Letters to the editor

January 23, 2018

Prickly pest

- Terry Court, Tatura

Caltrop (bindii) is out of control again in Tatura and right across the municipality.

It is a blight on our community.

If you see bindii, report the location of the infestation to the council by going online or phoning 58329700 and they will get rid of it.

Hopefully, council is recording all locations so they can do spraying in the reported locations many times in the future because the seed lasts for more than 10 years.

Date debate

- Bill Brown, Shepparton

Australia Day is to be celebrated this week on Friday, January 26.

Once again there appears to be unrest over this date because, it represents, not one, but two significant events in our history.

The first was the landing of the First Fleet in Botany Bay on January 26, 1788, thus establishing our first settlement of convicts and their warders (a bit like Manus Island?).

The second event was the invasion, and subsequent subjugation, of the indigenous population.

However, this ‘‘invasion’’ was denied because this new land was declared to be ‘‘terra nullius’’ meaning that it was unoccupied by human beings.

Since that time the descendants of those non-existent human beings have refused to accept, and rightly so, that January 26 is a day for celebration.

Politicians love to defend the Australia Day date because it is a day that ‘‘unifies’’ us. Excuse me, but how?

The status of Australia Day has only recently (1994) been settled. 1930 was the year that a real effort was made to establish Australia Day, but it was organised so that it was celebrated on the nearest Monday to January 26 (we love our long weekends).

We managed to meander through the subsequent 64 years without always celebrating on January 26, so why are we so ‘‘hung up’’ on that date now?

I have been attending the Shepparton celebrations in Queens Gardens for many years and this always reminds me how important this day is to our citizens when we can only muster 300 to 400 of Shepparton’s 30000-plus citizens.

I remind readers that our head of government, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, was born on April 21, 1926, but we celebrate her birthday on the second Monday in June (note, not even a firm date). Could someone please explain?

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