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Stand up for what you believe !

I’m slightly suspicious about the motivation for a year 4 student to make an issue of not standing or singing Advance Australia Fair at school assembly. Her main objection, or that of her parents, appears to be that the national anthem “completely disregards Indigenous Australians.” She said “when it says ‘we are young’ it completely disregards the Indigenous Australians who were here before us for over 50,000 years.When it was originally written, Advance Australia Fair meant advance the white people of Australia.”

The Year 4 student said the decision to take a stand was made “mostly” by herself but the subject had been discussed with her parents. Piffle ! I would suggest that her parents had a lot to do with this and that they provoked the school into giving her lunch time detention on Friday for her protest.

The school has noted that it already provides alternatives for students other than attending assembly and singing the national anthem based on sincerely held conscientious objections. Several religions object to saluting a national flag, singing a national anthem or other such demonstrations of nationalism ; notably the Jehovah Witnesses. It seems that the school were quite prepared to excuse a child from assembly based on conscientious grounds and that a polite letter from the parents to the Head would have facilitated this without the national media hoo-hah that inevitably followed her public protest.

Whether the song itself is suitable is a moot point and many of us would agree that Advance Australia Fair as a national song is a shocker but at least the original lyrics were changed  before it was officially adopted in 1974 by the Whitlam government : incidentally, Whitlam was sacked by Sir John Kerr the following year – coincidence ? – I don’t think so !

Did you know, for instance, that the second verse was originally :

When gallant Cook from Albion sailed,
To trace wide oceans o’er,
True British courage bore him on,
Til he landed on our shore.
Then here he raised Old England’s flag,
The standard of the brave;
“With all her faults we love her still”
Britannia rules the wave.”
In joyful strains then let us sing
Advance Australia fair.

Good grief ! That’s enough to get up the nose of any year 4 student and could probably raise the ire of toddlers across the nation.

An then you have this:

For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share

Well, not quite, but you can see the problem, how can you get this to scan :

For those who’ve come across the seas – We’ll lock ’em up on Manus !

The whole thing is an absolute shemozzle but I note that the NRL have compromised with their players and before any grand-final they substitute the official lyrics with rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb sung in a mumbling sotto voce and whilst that may be a solution for the footie, I don’t think you can apply it satisfactorily to school assemblies.

Definitely, we need to change this national anthem to something more acceptable to our primary students and to the kindergartens of Australia who are after all  incubating the future citizens of this nation.

We demand another postal plebiscite, Scott Morrison and we’ll stamp our feet and hold our breath until we get one !

Personally I’m voting with Men at Work :

I come from a land down under
Where beer does flow and men chunder
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover, yeah

 

 

 

.

 

 

 


75 comments

  1. Isabel Dora Storey

    Try singing this song with a group of aboriginal children and see how comfortable an experience. Their choice was “We are one, etc.”

  2. Mark Samson

    I agree that he motive seems suspicious, but, it has been a long time since I read the constitution so I may be mistaken, and I can’t recall reading anywhere within it the requirement that we have to stand for the anthem.

  3. New England Cocky

    Then former local Armidale boy, the late Peter Allen, wrote “Still Call Australia Home”, perhaps that i a candidate as well for National Anthem.

  4. Diannaart

    I recently recounted a moment in time when I began to grow up; I was 9 in year 6, my best friend was 10. She was very upset, President Kennedy had been shot. She talked about a man she saw as integral to the future of the USA and the world. I had vaguely heard of him. Thanks to my more mature friend, I began to look around and question many things.

    At age 10, I wrote an essay for Religious Instruction, querying many anomalies in the stories we learned from the bible. The reaction from my teacher convinced me religion was rubbish – she thought I needed extra RI. I understand radio presenter, Phillip Adams, was much younger when he ditched religion.

    My parents had nothing to do with my changing world view – we weren’t much into esoteric or even very complex discussion in my family.

    I consider this little girl fortunate to have parents who stand by her.

    Little girls (and boys) can be amazing.

  5. Rossleigh

    In the lead-up to my first day of school, my sister tried to teach me to march, because I’d need to know how to march in. I told her that I didn’t think it was fair that I was expected to know because there’d be kids who didn’t have older sisters or brothers to teach them. She insisted on demonstrating and told me that she was sure I’d do it on the day.
    My mother had a movie camera and somewhere there is a film of all the five year olds dutifully swinging their arms and me, arms by my sides totally still.
    I’m quite happy to believe that a nine year old could think for themselves, and she may have seen some of the fuss about American footballers kneeling during the national anthem.

  6. Diannaart

    Rossleigh

    Exactly.

    (Just an observation, I was ahead a year at school, but 9 years old and in year 4? And obviously smart?)

  7. kampbell

    I know we slavishly follow the good ol’ USA in just about everything, now we are importing their culture wars as well?
    Take a knee during the national anthem? Religious nutbags/big business/wealthy elite running the political landscape and setting the agenda? Lazy journalists just taking all their story ideas from their twitter feeds…
    Another day, another beatup..

    Thankfully we have the AIMN to weed out the chaff.

  8. Roger Hawcroft

    Terence, I can go along with some of the more satirical portions of your post but I disagree with what appears to be a suggestion that the girl was really just put up to this action by her parents.

    I learned to read from a King James version of the Bible and had good language skills by the time I started school at 5 years old. I had already voiced my confusion about the number of contradictions in the Bible and about being told on the one hand that ‘God’ had created everything and everyone and was a loving God and yet on the other hand having read of all the carnage and disaster this ‘God’ had created and how some peoples were supposedly more worthy than others, etc. etc. I was also raised in very poor surroundings where there was only one house in the street with a bathroom, no one had hot water unless they heated it in copper or over the fire or on the stove, and virtually everyone’s toilet was in the yard. However, I had visited maternal grandparents who were the last of a relatively ‘genteel’ line of modestly well-off families and I noted the difference in their housing, dress, food, and general living conditions and behaviour from that of the people where I lived.

    So, throughout my primary school years I was inevitably mocked, bullied and put-down for speaking out and rebelling against the trappings of elitism, monarchy and hypocrisy, such as religious instruction, the ludicrous notion of a “loving God”, the dictates to respect people I didn’t because of their position rather than their worth, the regimentation, learning and singing the national anthem with its nonsense about saving the Queen (and to hell with the rest of us) who lived in a palace bigger than our whole street, etc.

    Of course, at the time I couldn’t articulate is as I can today. I had neither the sophisticate comprehension of the concepts underpinning my behaviour and protests nor the vocabulary to do so.

    My point is, however, that the thoughts, emotional feelings and disapproval, frustration or anger were my own. My parents never took an interest in my schooling or anything else I was or did and certainly didn’t influence me in any direct or conscious way – though I accept that my circumstances and actions of my parents may have unconsciously provokes certain attitudes or feelings in me. So I have no difficulty in believing that the actions of the 9 year old are caused by her own feelings.

