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Australian Day Public Debate: Response Research Assessment Answer

Scenario - Public Response Research

Context Statement

Social tensions are rising in your local area, in response to recent clashes over whether celebrations should be held to mark Australia Day on January 26, in your area and more generally. You are employed by a local councillor, Harriet Lee, who has been asked to chair a meeting of community groups to discuss the issue. It has been hoped that this would be a peaceful and constructive meeting, and it is anticipated that most who attend will do so in good faith, but recently, two local lobby groups on opposing sides of this debate (‘Change for our future’ and ‘Pride in Australia’) have been distributing leaflets in the area and agitating on social media to push for protests at the meeting, encouraging their supporters to engage in demonstrations to disrupt proceedings and prevent their opponents from speaking. Both groups have been distributing their arguments widely, and Lee is concerned that they appear unwilling to consider their opponents’ perspectives.

Your Task

You have been asked by Councillor Lee to analyse the arguments these groups are presenting in the leaflets they have been distributing, and provide her with a clear understanding of their claims, and guidance on how it would be best to respond to facilitate a constructive and respectful discussion.

Resources : - You have been provided with a dossier of relevant material (the leaflets are below, others are available in iLearn). It contains:

  • A copy of the ‘Change for our future’ leaflet
  • A copy of ‘Pride in Australia’ leaflet
  • A copy of recent polls cited in their arguments in support of their positions
  • A collection of possibly useful material gathered by one of our junior researchers ( Feel free to use other materials, if you wish, but this should be enough to give you some relevant background – You should mainly be focussing on the arguments contained in the leaflets).

What you need to provide

Councillor Lee thinks this meeting may have significant consequences for the peace of the community, and wants as much supporting information as possible. What she really wants from you is to know what the strengths and weaknesses of each side’s arguments are. She is keen to know if there are any fallacious arguments or misleading rhetoric that she might point out to counter the claims made in the leaflets. She is also interested in their use of the surveys they cite. On the

more positive side, she is looking to see if there is any common ground between the opposing sides, and whether there is any way she can encourage a constructive and respectful debate, to move forward as a community.

With all that in mind, then, here's what you need to deliver to Councillor Lee:

  • A standardisation of the argument used in the ‘Change for our future’ leaflet.
  • A standardisation of the argument used in the ‘Pride in Australia’ leaflet.
  • An analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the arguments, as you've standardised them. (approx. 600-850 words on each argument). You should consider the strength of the inferences, any fallacies, their use of the polls they cite and the authors’ use of language and rhetoric.
  • A one page (approx. 300 word) "recommendation" briefing. What points should Councillor Lee emphasise in her response to the arguments? What points should she make the focus of her own positive response at the meeting? How can she best encourage a respectful and constructive debate?

(Note that the suggested breakdown of words for each section is only a suggestion, but you should write 1500-2000 words overall, not including your standardisations).

LEAFLET 1 – distributed by Change for our Future

IT’S TIME FOR CHANGE!

Each year dawns with a cry from across the nation for a new national day of celebration, and yet until now our so-called leaders have never responded to the public will. We’ve now reached a point, though, that the people will no longer be silenced. We need to release ourselves from the shackles of our racist past and give up on “Australia Day”, finding instead a new, unifying day of national celebration.

Why do we need this change so desperately?

For a start, many Australians find the celebration of January 26 deeply offensive. For many Indigenous Australians, the celebration of the British invasion is a painful reminder of Australia’s tainted history and the ongoing lack of recognition afforded to the original owners of this land. This view is also widely shared by other Australians, including one Socialist Alliance councillor in Melbourne who recently likened the celebration of January 26 to a celebration of the Nazi Holocaust, in defence of her own council’s rejection of these outdated practices.

January 26 is also irrelevant to who we are now as a nation. Australia has a broad multicultural population, our citizens having come to Australia from all points of the globe, so British settlement is simply irrelevant to modern Australia.

It has also become clear that the celebration of January 26 has no significant popular backing. Recent research has shown that support for that day as our national holiday is now minimal. A nationwide representative poll conducted by Research Now and released in January by the Australia Institute found that most people don’t even know what January 26 commemorates, and they just don’t care.

So why do we continue with this inappropriate celebration, favoured only by the racist and the ignorant? It’s offensive, irrelevant and unpopular and it’s holding us back as a nation.


