Category Archives: australia

Don’t share needlers.

The tone of what passes for political discussion in Australia is, quite frankly, disgusting. It’s odious and we all should be ashamed.

Just a few remarks on the “commentators”, the people that are paid to express an opinion or two. The columnists who supposedly inform us of the issues of the general issues of the day, or week as the case may be.

To start with, that repugnant human being Howard Sattler. It wasn’t a mistake. It wasn’t unfortunate. He plotted and planned those questions, and his bosses should have known. He has form. But why should we be surprised by this? Controversy sells, and that’s what he was employed to do; spruik his kind of polarising bull shit. This time, shock-horror, he went too far. Crossed the line it seems, so an apology is issued. He isn’t sorry, though. He hasn’t apologised. He’s rubbing our faces in it by suing his employer for sacking him. He’s even stated for public consumption that given his time again he’d ask the same questions. He reminds us even now that the Prime Minister ought to have known what was coming. Presumably, in his befouled little mind, she deserved it. What a grub.

Then, as some sort of anything you can do, I can go lower duet, fellow abhorrent human being Piers Akerman pops up and repeats the same slurs. Quite rightly most of the nation simultaneously rolled their eyes, laughed with utter disbelief and expressed their outrage. And that would be that, except the ignominious buffoon decides that he’d better explain himself in his regular News Ltd column by blaming the ABC, Barrie Cassidy, Lenore Taylor, Malcolm Farr, Twitter and anyone with a shred of decency to call him out on his tactless, repellant aspersion.

Now you could be forgiven for thinking one (or two) swallows do not a summer make, but this a wave crest of in the lake of sewage, years in the making. It’s not simply a case of sexism against one woman and a disgraceful slur on her partner, it’s systemic racism, homophobia and xenophobia against all manner of people.

The worst aspect of this whole sorry mess is the inescapable reality that it’s our fault. You read correctly. It’s us who watches the tawdry mess on the evening news. It’s us who buys the newspapers. It’s us who subscribes to the online version of the newspapers. It’s a free country and you can read and watch what you like, but for chrissakes stop sharing the smeared faeces that passes as political analysis or opinion on your social media accounts. Instead of ignoring every one of these vile trolls, the nation is clicking on your shortened URLs, and editors then rub their hands together in Machiavellian delight because they can give their advertising clients hard numbers, advertising which pays for these vicious grubs and encourages them to churn out even more bigoted bile.

So stop it. If you really want to make a difference, if you really are so offended by a piece that these intolerant ogres write and think everyone else should read it, then take a screen capture and post that instead. Don’t give these bloody bastards the satisfaction of knowing they’re comfortable and safe, protected from the rage by the soft blankets of money that a few lazy clicks bring.

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Religion is a very serious business.

It’s not always easy being an atheist.  Too often I get caught in religious debates.  The same old stuff comes out; Pascal’s Wager1, Darwin didn’t prove life came from nothing, so evolution isn’t true2, our eyes are proof of intelligent design3, and so on it goes.  As an atheist, I’m not one to jump down believers’ throats and shout at them to tell them they are deluded.  It’s one of the fundamental human rights as laid down in Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; people have the right to observe their religion.

I don’t believe religion is intrinsically a rort. However I do believe it’s protected by the Law more than secular belief such as humanism and is easily corrupted.  Yes, believe in whichever deity you want and you should not be persecuted by the state for that belief.  I say “the state” because it’s perfectly reasonable for any individual to question the integrity of such a believer; if such a believer is honest with nothing to hide, then the answers should flow freely, as any statement of faith should.

Yet this isn’t what really happens.  The very well publicised Harold Camping said the rapture would occur on 21st of May 2011.  He was (not surprisingly) wrong, and not for the first time on this matter, either.  Conservative Christians in the US, UK and here in Australia oppose gay marriage using 2 common arguments as a basis; 1) it would undermine heterosexual marriage by removing rights from heterosexual marriages, and 2) the law (at least in Australia) defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.  Both these arguments are, to be fair, weak.