    However, I am also aware that many parents do indoctrinate their children and that you could well be right – it is only my intuition and experience that causes me to believe that in this instance this 9 year old is genuine.

    It may also be, of course, that my own distaste at the use of a song written for the British invaders and colonisers of this land should be our national anthem, together with my distaste for all ritual and the hypocrisy that almost inevitably accompanies it.

    Regardless of the rights and wrongs and varied perceptions of what she did and the school’s response to it, I think it is a great thing that this type of unfortunate nonsensical ritual has reached the front pages and become a matter for discussion. I only hope that the discussion is intelligent, rational and one that leads to a complete and forever move away from narrow-minded John Howard type nationalism and results in a fairer, more representative and more open society.

  9. Geoff Andrews

    Roger.
    Toilet in the back yard? Bloody luxury!
    We ‘ad it tough. We ‘ad to take a shovel, dig a hole at least four inches deep in the back yard and put a little sign with the date on it. Those signs were everywhere. After ten years, it took ages to find the oldest sign to inturd the current contribution.

  10. Babyjewels

    I have a 10 year old granddaughter who has always had a questioning mind. Her social justice radar is strong and yes, so is her mother’s and mine and yes, there is something to be said for parents’ opinions having a bearing on their children’s. They do hear things, listen and take it in. Some think about it, some don’t. After watching this little girl on tv, I think she’s very smart, IS very questioning and is a critical thinker, something we’re extremely short of, here in Australia, and we need more of them. For tv “celebs” and politicians to bag her out and call her a brat is just plain nasty. I am concerned that the adverse publicity could cause her to retreat a little which would be a damn shame and a waste of intellect. We should always remember Activists are the real leaders of this nation. Without activists, as maligned as they were and still are, we women wouldn’t even have the vote. They help reduce inequality and open people’s eyes to social injustice. They drag the rest of us kicking and screaming into the 21st century. Bravo! I say to her.

  11. helvityni

    I tend to agree with Roger Hawcroft’s post, and you got to love Rossleigh’s musings. LOL.

    My parents never brain-washed any of us….we learnt by their good example…

  12. Adrianne Haddow

    I’m not sure what is mandatory study in the Queensland curriculum, but part of the mandatory section of the old Human Society and its Environment curriculum in NSW for Stage 2 ( Primary Yrs 3 and 4) was Aboriginal Studies. This has been replaced by a History Curriculum, and I am unsure if the Aboriginal Studies section is still there , or still mandatory. So the subject of ancient indigenous ownership of this land would have been pertinent to her.

    However, given the astuteness of many students of that age, and the questions they ask in making sense of their world, I would disagree that her parents would have ‘indoctrinated’ her. And even if they did discuss such issues with their child, I see that as positive parenting.

    And how is that different to parents who provide their children with a religious education, and rigid adherence to a particular belief system?

    Watching Q&A with the high school panel last Monday, showed young people with a thorough understanding of the hypocrisy of our politicians with regard to our indigenous people, our climate change problems and our incarceration of asylum seekers in gulags.

  13. Adrianne Haddow

    @Babyjewels. Spot on, your principles, your child raising and your assessment of activists.

  14. helvityni

    Adrianne Haddow, I too was very impressed with students on Q&A.

    Geoff Andrews, Leigh Sales interviewed the Grand Designs man from England; according to him Aussies are determined to have as many toilets as they have bedrooms…people have bad memories of those old school backyard toilets…
    At my country primary school in Finland we had those horrors too,at high school level they had been improved…

  15. Deanna Jones

    Mr Mills, are you familiar with the concept of adultism? It’s a concept that is central to the new sociology of childhood theory (which is not actually that new anymore). I’m going to be presumptuous and assume that you’re not familiar with it, but crikey you’re doing it very well.Most of the criticism I’ve read today about this courageous person, Harper Nielson, whose name you don’t appear to even be aware of, is steeped in adultism. This idea that children are dumb things who have no capacity to engage with their broader political context, who couldn’t possibly have any wisdom or insight into anything, is tbqh, a load of horse shit. Children are, quite literally, an oppressed class, whom we like to construct as being ‘lesser than’. It justifies our domination of them and our many abusive practices that we tell ourselves are for their own good. In reality, we are full of shit. I work with children as a social scientist and have done for more than a decade. I’ve also raised two to adulthood. I’ve been a child, one who read newspapers every day and was engaged in politics from at least the age of eight or so. In my experience, children often have wisdom and insight that far surpasses the adults around them. Most of the criticism of Ms Nielson seems to be more about her age than her act, which is a radical one and should be fucking well applauded. Not sniggered at and trivialised by the big folks who have never dreamed of challenging oppression in such a bold way. Your thinking on this issue aligns very nicely with that of conservative right wingers.

  16. king1394

    Oh please bring back that grand second verse. It puts us all in our place. Or perhaps we need to return to God Save the Queen. I can remember not many people bothering to stand for that unless it was a very formal occasion. And a toast to Queen and Country at the beginning of formal meals. Clearly the loss of respect for the Anthem is what is bringing this country down.

  17. guest

    The attack on young people is especially promoted by right wing supremacists who seem to believe their born to rule mantra makes them superior to younger generations.

    You can see it in their superior attitude to the poor and marginalised, which arises from their wealth and status which is supposed to be bestowed on them by a divine presence. Contrast their privileged position with the status of “wilting violets”, which is the attitude towards students who protest and who are more likely to be secularist. We see how this is written about in right wing USA news outlets and repeated here in Oz as if there is some direct correlation. The idea is that the younger generation needs to “toughen up”.

    “Oh why can’t they be like we were, perfect in every way…?”

    Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings! Remember the son of Lady Macduff?

    “Son: And must they all be hanged that swear and lie?
    L.Macd: Every one.
    Son: Who must hang them?
    L. Macd: Why, the honest men.
    Son: Then the liars and swearers are fools; for there are liars and swearers enow to beat the honest men and hang up them.”

    So we are told that God is a god of love who sacrificed his son to save the world…but even a child can see that not all is well with the world.

    So a child might sit during an anthem which it sees as meaningless.

    A tough question that might be asked of the religious is: Where the hell is heaven?

  18. Deb

    Nothing suspicious about it, Out of the mouth of babes comes truth and wisdom.

  19. Kaye Lee

    If our children never question our rules, nothing will ever change.

    As I have said elsewhere, my mother, a primary school teacher and a fiercely proud Australian, would refuse to stand for God Save the Queen. This child has the same right to make a point.

    Have you noticed that it is the “free speech” advocates, the ones who want religious freedom to discriminate enshrined in law, that are crying the loudest about this?