LEAFLET 2 – distributed by ‘Pride in Australia’

PRIDE IN AUSTRALIA, PRIDE IN AUSTRALIA DAY

Fellow Australians, we urge you to be strong and keep faith in Australia Day, and maintain the proud tradition of our national day of celebration.

If you listened to the left-leaning media outlets (and we all know that means most of them), you’d think that there was widespread support for forsaking our proud national day, Australia Day, but recent research reveals the truth. Support for change is fake news, popularised by a noisy minority who are intent on undermining our national identity and culture.

What evidence is there of this leftist conspiracy, you might ask? A recent nation-wide survey released by the Institute for Public Affairs, found that 70% of our fellow Australians want those pushing for change to stop interfering and leave Australia Day exactly as it is. The fact that the left keep pushing for change as though it had popular support just shows that these professional trouble-makers are out of touch with real Australians, and are trying to change our great nation for their own purposes, to meet their own agendas.

And make no mistake, once they have their way on Australia Day, this won’t be the end of it. Soon we’ll be unable to commemorate ANZAC Day, unable to salute the Australian flag, unable to publicly identify ourselves as Australians without fear of causing offence and being called bigots. The evidence that this is where we’re heading is clear, since we’ve already started seeing similar groups to those complaining about Australia Day trying to change the flag, and disrespecting ANZAC Day.

Something else you may not have considered is that this isn’t really just about changing our national holiday – It’s about terminating it! No-one agitating for change has any clear ideas about when we should hold Australia Day. One recent survey released by the leftist radicals at the Australia Institute made all sorts of clueless suggestions about what day might be appropriate. One of the suggestions was “The day we became a Republic” as a good day to for our national holiday! Wake up, people! We’re not a Republic! What this means is that if we lose January 26, we lose our national holiday altogether. Most of the people calling for change probably don’t have jobs anyway, but don’t those of us who are working for the good of our nation deserve a day off to celebrate Australia?

We all want what’s best for the unity of Australia. Don’t be afraid to stand up to the politically correct elite: It’s time to end this divisive debate and go back to celebrating Australia Day proudly like our fathers and forefathers did.

Answer

AUSTRALIAN DAY DEBATE

Introduction

Every Year people from all over the Australia come together to celebrate the Australian Day on January 26th. This day marks the arrival of Captain Arthur Phillip at Port Jackson, New South Wales. He then raised the Union Jack and part of Australian Continent was proclaimed by British Sovereignty. It was earlier used to known as Foundation Day, Anniversary Day and many other but in 1934, it was named as Australian Day and in 1994, all the states and territories accepted this day as Australian Day and declared as Australian official national holiday. But over the years many protesters have come around and controversies have been raised regarding celebration of this day as national day. In this report, the point of view of each camp that is “Change for our Future” and “Pride in Australia” would be put forward. Analysis of each side would be done along with its strengths and weaknesses. 

Standardized Statement of Arguments put up by “Change for our future” supporters

  1. This day reminds the indigenous people of invasion by British fleet.

  2. There is still no recognition that they are the original owners of the land. 
  3. Even other Australians also share the indigenous Australian offensiveness for the date.
  4. One socialist Alliance councillor in Melbourne said it is just like Nazi holocaust.
  5. There are reasons to give up on Australia Day a s it is offensive to the indigenous Australians.
    1. citizens of Australia have come from different part s of world.
    2. This has made Australia multicultural.
  6. January 26th is irrelevant to the modern Australia.
    1. There is minimum support for 26th January as National Day.3.2
    2. Polls done nationwide by Research now and report by Australia Institute indicates citizens do not have any idea why this day is celebrated and they do not care as well.
  7. Australia day is no support or backing by citizens.

C: people in Australia want to give up on Australia Day and want some other day to celebrate as national day which is not controversial.

Standardized Statement of Arguments put up by “Pride in Australia” supporters

1.1 There is support to forsake the Australia day as national day by left leaning media outlets.

 1.2 But researches have proved this news fake and is spread by some minor group who tarnish the identity and culture of Australia.

1) Fake news from some protesters against Australian days misleading people in thinking that citizens do not want Australia Day.

2.1 70% Australian want protesters to leave Australia Day as it is and not to interfere says a survey done by Institute of Public Affairs.