Now I wouldn’t personally mind this kind of debate if it were on a fair playing field.  Dare I suggest most religious conservatives believe it is, or if not it’s slanted in favour of the “homosexual agenda.”  If only it were!  Organised religion is exempt from discrimination laws; religious schools can expel students and sack teachers on the basis of being gay, pregnant and unwed, or even being nonbelievers of the school’s religion e.g. a Buddhist can be sacked in a Catholic school.  That wouldn’t be such a problem if governments didn’t give such schools no strings attached subsidies!

This is nothing short of hypocrisy.

For all that, my biggest beef is that religions don’t pay tax.  Religions hold the cards here, because in nearly all democratic nations, religions are exempt from paying tax.  They are assumed to be not-for-profit organisations.

(Now to be fair, most religious organisations are not-for-profit, but how do we know if the books are kept in secret, and religion is exempt from Freedom of Information laws?)

These exemptions have their basis in medieval law, when the church and state were cosy bedfellows.  The church even had powers to tax.  That may have changed since the French and American revolutions and the resultant separation of powers, but religion remains untouchable when it comes to tax. It’s unreasonable, and unjust.

To make things a little more fair, organised religions should be taxed like non-religious charities, trusts and companies.  If a registered religious group is truly not-for-profit, then nothing changes; they won’t pay tax.  If they do make profits, or accumulate wealth through property, gifts, bequeathments, grants and so forth, then they should have to declare their income, assets, fringe benefits, etc., and thus pay tax.  Like anyone else.  The same rules should apply equally to all.

To demonstrate the hypocrisy, the Church of Scientology was taken to task by a few individuals who believe the organisation is quackery and fraudulent, claiming that Scientology is not a religion but a philosophy.  This may be true, and as an atheist I have little doubt that the accusations are true.  However the means of attack against Scientology was about their tax status, not values or ideology.  The High Court of Australia ruled that Scientology is a religion and therefore exempt from being taxed.  Anyone can form a religion as long as there is a belief in a supernatural something, and cannons of conduct exist and are accepted by the believers.  That’s all.

I’m not going to try to figure out how much governments – and therefore citizens – miss out by religious organisations not paying any tax, but as a guestimate the figure would be in he order of $1 billion.

In the meanwhile, approximately $600 million is being spent by the Federal Gillard government to place chaplains in all schools; private religious and government secular alike.  The Victorian Baillieu government is injecting a further $200 million.  These chaplins aren’t allowed to teach or proselytise, so what is the point of them being there?  I can only see them as bargain basement counsellors with no qualifications at all other than to have a working with children check like this or this.  Seriously, no teaching, psychology or any tertiary qualifications are needed at all; equivalent experience is enough.  Far from being representative of the non-secular make-up of Australia, these chaplains are all Christian4.  It’d be interesting if an atheist was appointed as a school chaplain under the NSCP.

Is it not galling enough that that secular entities don’t pay tax and yet many are given government grants, or paid contracts to provide essential services?  How is it fair that a church can “syphon” off funds from government to build a chapel instead of, say, a computer lab for students?  How is it fair that an organisation like The Salvation Army can purchase a vehicle tax free to provide for a Salvation Officer or employee in lieu of income?  (In any other context this is seen as Fringe Benefits and is thus taxed.)  This is a double dip that no other business can get away with.

I specifically mention the Salvos because they have many government contracts to provide services to the community, such as employment and food, clothing and transport.  It goes without saying the Salvation Army don’t do it for nothing, but we won’t find out how much profit they earn from these deals because they are exempt from FOI because they are a contracted service provider (and a religion).

Why can’t a secular charity or organisation provide these services?  Well, some do, but without the tax breaks afforded to them that religious organisations automatically get, secular organisations aren’t competitive in a bidding process.