    Will she be hounded as we did when Yassmin Abdel-Magied asked us to remember the people in Manus, Nauru, Syria and Palestine?

    Are we so precious that our jingoistic ceremonies mean more to us than our children? Are we raising unquestioning automatons or free thinkers?

  20. Kaye Lee

    We should also remember that our anthem used to begin

    “Australia’s sons let us rejoice”

    Should we girls have just shut up and accepted that too?

    My little sister used to think it was “Australian sunset ostriches” and sang it loudly.

    Oh, and btw, the words fit perfectly to the tune of the theme song from Gilligan’s Island. Try it some time. (Expecting lightning to strike me any moment)

  21. Rossleigh

    It’s ok, Kaye Lee, lightning can’t strike in the same place twice…
    Although that’s not true and Parliament House does seem to have a lightning rod above it…

  22. Rossleigh

    God, I always thought that “Song of Australia” should have won hands down!

    There is a land where summer skies
    Are gleaming with a thousand eyes,
    Blending in witching harmonies ;
    And grassy knoll and forest height,
    Are flushing in the rosy light,
    And all above is azure bright — Australia!
    There is a land where honey flows,
    Where laughing corn luxuriant grows,
    Land of the myrtle and the rose;
    On hill and plain the clust’ring vine
    Is gushing out with purple wine,
    And cups are quaffed to thee and thine — Australia!
    There is a land where treasures shine
    Deep in the dark unfathom’d mine
    For worshippers at Mammon’s shrine;
    Where gold lies hid, and rubies gleam,
    And fabled wealth no more doth seem
    The idle fancy of a dream — Australia!
    There is a land where homesteads peep
    From sunny plain and woodland steep,
    And love and joy bright vigils keep;
    Where the glad voice of childish glee
    Is mingling with the melody
    Of nature’s hidden minstrelsy — Australia!
    There is a land where, floating free,
    From mountain-top to girdling sea,
    A proud flag waves exultingly;
    And FREEDOM’S sons the banner bear,
    No shackled slave can breathe the air,
    Fairest of Britain’s daughters fair — Australia!

  23. Rossleigh

    I particularly liked the bit about “Mammon” with the capital “M”

    Not sure why “FREEDOM” was in capitals.

  24. Bec

    Van Badham wrote a scathing piece today in the Guardian about media personalities who choose to bully a child to score political points. Congratulations, you winner.

  25. Roger Hawcroftr

    On the NITV site there is an interesting discussion regarding the Anthem – or perhaps I should say that I found it both interesting and informative and others here may do so too.

    If you aren’t already aware, you can find it at:

    https://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2017/01/31/10-things-you-should-know-about-advance-australia-fair1

    In part it mentions that opera singer Deborah Cheetham had explained in an interview that she could no longer sing the words “for we are young and free and hence, not sing the anthem. She had also suggested new lyrics for the anthem which were written by Judith Durham and Muti Muti singer songwriter Kutcha Edwards’.

    I don’t feel that to pen a new anthem we should be bound by the present tune but these lyrics certainly make more sense than either the original Great Britanin worshipping ones or those currently used:

    Australia, celebrate as one, with peace and harmony.
    Our precious water, soil and sun, grant life for you and me.
    Our land abounds in nature’s gifts to love, respect and share,
    And honouring the Dreaming, advance Australia fair.
    With joyful hearts then let us sing, advance Australia fair.

    Australia, let us stand as one, upon this sacred land.
    A new day dawns, we’re moving on to trust and understand.
    Combine our ancient history and cultures everywhere,
    To bond together for all time, advance Australia fair.
    With joyful hearts then let us sing, advance Australia fair.

    Australia, let us strive as one, to work with willing hands.
    Our Southern Cross will guide us on, as friends with other lands.
    While we embrace tomorrow’s world with courage, truth and care,
    And all our actions prove the words, advance Australia fair.
    With joyful hearts then let us sing, advance Australia fair.

    And when this special land of ours is in our children’s care,
    From shore to shore forever more, advance Australia fair.
    With joyful hearts then let us sing, advance … Australia … fair.

  26. Karl Young

    I totally agree with Deanna Jones observations.And I agree wth Harper Nielson on the very large omission of our indiginous peoples in our National Anthem.

    There are many wise 9 year olds out there.

  27. Matters Not

    Re:

    Where the hell is heaven?

    Perhaps, both the question and the answer are mental? In the metaphysical realm?

    Heard Morrison argue that he wants the right to decide the influences brought to bear on his offspring. Hence his choice of schooling. So it is with Harper’s parents – who also want the right to choose the ideological options available for their child’s consideration ? Good for the goose but not for the gander?

    Perhaps if Harper practiced glossolalia, there might have been a more sympathetic reception? At least from the Prime Minister.

    Note also that Hanson chose the violent option. But not surprised – she is from Queensland. The political home of Dutton. (For the moment at least.)

  28. John Higgins

    Pauline Hanson, champion of free speech, unless it applies to a 9 year old girl who speaks her mind over the anthem, calls her a brat and says she should be kicked up the bum. I’d rather kick that red-headed screeching fish and chip shop monger from Queensland back to the rock where she and James Ashby crawled out from ..
    Living In The Land of Oz by Ross Wilson should be our anthem … take a listen to our encapsulated history in 3 and a half minutes

  29. paul walter

    She’s a good kid. She will remember this incident for the rest of her life though.

  30. ajogrady

    Terence Mills you may be suspicious of a 9 year old child’s actions but I am more suspicious of you and your motives. The young lady is thoughtful and articulate and would seem to come from a supportive and caring family. These are outcomes for a family that we as a nation should be proud of and support NOT undermine and attack. Terence Mills you should take account of your own values and principles.

  31. wam

    Harper is one of the rabbott’s exceptional females and. at 9 very astute and forthright,

    Doubtless her family has great influence and she has the precedence of religious disregard of the anthem to legitimise her objections.

    The administrators and staff, of the school, absolves god based objections but punishes reasoned arguments. Well that fits the son of a small car (notice howard’s boy won in wentworth??), the rabbott, the lnp and pauline. Has katter weighed in? In 1943 the amercan law states it is not compulsory to stand for the oath

    My mum was a scot and I embarrassed her at the flicks by not standing for the national anthem which included ‘… rebellious scots to crush… But we were already standing at school and I never thought of going down on one knee.

    ps Isabel Dora, I notice that you give yourself the respect of a capital letter and I presume you would show similar respect to English or Greek or Chinese Australians? What about Maori Australians???

    pps great sympathy, roger, I copped plenty of nun knuckle bashing before I learnt that a mouth shut smile was the best method of preservation. (I needed a couple of re-education six of the best by the brothers at college.)

