Australia is an ancient country, where Indigenous people lived for over 50,000 years before Europeans arrived.
Australia Day commemorates a day in 1788 – 26 January –when British ships arrived in what is today Australia’s largest city, Sydney, to establish a colony. So in Australia, our national day remains contested.
Australia is now a very successful multicultural migrant country, following a darker period of restricted migration, but reconciliation with our Indigenous peoples is a longerjourney. We as a nation are still coming to terms with our colonial history, its impact on First Peoples and are still debating how best to recognise the First Australians in the Australian Constitution.
Democracies change slowly, but the long process of consultation required for change strengthen final outcomes and strengthen the society.
Our national day provides an opportunity for Australians to acknowledge and learn about Australia’s past, to reflect on the nation’s journey, including the history, traditions and cultures of Australia’s Indigenous peoples.
On our path to reconciliation, Australia learns from international experience and analysis. We welcome frank debate, as these are issues common to all of us, common to all humanity.
I invite you to read more about Australia’s Indigenous history, reconciliation efforts and multiculturalism on our Consulate’s website and Wechat accounts.