All this makes me uncomfortable.  I’m not suggesting all nonsecular organisations are corrupt, but they are certainly open to corruption and have more mechanisms at their disposal to cover up any corruption.  It’s difficult to prosecute when wrongdoing is exposed, too.  Such as when a private religious school principal and his brother were taken to trial for fraud, but they were acquitted on appeal despite the obvious rort.

It’s time to stop giving religious organisations a helping hand at becoming asset rich whilst they cry poor.  Praying should not be conceded to be a public service.  Religious charities should not be allowed to discriminate when they are contracted to provide a government service to all members of the community.  Most of all, it’s time for the books to be open and tax paid in the same way, under the same rules, that secular organisations have to.

1. Pascal’s Wager suggests it’s a good idea to “hedge one’s” bet and believe in God.  If God doesn’t exist, then no harm done.  This logic fails because there is more than one god.  Also, any god who chooses humans because of their gambling habits over their value as humans is vain and capricious and therefore not worth aspiring to be with.

2. Darwin’s seminal work On the Origin of Species isn’t about first life, rather how new species evolve from common ancestors by natural selection.  It’s not just an idea, but a testable theory with observable predictions, just like Einstein’s Theory of Relativity.  Further, debating anything in science using the premise “but x isn’t true” does not negate a theory in it’s entirety; just because science doesn’t explain everything doesn’t mean it can’t explain anything.

3. Human eyes are terrible at many things.  They aren’t like camera at all, and only a small part near the centre of the retina, near the blind spot, can detect colour.  Even then it’s not very good.  If the eye were designed, then the designer did less than a half-arsed job.

4. This blog here does an excellent job of dissecting chaplains in school, and why the commissioned report (which I linked here) for Access Ministries should be viewed as propaganda, or the very least, extremely subjective and biased.  Not one acceptable metric was used.

>The Twitterati and Scruff – I mean Stuff

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Funny how life never turns out as planned, and sometimes I’m happy it doesn’t.
Firstly a big shout out to the Twitterati.  Without Twitter, I’m not sure where I’d be right now.  The story is simple enough; for reasons beyond my control I had less than a week to move on from the temporary stay I had.  So a plea of help resulted in a wave of retreating.  The generosity of strangers to help – not only with accommodation – but also to move my meagre belongings (one bag and a backpack) had me staggering.
So for the time being I’m in a position of not having to worry.  Well, I worry, but at least I can concentrate on the main matter of rehabilitation at Shenton Park.  There are so many more things I can do now that I couldn’t do a few months ago, and I’m really enjoying gym now.  Well… mostly.  I’ll never have the body of an elite athlete so it’s fortunate that I don’t want one.  But I am stronger, and the added benefit is less back pain.  Most of the time.
That other niggling thing, the rheumatoid arthritis, hasn’t been as kind (nor has the osteoarthritis for that matter), but it’s good that the body isn’t falling apart.  A new lot of medications seem to be more effective and the evidence is that my hands, wrists and back aren’t as painful or stiff.  A handy side effect is that my posture is better and my other bits are, how should I say this… happier?  Yes, happier is a good start.  Happier in the mornings.  Happier in the evenings.  Happier at supper time…
Good news for some: the Caretaker government is over.  After seemingly a billion weeks the Gillard Labor government persuaded enough independents to have a majority of seats in the House of Representatives.  No, the sky didn’t fall in, and it didn’t fall in when it looked like a deadlock of 74 seats to Labor, 74 to the Liberal/National/Country Liberal/Liberal National conglomerate commonly known as the Bastards Coalition, with 76 seats needed to form a majority.  (It’d like to point out to the Liberal Party leader, Tony Abbott, that the Liberals didn’t win 72 seats as he oft claims; the Coalition won 71 with 1 WA National who will sit on the cross benches.)  So now we join the fate of other nations enjoying the benefits of a minority government.  No big deal; Western Australia has had a minority government for over 2 years now, and even though it’s a Liberal/National/Independent coalition, the sky hasn’t fallen in.  Surprisingly it seems voters don’t hate Premier Colin Barnett as much as they did when he was Opposition Leader.
Of course, the other big gig going on at the moment is my Fremantle Docker’s progression through the finals.  With a big injury toll this season, like Barlow’s broken leg (cop that, round-ball football fans with your diving and fake injuries), making it to 5th was a big deal.  But the bookies had us as an outside chance to beat 2008 Premiers, Hawthorn.  Stuff that. We buried them from the start.  Three hours later, tough questions were being asked of the Hawks.  How could they be thrashed by such a lowly regarded sided of teenagers?
The answer’s easy.  The Hawthorn Hawks aren’t as good as they think they are.
Next assignment: Geelong, Friday night at the MCG.  A lot of the Freo mob flew, bused, drove and trained across the continent.  Hopefully we’ll get a full house and beat the Geelong Cats again. (We beat the reigning Premiers in round 3 this year, much to the shock of sporting journos).
The other news is a new iPhone app (what? Another one?)  Yes, this app is for a select clientele.  Like me.  It’s amazing to think that there are so many like minded people all over the world.  Chatted to a few, but thought “just another way to be let down.”  How wrong I’ve been.  In fact, there is some weird thing going on.
For starters, intelligent conversation isn’t dead.  A little further down the track I find someone that I know I just click with.  We’d click better if he wasn’t in the US, and 12 hours behind.  But as Dr Carl Sagan once said “Life finds a way,” and I’m curious to find out more!

