With the calendar approaching late January, once again those on the right-hand side of the political spectrum are getting foamy at the mouth over the prospect of people telling them that January 26th might have a deliberately buried significance for First Nation’s people that could and definitely should supersede any Australia Day-related brouhaha or ballyhoo. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has used what little time he has left in the office to force local councils to host Citizenship Ceremonies on the day by Royal Ocker Decree or whatever. And now opposition leader Bill Shorten has waded into the debate by throwing his hands up and asserting quite sternly that he wishes the debate would just… kinda… go away.
While Morrison is enforcing Citizenship Ceremonies with a truly bizarre dress code which includes a ban on board shorts and thongs (?????) because Australia is apparently the town from Footloose now, on the other side Greens leader Senator Richard Di Natale has offered to hold citizenship ceremonies on behalf of any council brave enough to defy the federal edict.
Today, Shorten exercised a fairly textbook piece of civil centric both sidesism by asserting that the whole debate is just a bit bloody tiring and why can’t we just get on with it and so on.
Speaking to media, Shorten confirmed that Australia Day would remain on January 26 under any future Labor Government, and expressed a desire for the Greens and right-wing agitators to be locked in a room together so they can just sort their shit out.
I’m not going to get distracted by that – the Greens can say or do what they want – Labor is not going to go down that path. We’re not going to have big political debates about the day of Australia Day.
Some days I’d like to put the Greens with Tony Abbott and a few of the right-wing in the Liberal Party in the same room, tell them to sort it out, and the rest of us can just get on and cook a snag on the barbie.
Doubling down on that, Shorten stated he didn’t want to play “Fashion Police” on citizenship ceremonies, again wishing we all could bloody well forget about this “Change The Date” nonsense and just get along.
I don’t want to be the ‘Fashion Police’ telling people what they can wear at citizenship ceremonies. I just think we ought to leave the politics alone, catch up with our family and friends, and on Australia Day, my wish is for all Australians just to realise what a great country we live in.
Incredibly deft bit of fence sitting there. You almost gotta respect it.
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Image: Getty Images / Stefan Postles