2.2 The Survey proofs that left is pushing for change for their own ulterior motives and agendas and are not in touch with real Australians.

2) Nationwide survey proves the conspiracy by left to push the change of Australia Day.

3.1 the protesters would not stop with only protesting against Australia Day but then will protest against Anzac Day, Australian Flag, Australian citizens.

3.2 There would be fear among citizens for being identified as Australian citizens. 

3) There is already protest against Anzac Day and support for change of Flag.

4.1 no on has clear alternative dates for Australian Day.

4.2 People are making clueless suggestion for change of date like date should be when Australia became Republic whereas Australia is not a republic.

4.3 People who are working for the good needs an official day to celebrate the national day.

4) People opposing Australia Day just don’t want thedate to be changed but to terminate it altogether.

C: There should be no debate for changing the date of Australian Day but citizens should be proud of it and keep faith in Australia Day.

Strengths and Weaknesses for “Change for our future” supporters

MAIN ARGUMENT: For many indigenous and aboriginal Australians 26th January brought not the feeling of pride but painful memory tainted by the arrival of British colonies on their soil, loss of their land, culture and people. Also Since, Australians have population from all over the world, so why to celebrate British invasion so much. So all the Aboriginal and indigenous people along with the other support the idea of changing the date of Australian Day.

It brings along with it the sad memory of their ancestors, their lands, their culture and the people they have lost because of colonization, murders, massacres and diseases Britishers brought. The British person when first came to this place announced it as uninhabited even when large population of the indigenous was living here. These people attacked and killed ten of thousands of people, many by disease and many by starvation. The land was lost, societies were lost, culture was lost and more importantly the pride of those people lost. Because of this reason indigenous people have start calling this day as “Mourning day” and “Invasion Day”. In 1938, hundreds of Indigenous Australian for the first time marched to protest against this date being the national holiday. Over the years this protest has grown to large scale with 1 lac people marching to protest in 2018. The number of protesters are supposed to increase in 2019. According to the leaflet distributed by the protesters group it is very painful for indigenous people to keep reminding them every year of their loss. 

According to the media which was cited in the leaflets, 70 % Australian are ok with the 26th January as their National day and do not want to change the date. The poll cited in the leaflet about Research Now was done with 1000 Australians. 70% believe that date not be moved while only 11% wanted it to move. 23% Australians wanted that citizenship ceremonies should not be held on 26th January but 50 % were of opinion that it should be on National Day. &6% of Australians were proud of their history while 9% were not proud of what Australians have gone through. 3% Australians were not even proud of being Australians while 87% were proud.

From the reports of polls, it has been concluded that the leaflet distributed by the change supporters made the false statements about polls that most Australians want the date to be change. 

According to the polls it was not people who want the date to be changed but the politicians who for their own benefits wants to divide people instead of uniting them. It was found that most Australians are not ashamed of their foundation and want it to celebrate. 76 % Australians are even proud of history and does not support the negative rhetoric. It was found that on the contrary to the leaflet most of the Australians are proud of being Australian, the Australian day, Australian history and want to celebrate this day. 

The Strengths of the protest lies in the fact that 26th January kind of symbolize the historical baggage and why to carry baggage if you can leave it by changing the date. Another point being that it is unfair to hurt the feelings of indigenous and aboriginal Australians who are the first bearers of this great nation. The society of indigenous Australians have now become less stable in society, more prone to diseases, does not feel safe, does not given opportunities in jobs and other areas and does not held high regards from other modern people of Australia. Because they have been through so much struggles, they have kind of straggled behind. Also this day brins the division instead of unity among the population of Australia. The people are protesting and damaging the public property and image of Australia.

The weakness of the protest lies in the fact that most of the Australians does not care about it being the day of invasion. Only 38 % of Australians know the real reason of it being held on 26th January. Most of the Australians see this as national holiday and just want to relax with food, barbeque, music and dance. They want that Australia should have some day for celebration. According to them they understand and value British colonization because it brought the changes and moved Australia towards the Modern Australia which it is today. They treat it more like the late summer festival with concerts, competitions, barbeques and fireworks.

