In a positive move, public radio station Triple J recently changed the date of their ‘Hottest 100’ broadcast. Usually held on January 26, the station bent to pressure and moved the countdown so that it wouldn’t be associated with Australia Day. 60% of Triple J listeners were in favour of the change.
Australia Day, or Invasion Day as it is known to indigenous people, marks the day the British established a colony on this land. What followed, in addition to the theft of land, was a long period of violence and genocide levelled at indigenous people.
Recent years have seen the emergence of a public debate about the appropriateness of celebrating Australia Day. This has come about as people can see that things are not improving for Aboriginal people. They suffer ongoing oppression and disproportionate inequality being reflected in premature mortality rates, high levels of incarceration and suicide rates much higher than the national average.
The Coalition government condemned Triple J for its decision in an attempt to polarise people and entrench nationalism. Their strategy is to divert attention from their agenda of slashing services and cutting corporate tax rates, while also seeking to divide and rule.
In the service of government, the commercial radio station Triple M has opportunistically claimed that it will hold its own top 100 countdown on January 26. This move was condemned by many including Triple M’s own breakfast host Wil Anderson.
While only a minor gesture, the pressure exerted on Triple J shows that support for Aboriginal rights is growing.
This support needs to be harnessed so that we can win real gains for indigenous people. There is more than enough wealth in this country to ensure everyone has a decent standard of living. We need to resist the government’s attempts to divide us and unite all oppressed and exploited people in a fight to take that wealth off the tiny minority who profit at our expense.
By Socialist Party reporters