    Being a smartarse in one teacher schools was risky for bullying after school. Unless you had a big strong cousin?

  32. helvityni

    ajogrady, I have come to see Terence Mills as one of the compassionate writers here; always on the side of the asylum seekers.

  33. Sue

    I watched this on Channel 7 the other night. The newsreader, an adult, sleep-talked her way through the piece to air totally unaware that she represented a level of bullying of a child that had to be seen to be believed. Putting aside for the moment the spectacle of an unaware media presenter, who is behind the strategizing of how these kinds of reports go together?

    Senior editors and managers must be somewhere working out how to include the most incendiary of views, Hanson and Jones this time round, so as to generate the most public outrage. And if a primary school student gets thrown under a media-bus in the process, well, we are MSM, what can we do? We don’t do empathy or clear thinking; national pile-on yes, empathy or a considered view, no.

    When are they going to grow up?

  34. paulie

    Moree Primary 1975-76, We sang puff the magic dragon at morning assemblies.

  35. Regional Elder

    Kaye Lee,

    One of my daughters 35 years ago used to sing something similar.

    Her innocent take as a 5 or 6 year old, which she sang tunefully and with great assurance, was, ‘Australian’s southern ostriches …. ’ , not knowing how prescient those words were, when we now give consideration to the cumulative destructive influence of LNP governments since John Howard’s.

    It is not so much that these Australian governments have their heads in the sand as ostriches do in a sand-storm, but rather that from the urban comforts of Canberra and Kirabilee, they are just unable to see, or to appreciate the tragic significance of the nation’s topsoil blowing away or being washed into the oceans, the outcome of decades of ecological abuse, that neo-liberal governments always obsessed with their financial fetishes, continue to perpetuate.

  36. Kaye Lee

    helvetyni,

    I agree. I have always appreciated Terence’s opinions.

    There are several questions being considered.

    Was the child instructed to do this without any understanding on her part? I don’t think so. Of course, discussions at home play a part in forming opinions. When my young nephews marched with me in March 2014, we talked a lot before we went. They decided they wanted to “save the fish” – we talked about whaling and shark culls and over-fishing and marine parks and ocean pollution etc. The topic was their choice and came, in part, from their own environment, experiences and questions they asked. They made their own signs and carried them as we joined many others each holding signs about the issues that concerned them.

    It is good for our children to question the status quo.

    Should she have just absented herself from assembly? Would we have been having this national conversation if she did? Sometimes you have to do something different to draw attention to your cause. She was not violent. She was not rude. She exercised her choice to make a peaceful protest in a place she had every right to be.

    Was it disrespectful?

    Does a song merit respect, particularly when it could be seen to disrespect this young lady’s ancestors and the long history of our nation? Are the MPs who don’t wear Scott’s flag pin being disrespectful? Am I disrespectful when I say I really want to change our flag? Surely respect for each other and respect for the environment are more important than respect for johnny-come-lately songs whose words we could, and do, easily change.

    I much prefer the words that Roger shared. I don’t think I could do “We are one” because I nearly always well- up with tears when I hear that sung. Whatever we choose, I think a valuable conversation has been started. Let’s get on with choosing new lyrics (or a new anthem), a new flag, a new date for Australia Day, and what our government will look like when we become a republic. The US model is not appropriate. We need to come up with our own.

  37. Kaye Lee

    Regional Elder,

    Everything is a FIFO photo-op for our pollies. That’s about as deep as they get. We know what we have to do but the greedy and powerful hamstring us.

  38. Rhonda

    I totally support the action of young Harper (from my neck of the woods in Q’land)And I’m equally awed by her bravery and convictions. Good bloody on her, and I say kudos to her folks for their unyeilding support. I believe that we need this national conversation. It’s beyond time for action and change. Time to really start paying our dues and respect for this land, and to our nation’s first people. I don’t get why our indigenous folk are not held with our highest regard. We could and should be so proud of Australia’s heritage. I just don’t get it. I’m tired of the same same jingoistic argy bargy that comes around every January 26! We clearly need to clear out our old colonial baggage and really change begin a new and honest narrative. (We’ve lost so much – and gone so far backwards during & since JWH’s tenure. It’s heartbreaking in so many arenas) Our anthem is wanting and flawed as buggery. On the q of the republic, I wonder if new Malcolm will retake up the mantle? I say we don’t need him – I believe there are many many more Harpers out there. Let’s give them their voices – they’ll make far more sense than our current crop of dolts purporting to speak for us

  39. Kaye Lee

    Rhonda,

    I don’t get it either. On one hand, we have the government bending over backwards to make sure the far right ‘Christians’ are not offended by the laws of the land. They seem determined to make exemptions for them.

    Yet when the traditional custodians of the land, who have been historically oppressed and silenced, finally find their voice to gently ask if we could choose a different date to celebrate the unity of Australia, or whatever it is we are trying to portray on that day, all hell breaks loose. On ANZAC day we are asked to remember those who have given their lives fighting in foreign wars, yet if we mention the victims of current wars, once again, all hell breaks loose. We are asked to respect our flag (which isn’t even our flag) by people who are wearing it on their thongs, underpants or as some sort of superhero cape. It takes a child to make us even think about the words to a song that is supposed to represent all of us but completely ignores the first Australians.

    If we are asked to consider the sensibilities of Christians, surely it’s not too much to ask that we consider the sensibilities of the people who were the custodians of this land for thousands of years before Britain decided to make it a penal colony.

  40. Adrianne Haddow

    On the subject of the indigenous 60,000+ years of ownership of this country, I am reading an excellent book “Deep Time Dreaming “ by Billy Griffith.
    Griffith’s writes about the realisation of Australian archeologists studying and working in the UK, in the 1950’s, who realised the English archeologists were constructing a supposed historical narrative about the ancient Britons and their values based on artefacts they had discovered.
    They felt that Australia had similar ancient artefacts left by past Indigenous people which could be used to construct a similar narrative. Carbon dating proves that our humble Australian artefacts preceded those of the Brits by tens of thousands of years.
    The huge difference is that we Australians see no value in the indigenous continuous history in this land. A vast number of archeological sites in this country have been destroyed by development, mining and agricultural ventures with no regard to documenting or preserving evidence of the oldest surviving civilisation on the planet.
    It’s not just a pity and a shame. It’s an example of the extreme racism that underpins white Australia’s attitude to our indigenous people.

  41. nonsibicunctis

    Adrianna, I agree with what you have written and would add that it is also an example of the elitist settlement of Australia by the British and the enormous land grants made to the privileged. That heritage and the stupidity of the worship of the monarchy by such leaders as Menzies and, more recently, Howard and Abbott, have continued to entrench the notion of rule by a privileged elite. In reality, our society continues a class structure similar to that of the 19th and 20th Centuries in Britain. The only difference in Australia is that the structure has been based from the very beginning on wealth rather than titles but to all intents and purposes it has had the same effect.