Also it should be noted that firstly, main reason of protest was invasion by captain Arthur on 26th January but in reality he landed between 18th to 20th January in Botany Bay. He then went to Sydney cave on 26th due to lack of fresh water at Botany Bay. So the actual date of invasion is between 18th and 20th January. Secondly, First Australia day was celebrated because after 1st world war country wanted the national identity.

Strengths and Weaknesses for “Pride in Australia” supporters

MAIN ARGUMENT : Much of the modern Australian generation, does not care about the invasion but the fact that it bought another culture and modernisation in Australia. The Australia day is the day for not to mourn but to feel proud of the culture, celebrate freedom and its people by enjoying, drinking beer, putting barbeques and dancing. Also, the people from the opposite side wants to change the date but they do not have any date in mind which could be announced as new Australia Day and in absence of that, this day might be lost altogether.

While many indigenous Australians are against the idea of national Australia Day being on the 26th January which coincide with the date of invasion by British colonies, most of the modern Australians do not have any problem with the date. Since people are protesting against 26th January, many Australians have come out in the support of this day. Due to the country being divided in two halves on the celebrations, the debate regarding the Australian Day is getting more and more complex day by day. People from both the groups are putting their opinions out in open and are becoming more and more vocal about the opinions. People who support the idea of Australian Day are more in the support of the modern Australia. The younger generation does not care about the fact that why this day is being celebrated. They are more concerned about it being a national day to celebrate the Australia as a nation. They want this day to give them certain identity of belonging to a specific country and culture. This day for them is more like the late summer festival than the solemn national day. They like this day to spend with their friends, go to beaches, arrange barbeques. Most people of this belief understands it as unifying celebration which unites people. Celebration of good fortune to be born in Australia, and celebration of values like democracy, independence, a fair go, mate ship and freedom.

For these people this day is about celebrating the achievements of the country and honour the people who contributed for the success of country. It is about the celebration of success, lifestyle, opportunities and how far they have come as a country. It is the day to celebrate the modern Australia.

Also the people who supports the change of the date has not come with a date which can be alternative 26th January because Australia does not have any founding moment. Some wants it on Aztac day but that is already a national holiday so no point of it being an Australian day too. The supporters of Pride in Australia also believe that it would lead to the termination or erosion of Australian Day altogether as no one has clear idea as when should it happen if not on 26th January.

According to the polls conducted by the Research Now and Media release, 68% Australians are proud to be Australian and 58% want Australia day to be celebrated with only 3 % who are strongly against the Australia day celebration. Only 3% were not proud of being Australians. 

The strengths of the support for Australia day lies in the fact that Australia does not have many national holidays and not one at all to celebrate all its culture, values and being one of the greatest nations. Aztac Day which is one of the national holiday is celebrated more because to acknowledge the war casualties than celebration. People need some day when they are particularly proud of being Australian. Secondly every country needs a day which can bring their people close because of the achievements and struggles it had, and 26th January can be one such day. Thirdly people from British settlement also brought with them new path for the modern Australia. This day also celebrates the contribution of all immigrants who helped to grow the country and reach where it is today. This day new citizenship is given in the ceremonies hence embracing the diverse culture into Australian culture which in turn enriches the country’s culture.

The weakness for the supporter’s claim is people are still hurting because of invasion. If you will not show empathy for your own people who are around from Last 60,000 year, how will you become unite, embrace new and modern road. It is known that aboriginal people never said no to any community from entering but because the invasion by British they lost everything.

Recommendations

From the analysis done by going through all the arguments from both side and considering each strengths and weaknesses, some recommendations are being made here which could help pacifying both the group. The first thing being informing both the groups about the issues and opportunities. It has been found that most of the people who participate in march just have a layer deep idea of issue and do not have all facts and figures. If they would be given all the facts and right information, there would be no doubt of changing some minds.

Secondly, it should be put forward that if a nation wants to develop, it should debate the history, look out all the pros and cons but it should never deny its history. Thirdly, it has been found out that people have the problem with the understanding of why its being celebrated. If one changes the meaning of why its celebrated and become more inclusive, people will understand and will start celebrating it as continent and entity in itself. Fourth, it is possible to look at good and bad simultaneously. Like one can mourn the bad decisions, terrible happenings while simultaneously celebrating the good aspects of being an Australian day. It should be like accepting both good and bad points of Australia. One can teach people to be more aware and safe from invaders and make smart decisions. 

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