Reflecting on our good fortune this Australia Day

The lead up to this year's Australia Day has been dominated by a question that seems to grow louder every year – is January 26 an appropriate day for our national celebration?

The arguments for and against have been widely canvassed, and we are not going to reprise them here or attempt to make a ruling one way or another.

What we are going to comment on is the vehemence of the debate. This year, this slow simmering argument seems to have become personal, and very loud. Nobody is sitting on the fence.

Some academics have pointed out that January 26 is not the actual date of the original landing by white men on Australia's shores, and that the first Australia Day, held during World War 1, was celebrated on July 30.

That aside, the passion behind the depth of attachment to Jan 26 has produced an outrage that anyone could suggest changing the tradition.

And this outrage, as much as our love for our country, is just so Australian.

At the heart of it, someone is trying to tell us what to do. It only takes a couple of shock jocks to brand proposals such as this as "politically correct” for many to turn against it en masse. 

Sadly, once this happens, many of us will simply dismiss the whole idea and stop thinking about it in any depth.

Viewed at arm's length, the argument becomes less and less about the actual date than a rebellion against the rule of “if it ain’t broke don't fix it".

Australia Day, whatever the date, should be a day of celebration and joy.  

On Australia Day and ANZAC Day we hear a lot about “Aussie pride,” and so we should be proud of this beautiful country and all we have achieved. 

We live in peace and the vast majority of us have a comparatively comfortable lifestyle.  

But sometimes this national spirit spills over into a kind of personal pride, as though as individuals we have some entitlement to be here.  As though this is a right that we have earned.

Australia is often called the "Lucky country,” and lucky we are, to be here.  In a sense, we've won life's lottery.

Australia Day should be a day to express gratitude and appreciation for all this country has given us.

We can also celebrate the opportunities ahead to make this nation even greater.