The Bug listened with interest the other day when Prime Minister Scott Morrison tried to explain that his earlier comment about 26 January 1788 not being “a flash day” for those on the First Fleet vessels was not meant to draw a comparison with the experience of indigenous Australians. He stressed that Australia Day on Tuesday should celebrate the nation as one having “more than 25 million stories”. He said: “All stories are important; all stories should be respected.” Inspired by these statesman-like comments by our great wartime leader and father of our nation, The Bug sent its reporters out into the field to collect some of those stories. We found them illuminating and we hope you do too.
Mahgrette-Ffaye McKenzie, three months, Mango Hill on Brisbane’s northside.
The Bug: What does Australia Day mean to you, Mahgrette-Faye?
Mother: She’s just had her bottle and if you wake her up so fucking help me….
The Bug: Perhaps we should come back tomorrow and get her comments then?
Father: I really do think you should leave right now.
Neve Simpson, 4 years, The Entrance, Victoria,
The Bug: That’s a pretty fairy dress. Are you going to wear that on Australia Day and if you do what will that mean to you?
Neve: I can sing Let It Go from Frozen if you like. I like that more than Frozen Heart.
The Bug: Maybe later, sweetie. Can you understand how some indigenous people could find Austra….
Neve: The snow glows white on the mount tonight
Not a footprint to be seen….
Aunty Pauline, of the One Nations people, from the remote Lockyer Valley community, south-east Qld
Aunty Pauline: As an indigenous Australian I welcome Scott Morrison’s comments. All stories matter just like all lives matter…..
The Bug: Sorry, but I didn’t catch those last few words because those dogs started barking.
Aunty Pauline: I said I welcome Scott Morrison’s comments. All stories matter just like all lives matter…..
The Bug: Nope. Didn’t catch it. Those dogs again. Let’s move on. Pardon for asking but you don’t look like an indigenous Australian.
Aunty Pauline: Excuse me! I beg your pardon. I am indigenous because I was born here. That was the meaning of “indigenous” when one of my staff used one of those things…. err, you know those paper things with pages….
The Bug: Book?
Aunty Pauline: Yes, but one with words in it from A to Z.
The Bug: Dictionary?
Aunty Pauline: Could’ve been Dick. I don’t remember his name for sure. But that was the definition I’ll have you know.
Jed and Jugg Canavan, twin brothers, 44 (age and IQ), North Gympie Canavan Park, Queensland.
The Bug: How do you guys plan to spend Australia Day?
Jed: Well, lucky for us that cunt Bill Shorten didn’t get in last election so we’ve still got our petrol and diesel four-wheel drives so we might get down to the coast near Tin Can Bay and hoon up and down the beach. Do some scrub bashing. Shoot up some signs.
Jugg: Imagine trying to do that in one of them expensive electric cars Shorten would have made us buy … gutless things couldn’t pull the skin of a custard pudding.
The Bug: Still, I guess that makes the day special in some way? Get to fly the Aussie flag out of your car windows?
Jed: Shit no. We do that every holiday. And weekends. Most days really. It’s not as if we’ve got work to go to or nuttin’.
Jugg: Don’t you reckon that Michaela Cash who came up these ways with ScoMo to warn us about Shorten’s ‘lectic cars is a bit of a hottie? Hey, your (sic) in the media so I’m guessin’ you might have her number. Shit, I wouldn’t mind giving her one.
Jed: I’d give her two if she aksed me nice enough!
Professor Henri Higgins, Department of Anthropology, Sydney University, NSW
Prof Higgins: I’ve been researching the life story of one of my own relatives, Aunty May from the remote Burrgut community in WA. Her kids were taken off her 65 years ago. She then worked as a cook and other domestic duties on a cattle station for years on little or no pay. Most of her siblings are long gone, having died 20 years earlier than the national average for whitefellas…
The Bug: Bloody hell Prof, lighten up will ya? As the PM said, Australia Day is when the heritage and experiences of all Australians should be valued and not become a source of competition. Each of the 25 million of us can trace our stories back into our own Australia, Indigenous Australia, First Nations Australia. All the stories are important. All stories should be respected. On Australia Day it is important to do that – understanding the loss, the gains, the successes, the failures, the hardships that were encountered. Australian stories are unique in this country.
They’re not competing with each other. They’re just part of who we are.
Prof Higgins: That cunt said that?
The Bug: ‘Fraid so.
Dame Alana Jones, housewife, Sydney, NSW
Dame Alana: As an unbiased citizen of this great nation I believe all stories do matter, as the PM says. Anyone who disagrees should be taken out to sea in a chaff bag and dropped overboard…..
The Bug: Hang on, isn’t that….
Dame Alana: …. and Scott Morrison should shove a sock down anyone’s throat who disagrees….
The Bug: But….
Dame Alana: Stop interrupting my story. Who do you think you are? If you don’t come to the party you should lose your job.