    Politicians and some media commentators and others are quick to remark today that there is no ‘class’ system in Australia and that to speak of ‘class warfare’ is nonsense. I don’t agree. I believe that it is in the interests of those who have the wealth and therefore the power to argue that way but that it belies the reality.

    People may choose to believe that Australia is an egalitarian society, just as many choose to believe that we are a model of a multicultural and non-racist society. It is bunkum. Paradoxically, considering the mix of peoples we have here, we are one of the most racist societies in the World and there are many who would welcome a return to the White Australia Policy, not that in may respects it hasn’t continued to underpin immigrant approvals and supposed suitability.

  42. paul walter

    Good comment from Sue earlier, at times the msm should be hung, drawn and quartered.

  43. Diannaart

    Agree, Paul Walter.

    While I disagree with Terence, on this one occasion, his article is well reasoned, nothing pejorative.

    MSM needs to attend the same remedial classes in compassion as the LNP (and a small but significant percentage of Labor politicians).

  44. Mark Needham

    Stand up for what you believe in, and you had better be prepared to be knocked back down.

  45. paul walter

    Diannaart, Sue’s comment really struck a chord with me. I say this just after watching an episode of the Drum and the Drum is bad enough, yet by no means the worst of media and press coverage of current affairs. No wonder nothing seems to change that matters.

  46. johno

    Didn’t stand up for anthem at some horsie show. We were the only ones sitting. No one hassled us, which was good.

  47. Diannaart

    Paul

    I heard about this on the ABC local radio. But agree this will probably not receive the mainstream exposure it deserves.

    I could not believe how appallingly this woman was treated. WTF does depression have to do with cancer, apart from both being illnesses?

    Blatant disregard for customers/clients/patients is becoming the norm, resulting in a numbing of care or compassion. Giving licence to the likes of Bolt or Hanson to create sturm und drang from a safe distance, a confected but, nonetheless, harmful drama.

    More power to Harper Nielsen, 9 years old and has the power to frighten “adults”. Truth is often scary, is it not?

  48. paul walter

    Yes, Diannaart. These people seem complete empathy-free zones. How can people be so hard? I bet the insurance company will still duck compensation.

    Nothing makes me sick.

  49. Henry Hood

    Very True Mark Needham

  50. Winston

    It seems you only have a voice if you are a member of a Club, Church, Faith, Religion, Sect, Cult or Political Party. So all these groupies bullies tear apart a 9 year old girl for her own thoughts.Go Harper; you are my hero.

  51. Peta R

    Starting to understand Buddhism as I now get what they mean when they say ‘mankind is asleep’. While channel surfing last night I ran across an episode of Opinionated (Ch7 News) and was figuratively treated to the sight of one of the celebrity howler monkeys repeating the “brat” meme insult for the 9 year old, followed by a mocking of the originator of the insult, Hanson. As much as I don’t like to admit it, commercial tv is doing great work on behalf of the forces that would retard the evolution of the human spirit. Fortunately, it’s encouraging that children are displaying more sense that our leaders and highly paid celebrities.

  52. nonsibicunctis

    Winston, I fully agree with you. I strongly disagree with the suggestions that it is not possible for a child of 9 to have sufficient insight to recognise anomalies or distortions of reality such as that against which she protested.

    “Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”
    ― Albert Einstein

  53. Kyran

    Funnily enough, while I share your suspicion, mine is directed elsewhere.
    There have been many protests across Australia by thousands, even tens of thousands, of Australians with regard for our First People, our dissatisfaction at how they have been, and still are being, treated, about Treaty, about Australia Day, about closing the gap. About lots of things. And on other issues too. These protests, involving thousands of Australians, are often not reported. When they are, they rinse out of the news cycle within a day (at most).
    Yet a white, nine year old child in a suburban primary school makes a protest at a school assembly and it is not only national news for a week, but its international news.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-australia-45495675

    Suspicious? At the very least, it’s curious. Having been involved in subtle and un-subtle protest throughout my schooling, and, vicariously, through my sons in their journey through education, I can’t recall any grabbing the attention of the national media. Most children go through a developmental stage where they become keenly aware of injustice and hypocrisy. This child is to be lauded and encouraged, in my opinion. However suspect you may be of her motive, goodness knows we need more of this, rather than less.
    Anyway, getting back to the media, it’s also curious that reports of the schools attitude, processes and protocols got scant attention, with some ‘factual’ or ‘circumstantial’ reporting indicating the child had been punished with detention or suspension. Or maybe she was offered counselling. No, the facts didn’t really get a run.
    Our media went running off to get the opinions of other white children. As you pointed out;
    “Good grief! That’s enough to get up the nose of any year 4 student and could probably raise the ire of toddlers across the nation.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/sep/13/imagine-being-so-threatened-by-non-conformism-youd-bully-a-child

    One white child, renowned for playing dress ups in parliament, recommended assault. Another white child, renowned for inciting riots whilst wearing flags, insisted she had been indoctrinated by her parents, implying she had been incited by adults. A third white child recommended expulsion.
    Yes, toddlers across the nation were incensed. As always with our media, they will decide the outrage and the circumstance under which it will be reported. As for the substance of the ‘story’, as you suggest;
    “Her main objection, or that of her parents, appears to be that the national anthem “completely disregards Indigenous Australians.” She said “when it says ‘we are young’ it completely disregards the Indigenous Australians who were here before us for over 50,000 years. When it was originally written, Advance Australia Fair meant advance the white people of Australia”.”
    In all of the articles across our sunburnt plains, not one that I read sought any comment from any members of any of our First Nations, let alone any comment from any of our First Peoples.
    Many of us were disgusted with the last PM’s dismissal of the Statement from the Heart. A disgust exacerbated by the current PM’s appointment of one of the most stupid politicians to have ever disgraced Canberra as a special envoy for our First People, while leaving in place scullion, one of the most destructive ministers inflicted on our First People.
    In all of the articles across our sunburnt plains, not one that I read included any of the text of that aspirational document, let alone specific reference to our First Peoples conviction, shared by many of us, that our children (even white, nine year old, suburban primary school students) will flourish when we have power over our own destiny.

    “We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.
    We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.
    Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self-determination.
    We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.”

    https://antar.org.au/statement-from-the-heart

    How nice of all of us white children to talk about a song that is offensively dated, while ignoring we will never give voice to our First People to sing about anything, let alone cause to sing.
    Suspicious? You bet. Curious? You bet. Surprised? Nah. Disappointed? Nah. At least one more Australian wants to draw attention to it.
    Thank you Mr Mills and commenters. Take care

  54. Mark

    Paulie – We also sang Puff the Magic Dragon at assembly! It may say something about my soft heart or the power of music to move mountains, but it still makes me a bit teary to this day.

