Beers, booze and tunes, it’s got it all. Australia Day is the king of public holidays, holding a place in the calendar just after the silly season but not far enough away that your heightened tolerance has diminished in any way. There’s usually some zinc involved, a tattoo or two or other patriotic paraphernalia and an obligatory case of beer. It sounds like a true unabashed celebration of what we hold as Australian all to the dulcet tones of the Triple J Hottest 100.
But for the nation’s indigenous people the 26th January represents an invasion, the end of their culture as they knew it. Just how Australian is it for us to celebrate on such a controversial day? A petition this week has been gaining traction seeking to move the Triple J Hottest 100 to another day of the year, any day, out of respect for Indigenous people.
The movement started by Barred/Subjects a collective of thinkers from Hobart acknowledge that Australia Day itself is difficult
near impossible to move so instead are seeking to make incremental change. The petition reads “By changing the date of the Hottest 100 Countdown, Triple J can send a message to First Nations’ Peoples that they, and their experiences, are valued and respected by other Australians.” The goal is to put the petition before breaky hosts Matt and Alex in a push for change.
January 26th for the Nation’s First People is a little different to our booze up, instead it marks the colonisation by British settlers and stealing of land inhabited by the Aboriginal people. A Day of Mourning and Protest, Invasion Day and now Survival Day all labels ascribed by indigenous people seeking to tell their own story.
Well, have a look at Anzac Day, in the spirit of soldiers lost we toss coins and play trench games with a schooner in hand, it’s the Australian way.
Survival Day seeks to shake the paternal narrative of invasion day, instead asserting aboriginal culture, language and people are strong and proud. Andrew Brown noted on the petition page “I’m aboriginal and would like to see Australia day enshrined as the day of Federation.”
Other nations celebrate their national day on the day of federation and for Australia that’s January 1st 1901. Even with New Years taking valuable real estate in the holiday allocation, celebrating in the way we do on Australia Day as bogans unleashed, moving fridge to fridge or bar to bar in search of the next tinnie, is contentious when the day’s history is considered.
It would be considered rude, disrespectful, ignorant to celebrate on a day of remembrance right? Well, have a look at Anzac Day, in the spirit of soldiers lost we toss coins and play trench games with a schooner in hand, it’s the Australian way. The dawn service a small solace in a day cherished as a long weekend escape from work rather than a herald of heroic efforts.
The Presets shared an open letter before this year’s’ celebration addressing the contentious issue and boycotting the day themselves, they noted “Out of all the days of the year that we could possibly choose to celebrate this wonderful nation of Australia, we think it’s frankly sickening that we continue to celebrate on this cruellest of anniversaries, January 26… a new day is chosen to celebrate our great nation – a day that we can all truly get behind”.
So just what date would work as a symbol of inclusive and multicultural Australia? Perhaps 13th February the day of apology to the aboriginal people, 27th May the date of the referendum which included Aboriginal people in their own nation, 3rd June a day marking Eddie Mabo’s heroic work in taking back his dispossessed land or 21st March on which Australian’s already celebrate Harmony Day and herald difference in our community.
More than 1 million votes are cast in the Hottest 100, with many more listening eagerly as the results roll in. Picking your favourites and curating your entry as if a musical connoisseur and screaming vibrantly when one of your picks were robbed of a Top 10 spot. What was your one that got away? Was it You Were Right by RÜFÜS last year, Kick, Push by Lupe Fiasco in 2006, Shake it Out by Florence and her wonderful Machine in 2011.
The Hottest 100 is a nostalgic miracle capturing a year and all it’s wonder in one little cache of sounds, a time capsule of sound. For a poll so revered it should be a held on a day where all can participate fervently and revel in it’s eclectic magic.
Image source: ABC Press