Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Are We the Greatest Nation?

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Are We the Greatest Nation?

Article excerpt

IS AUSTRALIA the greatest nation on earth? I think we could be.

I'll explain how I came to this conclusion.

I've always struggled when I've heard people say, "We are the greatest country to live in on Earth." Not because of some self-loathing or cultural cringe, but because for the largest part of my life I've never really lived anywhere else.

Uncle Darby McCarthy, local Aboriginal elder, who will be publically recognised for his contribution to our community today often says, "We are a young nation, we are still in nappies."

Despite this youth as a national community I have observed a willingness to look at ourselves in the mirror. To recognise our strengths as a nation and to also see the "shadow sides''. To focus on things we can do to become even better.

Last year's Australian of the Year Rosie Batty helped to shine the spotlight on the scourge that is violence in the home, especially against women and children. The Toowoomba Says No to Violence campaign will continue this valuable work throughout 2016. The 2014 Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes, helped us to look more closely at the painful reality of the situation for our First Peoples.

The cartoon in yesterday's paper demonstrates the difficulty a significant part of our community has with the date we choose to celebrate the great things about our country.

And yet, the Darby McCarthys of the world are bigger than that. "Our black and white babies will sort out this racism stuff," he says, "So let's get on with it and walk forward together."

Darby is willing to "move on" but he can never forget the past, and neither should we. His grandfather was shot dead by men on horseback on Forestvale Station in the 1900s. His father died in a prison cell in Brisbane, one of our first recorded deaths in custody in the 1960s.

His family history is replicated across the continent. …

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