I am a bit behind the times in catching up with Di’s Truthful Tuesday post but here goes.
My question today is about tradition.
The world watched our Queen’s funeral yesterday and throughout the country’s state of mourning, there have been some protests and comments against the monarchy.
I am not asking my overseas readers how you feel about the British Monarchy, but how you feel about your own country’s traditions and customs.
Do you think they still hold a place in modern times?
I was born British although I’ve lived almost my entire life in Australia so I’ll attempt to address both the monarchy issue and some Australian traditions.
I know that there were protests in Britain, as there were here in Australia too. Many people feel that the monarchy is outdated and many Australians feel that we should be a republic. That may happen, maybe even in my lifetime. I always said that I hoped it would not happen while the Queen was alive.
Australia is an independent nation and although the queen, sorry, king of England is our head of state they don’t really play much of a role in how Australia is governed. I would be sad to see those ties severed and I would only be in favour of a republic if a better model for it was found than the last time that we had a referendum on the subject (1999). I don’t really see the point of replacing the monarch with an appointed President and I’m not sure that doing away with the Westminster system and electing one by popular vote would be ideal either. It certainly hasn’t worked well for some other countries. I’d rather stick with tradition and a Governor General for now.
January 26th being celebrated as Australia Day.
This holiday was chosen to celebrate the arrival of The First Fleet in Sydney Cove. Many Australians feel that it is not appropriate to celebrate British colonialism and that it is offensive to indigenous people who had their land stolen. According to the British, Australia was “Terra Nullius”, land that belonged to no-one. I can understand why they feel the way they do.
I do think that we should have a national holiday to celebrate the good things about Australia but I’m coming to the conclusion that perhaps it ought not be that particular date.
Celebrating ANZAC Day had become a huge event up until Covid. I’m not sure what will happen in the future as most of the veterans of the two world wars are gone now. I don’t think of it as a day to glorify war but to remember those who served and those who didn’t come home. I hope that we’ll continue to hold Dawn Service, not only in the big cities but all over the country and that veterans or their children will continue to march in their honour.
Melbourne Cup Day
This is another one that I have changed my mind about over the years. The Melbourne Cup is known as “the race that stops a nation”. Even people who are not normally interested in horse racing would take part in an office sweep, maybe place a bet or two, dress up to go to a Melbourne Cup lunch or at least stop what they were doing to watch the race, most workplaces are fine with employees stopping for ten minutes and will make sure there is a TV available.
I used to do those things too. Over time I paid less attention but didn’t actively dislike the event. These days I feel that horse racing is a cruel industry and I don’t want to support it by betting. I would be a hypocrite to take part in the other events now so I don’t. It’s too upsetting to watch the race knowing that at least one horse will probably fall and be put down during course of the day’s racing.