    As far as this beat up goes, it’s just a bloody national anthem, they all suck don’t they? I am not a nationalist by any means and will carry on for hours about the nanny state/american suckling that this country has turned into, but still feel it the correct thing to do to stand for the anthem, no matter what the ancient lyrics are, it shows solidarity for the country I was born in.

    I have a nine year old in grade 4 currently; this boy is the quintesential questioner of everything, extremely bright, and will be a force to be reckoned with in the years to come, however, if he got detention for not standing for the anthem at assembly, he would get a swift clip over the ear and told to pull his head in.

    I’m all for standing up for what you believe in, however, the school has said that there were alternatives to attending the assembly on personal grounds, why make the fuss about this?

    Political correctness is fascism in disguise. Sometimes you need to learn to take a bit of offensiveness on the chin, or else you are going to get offended by absolutely everything in this life.

  55. Kaye Lee

    Standing for the anthem is the absolute example of political correctness. You can’t have it both ways…or should I say YOUR way only.

  56. Terence Mills

    Mark

    La Marseillaise is cool !

  57. nonsibicunctis

    Mark, the misguided slant of your view is given away in shrill terms by your comment that should your own child fail to stand for the anthem “he would get a swift clip over the ear and told to pull his head in.”

    Hitting a child constitutes abuse. The views of anyone who commits child abuse, has in my view, lost any credibility. Such actions can not only cause immediate physical damage but also inflict mental harm, particularly when used commonly as a form of “discipline”, i.e. coercion through force. That mental harm is often long-lasting and extremely influential.

    An important factor in childhood learning is what they glean from models. It is well known that children who are abused become abusers. What you teach your child when you conduct yourself in that fashion is that physical violence is an acceptable way to force your views on others who are not as strong as yourself. We see the sad results of that everywhere in our society, from the micro to the macro level.

    Your insistence on an anachronistic tradition is similar in its appalling narrowness of thought and understanding to that of John Howard’s insular nationalism.

    You say that your boy will be “a force to be reckoned with”. I don’t doubt it, given what you’ve written about how you choose to raise him. Unfortunately, it is not ‘force’ of which we have any shortage or need. If we did, rape, home invasions and muggings, perhaps even wars, would be a thing of the past.

    A better future for your own child and humanity generally can only come from an improved acceptance of diversity, increased ability for independent thinking, more rational and sophisticated approach to promoting harmony among people and peoples, inculcation of compassion in all people, and a recognition by each and every human being that neither a religious or state edict gives them the right to dictate to others or treat them as property.

    You ridicule the anthem in your own response and yet claim that you, “still feel it the correct thing to do to stand for the anthem…” It seems clear that you don’t realise how such thinking is irrational and self-contradictory. If your son is as bright as you believe then he will, at some stage, challenge such thinking as he will see the weakness of it, regardless of any physical punishment you give him.

    You also state that, “I’m all for standing up for what you believe in…why make a fuss about this?” which is another example of self contradiction.

    Your final sentence is too banal to dignify with comment.

    I would suggest that you think deeply about this issue and play ‘Devil’s advocate’ with yourself or, perhaps, your son, in order to explore the various views and ‘rights and wrongs’, positives and negatives of this event. Look at it and discuss it from as many viewpoints as you can, including those of different parental groups, citizens of diverse ethnic background, the Mainstream media, differing age groups of citizens and the source and values that are reflected in our Constitution.

    Through such a process both yourself and your son can engage in true learning and ensure that your decisions, attitudes, and actions are based on well-informed and considered decision-making and understanding, rather than simple opinion or the effects of unconscious socialisation and need to identify with the herd.

  58. nonsibicunctis

    Would someone please give me a rational reason why a song written with such content should form the basis for pride and dignity in a supposedly independent, free, multi-cultural, and democratic nation of the 21st Century?

    Australian sons, let us rejoice.
    For we are young and free.
    We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil,
    Our home is girt by sea.
    Our land abounds in nature’s gifts
    Of beauty rich and rare,
    In history’s page let every stage
    Advance Australia Fair
    In joyful strains then let us sing
    Advance Australia Fair.

    When gallant Cook from Albion sailed.
    To trace wide oceans o’er.
    True British courage bore him on.
    Til he landed on our shore
    Then here he raised Old England’s flag.
    The standard of the brave.
    With all her faults we love her still.
    Britannia rules the wave
    In joyful strains then let us sing
    Advance Australia Fair.

    When other nations of the globe.
    Behold us from afar,
    We’ll rise to high renown
    And shine like our glorious southern star
    From English soil and Fatherland
    Scotia and Erin fair
    Let all combine with heart and hand
    To Advance Australia fair.
    In joyful strains then let us sing
    Advance Australia Fair.

    Should foreign foe e’er sight our coast.
    Or dare a foot to land.
    We’ll rouse to arms like sires of yore
    To guard our native strand.
    Britannia then shall surely know,
    Though oceans roll between
    Her sons in fair Australia’s land
    Still keep their courage green.
    In joyful strains then let us sing
    Advance Australia Fair.

    Original lyrics.

  59. Peter F

    If we must have “Advance Australia Fair”, perhaps we need appropriate words:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZrvnrplZgQ

    Perhaps by changing only the words, we might be able to make it happen. We could then have ‘we are one’ as our ‘informal’ anthem, which it seems to be reaching already.

  60. Kaye Lee

    Peter F,

    I love We Are Australians. In the ultimate irony, my son actually sang it for John Howard as part of a junior choir at a Liberal Party function. But we cannot, at the moment, sing it with any sincerity. That song is “aspirational” while we continue to persecute minorities and lock up children and those who came seeking our help.

  61. Mark

    …Or I could read your over-dramatised comments nonsibicunctis and go on my merry way.
    Child abuse my arse, if you’ve never been given a clip over the ear for being a twat, perhaps it’s about time.
    I find it hilarious that the self righteous masses will jump on any bandwagon to have a whinge.
    And Kaye Lee, I most certainly can have it both ways, that what makes it MY life.
    You live your life, I’ll live mine.
    If all my murri/koori mates (yes, I’ve got heaps) here in NQ actually gave a shit (yes I’ve asked) about this rubbish then I would perhaps reconsider my views.
    Till then, I’ll keep laughing at your being offended by everything.

  62. Kaye Lee

    Mark,

    I just don’t understand the term “political correctness”. Apparently it means ‘you have to do what I say because if you don’t I will be offended but I don’t give a shit about what offends you’. Seems pretty hypocritical to me.

    As for “You live your life, I’ll live mine.”, will you offer the same courtesy to this young lady? Or must she only care about the things your mates care about?

