Australian of the Year a positive step
The announcement that Aussie Rules footballer, Adam Goodes, is this year’s Australian of the Year is welcomed. We have had elite Aboriginal sportspeople in the role before, including Evonne Goolagong and Lionel Rose, but Adam Goodes is not just a footballer, he has already achieved much in the dignified way he has addressed the issue of racism in Australia. Hopefully he will inspire sports fans and others to join the journey towards reconciliation.
For example, the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, is likely to introduce draft changes to the Constitution by the end of the year which will finally recognise that Australia did exist prior to European settlement in 1788. Adam Goodes should be an excellent advocate on this issue to ensure all elements of racism are removed from the constitution.
He may also change some attitudes to Australia Day. Choosing January 26th, the date of European settlement, was an insult to Aboriginal people. Many people don’t celebrate our national day because of this.
Perhaps people like Adam Goodes are telling us that we can make the present Australia Day date work provided we start celebrating all our history, not just the last 220 years.