>Health reform: a good place to start is to remove homeopathy

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Australia has one of the finest health care models in the world, yet it is under constant reforms and tweaks that aren’t always in the patients’ best interests.
Every citizen and resident is entitled to the very best in health care at any public hospital; a universal health care.  Complimenting the public system are the private hospitals, which cater for those who don’t need emergency surgery or care, or want a “better” standard of care, or wish to avoid being on a waiting list for non-essential or minor surgery, or even prefer to use their health insurance than use the tax-payer funded public system.
The use of the private hospital system is made more affordable by “reforms” introduced by the Howard Liberal-National government by giving a tax deduction of 30% for private health insurance.  It was one piece of many of the Howard government’s middle class welfare program.  When the Rudd Labor party swept into power (even unseating Howard, something that is almost unheard of) the middle class welfare didn’t end.  The 30% tax deduction for private health cover remained to anyone who had it.  In fact, the extra Medicare Levy imposed on the highest income earners would also be reduced to the same percentage Medicare Levy as the lowest income earners as a reward for having private health insurance.
The health insurance industry is also a strange beast.  Providers are almost exclusively Not-For-Profit Mutual Funds.  Further, their rates are capped and each year negotiate with the Federal Health Minister through the department on any increase in rates for services.  The arguments by the Funds are the same; without an increase the Funds won’t be able to provide the services resulting in a loss of membership and thus more pressure on the public health system.  The government’s position is almost always the same, claiming that most Funds are gouging their members for services they don’t need or won’t use.
This raises an interesting point.  Should these Funds be free to offer a range of products for a discerning public can pick and choose from, or should they be restricted to services that are only covered by Medicare?  (Currently dental is not covered by Medicare, but each State has a system for dental subsidy for those least able to afford dental care.  A plan exists to bring Dentistry into Medicare.)
Before the Coroner of Western Australia, Alistair Hope, is a case that raises very serious issues for the Health Fund industry.  The death of Penelope Dingle highlights the damage homeopaths can do in a self-regulated industry.  Yet it is almost impossible to be a member of a Fund without having the option of at least one “alternative medicine” in the bundle.
While Mr Hope has yet to hand down a finding, it is time for the Federal Health Department to refuse Health Funds any increase in fees until they remove any unproven medicine from their packages; naturopathy, homeopathy, in short, woo.
This isn’t the first time a Coroner has had to deal with the effects of homeopathy, but hopefully it will be the last.  As long as Health Funds package “alternative medicines” with basic cover, or even Ancillary cover, it legitimises the woo.  If any citizen or resident wants to have homeopathy or any other unproven medicine included in their insurance, then why should it be subsidised 30%?  If such treatments did work, we wouldn’t have a regular stream of Coroner’s Reports condemning the practice and practitioners, nor would we have families begging for justice.
This is a challenge for the new Gillard Government and for Health Minister Nicola Roxon in particular; stop the Health Funds from bundling woo into their packages.  The next time the Funds cry “we need to increase our premiums” the government should stand firm and suggest the Funds could save money if woo wasn’t automatically bundled with services that are legitimate, and remove the 30% refund for any service that cannot prove its efficacy.
That should save Medicare enough money to finally include dental services.