  63. Mark

    Yeah sorry, I wrote that incorrectly, The last line wasn’t directed at you Kaye Lee.

  64. Mark

    I’m not asking anyone to do as I say. I would chastise my son for stepping out of line in a matter of school, as he’s there to learn follow the lead of the school. If that means that you stand at assembly for the National anthem, then so be it. Sometimes you have to “pull your head in” in ”someone else’s house”, if that makes any sense. I guess I speak/write a little funny to some folks.

  65. Kaye Lee

    I understand and, up to a point, agree Mark. But the national pile-on vilifying a 9 year old kid is unedifying.

    In schools we have to respect differences. We have children who object to studying certain texts for example. So the teachers do double the work to offer them alternatives. I have had kids whose families said they were not to watch any videos or use any computers and who refused to take part in any lessons about evolution. We also saw the example of boys refusing to shake a female teacher’s hand at an awards ceremony. Is it the hill to die for? Or is it a chance to start a conversation?

    The kid wasn’t in someone else’s house. She was in her school where she had every right to be. She is part of that community and has a right to make a point about something she wants changed.

  66. Kronomex

    nonsibicunctis: Thanks for putting up the lyrics for the anthem, it’s the first time I’ve seen the full version. It’s a gag inducing piece of imperialist crap that only right wing nationalist idiots could like.

  67. Zathras

    I recall Primary School in the early sixties when we were taught aborigines were “a dying race” and read “The Story of Little Black S*mbo” under the portrait of the Queen and being made to salute the flag.

    In retrospect it was much about jingoism, blind obedience to white supremacy and never challenging those views.

    Some things have changed since then but many others have not, especially the attitudes of certain politicians who never moved on from those flawed teachings. Worse still is their desire to drag us back into those dark unenlightened times.

  68. nonsibicunctis

    Mark, my comments were not “over-dramatised” and it unfortunate that you see them that way. I had hoped that you were intelligent enough to consider them serioiusly.

    Sadly, I see that, as. do so many in our society, you fail to understand the implications of what you model to others by your words and actions. It doesn’t surprise me for I live in a town where, in response to a local survey recently, 75% of the respondents answered that ‘smacking’ a child was alright. Given that it is a predominantly right-wing and highly religious community, that result didn’t surprise me either for dogma, anachronistic ritual, and a notion that an elite have a right to treat others with disdain and impose conditions and restrictions on them that they, themselves, feel no obligation to observe is a common characteristic of conservative political party supporters and the religious.

    “Child abuse my arse, if you’ve never been given a clip over the ear for being a twat, perhaps it’s about time.”

    This comment only adds support to what I wrote. It again demonstrates your paucity of understanding and ignorance or dismissal of evidence regarding physical abuse of children, further displays your misplaced belief that physical punishment is a response to some act that displeases your unfounded and simplistic personal opinion, and demonstrates you inability to respond to an issue without indulging in personal abuse and name calling.

    If, as your rude statement appears to imply, you don’t see physical assault as child abuse, I suggest you read some of the medical research and literature on the consequences of it. You might also consider an alternative meaning that could be inferred from the title of the Paul Kelly song, “From little things, big things grow.’ to which I’ll refer later. It is all too common for the little tap to become a habit, thus having less impact over time, in turn causing harder blows, and on, and on …

    You also appear to have no understanding of the difference between education and schooling. We talk of having an education system and the common understanding is that education is about learning and that such is what our schools are about. That is not the reality. Our schools, as a generalisation, are far more about socialisation than they are about education. Your comment elsew that your son is “…there to learn [to] follow the lead of the school.” That certainly shouldn’t be the case and no school should be in the business of expecting that if it actually considers itself an educational institution.

    Learning is about questioning and asking questions about the results of that questioning. Learning is not, following a prescription in rote fashion, regardless that such a view has been common in the past and remains so in many minds today. Neither is learning about some authority acting as a vessel of knowledge from which to pour same into a student imitating a receptacle for that knowledge. Teachers who are truly engaged and skilled as educators, learn alongside and in cooperation and collaboration with students, not by dictating to them. Allowing children to explore, question, feel, be noisy, be quiet, etc… is how learning is maximised.

    Learning to follow the lead of the school has nothing to do with education as neither does the physical coercion of which you seem so fond.

    What your mates think, whether First Australians or otherwise, is information that may or may not be of value to you. However, it should not be considered a rational basis for decision-making beyond its attribute as anecdotal opinion of a probably skewed sample population. It is generally the case that our ‘mates’ are people who think and believe and have the same prejudices as ourselves so to confuse their opinion as ‘evidence’ or even objective anecdotal comment is unlikely to be valid.

    This issue is not “rubbish”, whether you and your mates think so or no. Even leaving aside that the First Australians have never ceded sovereignty of their country to the British or any other power, including the current Australian government. So, apart from having stolen this land from them and occupying it illegally, the treatment of the First Australians in this country has been appalling and inhumane since first occupation. Sadly, such treatment and prejudice against First Australians continues today, particularly on the right-wing side of the political spectrum. Indeed, the assignment of Tony Abbott as a ‘Special Envoy’ to the First Australians is more insult than encouragement. Even in politics, were ethical standards seem to enjoy little regard, Tony Abbott’s behaviour and statements have demonstrated a low that few others have exhibited. As for a role in which an ability to bring harmony and real understanding to the relationship between two different groups and cultures is paramount, Abbott’s record indicates his complete unsuitability for such a task.

    No, Mark, this issue is not ‘rubbish’ any more than is that of our need for removal of the naval ensign from the national flag or the need for a Bill of Rights. It is, in fact, one of the most important issues facing this nation and one that is long overdue for settlement. Indeed, the condescending and immediate dismissal, by Malcolm Turnbull, of the recommendations of the First Australian Summit on Constitutional Recognition, just 12 months ago is suffiicient significant evidence that this issue is not “rubbish” and there is much, much more.

    So, you may keep on laughing for as long as you wish, though I am saddened that you remain so stubbornly opposed to examining your own statements and considering their validity or otherwise for it is a waste of your intellect to act in such a populist and uncaring way.

    However, you should understand that I am not “offended by everything” and that, if I were, you should consider it ‘laughable’ rather than consider it puzzling and seek to understand and perhaps help me deal with it, is another issue you might benefit from considering.

    …..

