On the eve of the festive season, Multicultural Affairs Minister Gary Hardgrave has called on schools and kindergartens to set up nativity scenes, throw Christmas parties and remember the story of the birth of Christ.
Now, I can understand what he's saying; of course traditions should be allowed to continue. I don't follow a religion, but I wouldn't want to stop others from holding onto their beliefs and celebrating them. And we shouldn't be shying away from certain traditions just because they are Christian and we fear others may be offended.
What I found interesting, particularly coming from the minister for multiculturalism, is that he is showing a preference for one religion over another. Sure, Christianity is the largest religion in Australia, but is it really right for the Government to favour one over another?
"We have an opportunity to learn from the cultures they brought to Australia.
"But we were here first, our framework was in place because of all of the efforts of previous generations. Our framework is what made it possible for all those people to come, and we should never be afraid of it."
We were here first, eh? I guess the Koori population is such a small percentage of the whole that we don't have to remember them anymore... The phrase "we were here first" just sounds to me like something you'd hear in the playground.
A Google News search shows that this is the only time he's said anything that has made it into the news. Good first try, mate! ;-)
To be fair, I guess I should link to his media release, which doesn't have quite the same spin as the newspaper articles or this post...