>It’s a conspiracy.

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You know what?  Climate science is a conspiracy.  A conspiracy by scientists who have everything to gain by getting the truth out there before we are neck deep in acidic sea water.
On the other hand, far right-wing conservatives such as Lord Christopher Monckton have nothing to gain by asking people for a considerable sum of money to see a short power-point presentation showing lovely pictures of Greenland, all photoshopped to show vineyards and happy Vikings herding cows on lush grassy pastures.  Or the Houses of Parliament underwater with the caption “So what?”  How could Lord Monckton be gaining anything by showing a power-point presentation that cost bugger all to make and asking people to buy his books not allowing any questioning of his authority at all?  Besides, he’s preaching to the converted.  Oh, but he’s already rich, being landed gentry and peer of the realm, so any money he makes doesn’t mean anything. It’s all for paying the cause.
Also he doesn’t debate those silly scientists who insist climate change and oceanic acidification is real because the idiots only confuse and upset his audience.  Bless him.  He’s all above board that chap.
I need to work on my sarcasm; I don’t think I’ve been subtle enough.
People like Lord Monckton are dangerous.  These people decide on a position before there is any substantive evidence one way or another.  But that’s why they are policy makers, or rather policy drivers; in this case Lord Monckton was an adviser to the very conservative British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Now it’s important to stress that some fundamental elements of true science is scepticism and debate.  Science cannot exist without debating with colleagues about the theory, the experiment, and the results.  Similarly the scientist must be sceptical but intrigued about the subject.  Often results are at first counter intuitive, so without some sceptical reasoning, the risk is that the easier option of a false conclusion based on a false assumption is taken.
But Lord Monckton isn’t a scientist; he was a journalist, becoming one at a time when a university degree wasn’t required.  Yet because he did some university, it apparently gives him enough credentials to be authoritative on the subject of Climate Science.
Recently there has been a bit of a kerfuffle about leaked emails from the “custodians” of climate science research, the University of East Anglia. The leak occurred because of unauthorised access.  Hacking, theft, stealing, call it what you want.  A few emails came to light because of this illegal activity.  These two emails from a few scientists who specialise in Climate Science, seemed to disagree with what the UEA Climate Science Unit has being saying, and the International Panel on Climate Change (the IPCC) as well.  But that is the nature of science; the method of collecting data should be debated.  Results should be argued.  The statistical analysis should be scrutinised and debated.
This is called Peer-Review.  If I have a theory, and then design an experiment to test the theory, then whatever the result may be (proving or disproving my theory), an independent experimenter should be able to replicate the results using the same method I did and come to the same conclusion.  And there should be debate on my experiment; is it an experiment that guaranteed to produce the results I predict? If so then somebody should put me in my place and say the experiment is flawed, and perhaps put up an alternative method for others to try.  Whatever I, or anyone else publishes, on the experiment it’s there to be critiqued at every step of the way.  It’s not a personal attack on me, or anyone else.  It’s simply being rigorous and thorough.
In the case of science when short time period experiments aren’t practical (such as climate science), then there are other ways to collect data, formulate a model, and make predictions.  Yet the same methods of science hold true; the method of which data is collected, what it means, and how well the model stands up to scrutiny is all up for criticism and debate.
And this is the case with the UEA Climate Science Unit; 2 emails of dissent/criticism does not mean the science is wrong; it may be, but fact that other researchers have collected similar data and concluded with similar results does not mean there is a conspiracy, rather it means that the science is sound.  Not perfect, but sound, and there is healthy debate occurring with peers.
