My wish list for this 26 January 2018. (We will never achieve what we can’t first imagine.)
1. That every Australian – from wherever they come – discovers with interest, enthusiasm and pride how much there is to learn from the breathtakingly ancient, subtle, unifying cultures of Indigenous Australia.
2. That every Indigenous person experiences the honouring of their original culture AND their unique place in our shared culture of today.
3. That we introduce into daily life Indigenous customs that our First Peoples are willing to share> NZ/Aoteoroa gives us the most wonderful example. Everyone benefits. Let us know and be moved by the profound generosity expressed with “Welcome to Country”: welcome to this land, this day, this future. Welcome to all. Let us live that.
4. That we learn to regard this physical continent – earth, oceans, rivers, air – with awe, tending it, harnessing and SHARING its gifts, watering and renewing it. And that we cease plundering, devastating and mining it for crass and temporary profits. The land, air, seas is “ours” for a moment only. What we truly love, we will always protect.
5. That each and every one of us will leave this physical place and this national community better off for having passed through it. Your contribution counts.
6. That we face the history of colonialism, imperialism and racism with new honesty. Some of us have benefited disproportionately from this history; some of us have suffered terribly. Racism continues to drive so much public policy and public and private conversations in Australia. So many groups are carelessly and constantly disrespected. Let’s name that, acknowledge the devastation, and rise far above it.
7. That we make all our policies, our big decisions and small, thinking first of the children and young adults in our nation. There can be no greater investment in the future than keeping our children safe and healthy, educating them to take their place in a fair, just, generous and joyful world – and actively, persistently creating that world for them.
8. That we would be noble, honest, generous GLOBAL citizens, while also deeply honouring the local and communal. Those impulses arise together. How we treat the most vulnerable will always mark us. How we grow in respect, compassion and thanksgiving will always liberate us.
(I want to give thanks today also for each and every person who does truly love this land and all its people without exception. May there be a renewed passion for life and peace in all hearts. May we look into each other’s eyes with unlimited respect.)
Rev Dr Stephanie Dowrick is a writer and Interfaith minister, born in NZ/Aotearoa. She has lived in five countries, and in Australia since 1983. You can “meet” her or leave comments on her public Facebook page.