Mark Latham is known for his outlandish political statements and is always one to put his hat in the ring when it comes to debating a contentious issue.
His latest bugbear is Australia Day, and he’s laid into critics of it in a column in the Daily Telegraph today.
In recent years, some people have highlighted the fact that Australia Day is not a day of celebration to those of indigenous heritage, to whom it is a ‘day of invasion’.
Popular radio station Triple J recently announced that would hanging the day of its long-running Hottest 100 music countdown from the January 26 to January 27 out of respect for Aboriginal Australians. – a move that attracted a mixture of outrage and support from the community.
This division, Latham says, highlights the disconnect between what he calls the ‘PC-Brigade’ in Canberra and the battlers in the suburbs.
Whenever I see singing and dancing in Parliament House, Canberra, there’s one guarantee. Whatever they are singing and dancing about, hardly anyone in the suburbs will join in,” he pointed out.
“Since Thursday, that’s the way it’s been with same-sex marriage. At kids’ sporting events, a friend’s BBQ and talking to people on the main street of Camden, nobody seems to give two hoots about this legislative change.”
Latham writes that Australia Day is meant to be a day of “singing, dancing and pageantry” but believes the Australian spirit has been lost, with the event now focused on highly politicised issues.
“Last week in the Senate, the Greens moved a motion for changing the date of Australia Day. The Greens whip Rachel Siewert told the chamber: ‘We know the date will change, it’s a question of when’.
“Not where I come from. The only question in Camden is how big the crowds will be in six weeks’ time as we celebrate our national day,” he said.
Latham believes there is no shame and disrespect in saying that European settlement made Australia a better nation and notes that “while mistakes were made in the 19th and early 20th centuries, Australians are now united in wanting equal opportunities for the first peoples of this continent.”
To combat what Latham calls the “left’s madness” he has organised a ‘Save Australia Day Campaign’ through his independent website Outsiders.
“Not our history, our monuments, our culture, our values. It’s vital to Save Australia Day,” he reckons.