The manifest destiny of Australia, all glory be to us!

Ross Cameron, former Liberal MP for Parramatta, who left politics in 2004 after his infidelities prompted some questions about his “family values” platform, was waxing lyrically about Australia today on the eve of Australia Day. Some of my personal favourites:

“In my view, Australia has been on the right side of history in every war.”

Cough, cough, Vietnam, cough, Iraq weapons of mass destruction, cough. Sorry, something just went down the wrong way.

“Australia has been honoured with more World Natural Heritage sites than any nation” and “and the Great Barrier Reef easily wins the battle of the coral seas” … but wait for the whiplash … “Even if, in some mass panic or delusion, we elected an old-style Labor leftie or Green as prime minister, it is hard to see the Australian juggernaut being diverted.”

I’m feeling giddy just reading this. Since we’re extolling everything we excel at, maybe Ross should mention our extinction rate? It’s world class too!

“The great blemish of our story is frontier killing of the first Australians and the subsequent failure to produce Aboriginal communities that work in a modern world. But it’s not all failure. When the US was tearing itself apart in the civil rights movement, Australians voted 91 per cent to extend legal equality to Aborigines.”

Of course, it took the ousting of Ross’ government for Australia to say sorry. Not that we need to crack out the black armbands. After all, the blemish is in the dim dark past now isn’t it?

As much as I love the land where I live, let’s be honest, sometimes even the best “juggernauts” can roll over people.

3 thoughts on “The manifest destiny of Australia, all glory be to us!

  1. Interstingly America’s notion of `manifest destiny’ led to almost successful the genocide of indigenous people there in the name of “progress”.
    It is also a religious term often credited to James L. O’Sullivan, which Sioux leader Richard Twiss says was intended to signify the mission of the US: “to overspread the continent by providence for the free development of our yearly multgiplying millions” (citing O’Sullivan).
    It was part of Protestant American presumptiveness which religiously justified expansionism into the American interior, despite its huge cost to the original inhabitants.
    I think the same applied in terms of British Imperial colonising of Aboriginal lands.
    It interesting how religiously coined terminology was used in the past to justify the ripping off of indigenous people in the name of economic and cultural
    Twiss does a good essay on this subject in Brian McLaren & Elisa Padilla, The Justice Project (eds) in his article “reading The Bible Justly” (2009) p. 67-73.


  2. Well, yeah, that’s the thing with juggernauts. They’re specifically design to roll over anything in its path and crush it all. Why anyone would consider this a good metaphor for a nation in this day and age escapes me.
    Of course, there’s just one thing I’d like to say to Mr. Cameron: Congratulations! You think you’ve made it to the top. And perhaps you have. Now get ready for the realization that all of us who make it to the top have to face someday. There’s only one direction to go from here.


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