born in Australia, homosexual, disabled, elderly or work in the care giving industry and those who are unemployed.
Qualifiers for the Aussie ‘Fair Go’ experience are those who are white, born in Australia with not too much ethnicity, heterosexual, able bodied, young, workers.
I really should also add the growing, (not shrinking), lack of equal pay being experienced by Australian women in terms of wages and job security in this country.
One more time….
Those who qualify for the Aussie ‘Fair Go’ are……..
Sounds like a capitalists dream workforce really……. Oh wait
Those who do not qualify for the Aussie ‘Fair Go’ experience are those who are……..
-Any other ethnicity
-Not born here,
Makes me wonder just how much of the Australian population there is left for politicians to marginalize?
So what do all of the potential leaders of the Liberal Party worried about?
Well, clearly they fear that an elderly, disabled, gay, unemployed, refugee seeking female, on a boat may be coming their way.
- Don’t tolerate me; fund me (abc.net.au)
- NACCHO health and politics:Aboriginal health and the Australian Constitution ,how do we fix both ? (nacchocommunique.com)
- Why I like being Australian (wallabyabroad.wordpress.com)
- National Identity: Does it exist? (vfquincey.wordpress.com)
- Hiding Behind the Anzac Legend (cottoneyedjoe.wordpress.com)
- Australia’s Aboriginal children – The world’s highest suicide rate (lateralloveaustralia.com)
- Multiculturalism (meganchiew.wordpress.com)
- Don’t Go Back to Where you Came From (intercultural.com.au)
- Sudanese-born footballer makes history in Australian league (sudantribune.com)
- The pull: why migration caused my cultural dilemma (curiosikat.wordpress.com)