WELCOME TO THE BOOK’D OUT AUSTRALIA DAY BOOK GIVEAWAY BLOG HOP – a chance to win so many wonderful stories written by Australian authors as we celebrate our day.
Happy Australia Day, whatever that means to you!
In a recent blog post at Ausromtoday I was asked what was the best thing about being an Aussie. My answer was that we live in the most spectacular country and enjoy unparalleled privilege and freedom. But it made me contemplate the diversity of our country and the tolerance we show to each other. Wave after wave of migration has added to the existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population in Australia, starting with those English folk forced to sail a very long way to be here. (The NSW Migration Heritage Centre has a fascinating article on Australia’s migration history.)
Next time you’re out with friends consider how many of you were born in Australia. For me it’s not uncommon to realise there’s only one or two in the group who can claim Australia as a birth place. I was born in Canada (although Mum and Dad are Australian born themselves and I grew up in Australia), Capt G is English, and we have good friends born in the UK, Fiji, Thailand, USA, New Zealand, Italy, Ireland and Germany. We all consider ourselves to be Australian and it underscores the fact that Australia’s strength is in its diversity and in people’s willingness to accept others at face value, without the stereotypes.
Tragedies like the siege in Sydney could all so easily have turned into a hate filled war of recriminations. Instead it delivered something much more powerful and simple – the social media campaign ‘I’ll ride with you’. It’s easy to judge someone on their clothing yet I remember so many of the grandmothers of the kids I went to school with wearing scarves and being dressed head to toe in black. No one remarked on it and no one minded. It was their culture and that was that. And on that note, congratulations to Jamal Rifi on being named Australian of the Year by The Australian newspaper. He’s a tireless campaigner for cooperation and collaboration between his community and others.
So vive la difference, I say. Embrace the wonderful cuisines, the languages, the stories and the traditions of all the cultures that fill our wide brown land. We may see ourselves as sun bronzed Aussies comfortable on surfboards, horseback or scoring runs at cricket, but the reality is a whole lot more interesting than that!
I’d love to know where you’re from and if you identify most strongly with the country you live in, whether that’s Australia or not, or whether somewhere else on the planet is more important. Leave a comment here or email me via the contact form to go into the running for a signed copy of SAFE HARBOUR or an ebook if you live overseas. And check out the rest of the blogs on the BOOK’D OUT AUSTRALIA DAY BOOK GIVEAWAY BLOG HOP for more chances to win wonderful Australian stories!
(Entry for paperback is open to Australian residents only. The ebook voucher will be sent to the overseas winner. Giveaway closes midnight Tuesday 27th January and the winner will be announced here on Wednesday 28th January.)