    A couple of afterthoughts that are relevant to this issue:

    “From little things big things grow” – You might find it worthwhile to discover what this song is really about …

    Paul Kelly – From Little Things Big Things Grow Lyrics
    Gather round people let me tell you’re a story
    An eight year long story of power and pride
    British Lord Vestey and Vincent Lingiarri
    Were opposite men on opposite sides

    Vestey was fat with money and muscle
    Beef was his business, broad was his door
    Vincent was lean and spoke very little
    He had no bank balance, hard dirt was his floor

    From little things big things grow
    From little things big things grow

    Gurindji were working for nothing but rations
    Where once they had gathered the wealth of the land
    Daily the pressure got tighter and tighter
    Gurindju decided they must make a stand

    They picked up their swags and started off walking
    At Wattie Creek they sat themselves down
    Now it don’t sound like much but it sure got tongues talking
    Back at the homestead and then in the town

    From little things big things grow
    From little things big things grow

    Vestey man said I’ll double your wages
    Seven quid a week you’ll have in your hand
    Vincent said uhuh we’re not talking about wages
    We’re sitting right here till we get our land
    Vestey man roared and Vestey man thundered
    You don’t stand the chance of a cinder in snow
    Vince said if we fall others are rising

    From little things big things grow
    From little things big things grow

    Then Vincent Lingiarri boarded an aeroplane
    Landed in Sydney, big city of lights
    And daily he went round softly speaking his story
    To all kinds of men from all walks of life

    And Vincent sat down with big politicians
    This affair they told him is a matter of state
    Let us sort it out, your people are hungry
    Vincent said no thanks, we know how to wait

    From little things big things grow
    From little things big things grow

    Then Vincent Lingiarri returned in an aeroplane
    Back to his country once more to sit down
    And he told his people let the stars keep on turning
    We have friends in the south, in the cities and towns

    Eight years went by, eight long years of waiting
    Till one day a tall stranger appeared in the land
    And he came with lawyers and he came with great ceremony
    And through Vincent’s fingers poured a handful of sand

    From little things big things grow
    From little things big things grow

    That was the story of Vincent Lingairri
    But this is the story of something much more
    How power and privilege can not move a people
    Who know where they stand and stand in the law

    From little things big things grow
    From little things big things grow
    From little things big things grow
    From little things big things grow

    Songwriters: KEV CARMODY, KEVIN DANIEL CARMODY, PAUL MAURICE KELLY
    From Little Things Big Things Grow lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

    “We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love… and then we return home.” – Australian Aboriginal saying

    “I love a sunburnt country, a land of sweeping plains…”

    “Reminds me that my people were killed on those plains, we were shot on those plains, disease ravished us on those plains.” – Stan Grant

    “Rubbish”? I don’t think so, Mark.

  69. Roger Hawcroft

    Zathra,

    Yes, I am sad to recall my British schooling and to have experienced the attempted brain-washing and distortion of history to the accompaniment of a world map covered in pink, along with all those other sorts of issues that you mention …

    I am sad that I have to be ashamed of my British heritage because of its colonialism, elitism, and patriarchy (which is ironic, given that its longest serving monarchs have both been women).

    I am also sad that I have to be ashamed of now being an Australian, because of its continued promotion of anachronistic ties to the monarchy, to elitist tradition and ritual, and to a decade, if not more, of largely right-wing political rule that has destroyed most of the gains we had made in compassion, social justice and human rights.

    I still have a glimmer of hope that the insanity, corrupiton, lack of ethics, and parsimony that is the norm, as exemplified by Fraser, Howard, and Abbott – and the latest debacle brought about by Dutton and Morrison – will one day be scoured from our nation. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll live that long.

  70. Kaye Lee

    I smacked my son once. He looked at me with such horror, I was immediately ashamed. I spent the night crying with remorse at my lack of control and at how badly I had handled what should have been a simple issue. I learned a very valuable lesson at my son’s expense. He is now 27 and still remembers that smack from decades ago. Significantly, neither of us remember what it was for.

    I am 60 and still learning how to be a better person and part of that is considering how other people may view things. It isn’t always easy to do that but trying is teaching me a lot.

  71. Adrianne Haddow

    nonsibiscunctis, a great response. Bravo.

    Kaye Lee, I have a similar story regarding the smacking of my son, He’s now 32, and we both remember that smack, given when he ran onto the road while waiting to cross a busy street.

    I felt shame and stress as you did, and it tarnished the absolute trust which had existed between us before then. It took a long time to re-establish that relationship.

  72. Kaye Lee

    Adrianne,

    I don’t think mine was that important. Him running on the road would have scared you.

    I addressed it the next day by telling my son I was wrong and I was sorry. I didn’t use any ‘buts’. It kind of taught us both that, when you make a mistake, apologise, do what you can to rectify it if possible, but mostly, learn from it. We have a good relationship where we remind each other that we are on the same team and forgive each other when we mess up.

  73. Diannaart

    Rectifying mistakes … apologies, learning.

    Along with compassion we are not seeing much by way of examples of humility from leaders or other prominent citizens. I am prepared to bet my next pension payment I will not live to hear an apology from the Bolts, Hanson’s or from anyone who felt soooooo effing threatened by a nine year old girl, that this child be described as a brat and her parents considered appalling. I really can’t afford to lose my next pension payment, so sure am I of the lack of ability for self-reflection of the above mentioned..

    I never hit my niece or nephew, probably because I did not have to care for them 24/7. Many, many, years ago I thought it acceptable to smack my dog (a German Shepherd) on the back as part of discipline training. I understand much better now that both animals and children respond to positive reinforcement.

    I recall from childhood, mum chasing me around with a rolled up newspaper to thwack around my legs … which is why I probably though I could give my dog a thwack.

    How arrogant as a society, we have become, where apologies are considered a weakness, where the ability to step down from one’s lofty sense of superiority has all but disappeared.

    However, some of us learn … maybe there is hope …

  74. nonsibicunctis

    Don’t cover your eyes or switch off your screen, I’m not about to make another extensive comment.

    I just want to say, Mark, that my comments have been about the opinions that you have voiced and the actions you have referred to as valid.

    I did not mean to imply and don’t believe that you are a bad person, nor do I believe that you have ever intended to abuse your child or are a child abuser in that sense, any more than Adrianne, Kaye or Diannaart were intentional abusers in the incidents to which they refer.

    Unfortunately, a major impediment to serious and rational discussion is that, far too often, those involved cannot separate the issue from the person. This frequently results in name calling, creation of conflict, and exchanges that have little, if anything, to do with the issue but have become just exchanged insults.

    I hope that I didn’t descend to that level and if, at any point, you or others believe I did, I apologise.

    I am only too well aware that I am extremely passionate about my convictions and sometimes others can find that passion uncomfortable or see it as an example of ‘affected superiority’, ‘pomposity’ or the like. It isn’t. I have no designs on myself. In fact, I am only too well aware that after 70 odd years and all that I have experienced along the way, I know much about little and little about much or to quote Socrates: “The only thing I know is that I know nothing.”

    I am constantly nourished by most of what I read here and constantly learning as a result. Thank you Mark, for sharing your views and thank you to all for sharing theirs.

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