Again, take the IPCC.  They make predictions based on modelling, that is using statistical analysis based on data already collected.  The IPCC has been wrong with some forecasts.  Sometimes overly pessimistic, sometimes overly optimistic.  But why the outcry over being wrong over one prediction amongst literally hundreds that have been correct?
Every night news stations gather forecasts from private or government meteorological agencies.  We want to know what the weather is going to be tomorrow.  Currently we have expectations that the forecast be accurate for the next seven days.  Agencies like Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology provide forecasts for capital cities for 7 days and most major centres for 5 days.  Even places that city dwelling Australians have never heard of or can’t pronounce can have forecasts for 3 days.  There is nothing magical going on; the BoM is simply using modelling to arrive at a forecast.  Forecasters know the science and the limitations of the various models (yes, there is more than one model) and statistical analysis to write up or even amend a forecast.
The IPCC is no different apart from being a much larger, better funded international organisation.  So when hundreds of journalists, including Lord Monckton, quote the head of the IPCC, Professor Sir John Houghton, with “Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen” it must be true, right?  Surely that ads weight to the argument that whether it be the UEA or the IPCC or even the politically independent Australian taxpayer funded CSIRO, climate change is all a scam; it’s all about shonky scientists trying to make a name for themselves or Big Business conspiring to make money playing the Carbon Trading Exchanges, or governments conspiring to create a new tax without calling it a tax. Surely.  Absolutely positively this must be the case even if it means conflicting hypotheses and illogical assumptions.
As it turns out, Prof. Sir John Houghton never made such a statement.  The journalists with London’s The Independent and the researchers with the ABC’s Media Watch found the truth; a grubby hack and professional oxygen thief by the name of Piers Ackerman, who writes a column in Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, made up the oft quoted Sir John without any evidence that Sir John had ever said such a thing.
But it doesn’t matter to those that peddle the “we humans didn’t do it” or “it’s a conspiracy” message of their imaginary climate non-change.  Those who distrust science or are ignorant of the facts gladly line up to pay between AUD$50 and AUD$150 to listen to a message they want to hear; it’s alright, it’s not your fault and anyway they’re wrong and here’s the “evidence”.  It’s a new form of snake oil.  Make no mistake.  Not one speaker on the Climate Denial, or the Pro Status Quo as I prefer to call them, are true sceptics or real climate scientists.  Everyone from a geologist who believes the earth is less than 5,000 years old, Lord Monckton, a former employee of petroleum company, a pastor and a geologist who specialises in finding coal amongst others.  Not one climate scientist amongst them, and few versed in meteorology!  One former meteorologist who advises Lord Monckton has written a book opposing climate change, but refuses any portion of it to be peer reviewed.  All of them cherry pick data to suit themselves, use strawman arguments or simply misunderstand the raw data and make it fit what they already believe, i.e. relax people, it’s not us if there is any such thing as climate change.
There are dissenters, some of whom are on the IPCC panel and contribute to the reports.  I don’t have a problem with that because they are doing science, and aren’t being paid to do a power-point talk circuit in front of a paying group of people who want affirmations of “there is no human element to climate change, even if it does exist”, with the only motivations being money and anything, anything to prove the consensus of scientists on climate change wrong.
It’s an emotive issue, but it shouldn’t be.  The über greenies have been crying wolf for perhaps too long a time, so it can’t be about them.  So all that’s left is those who need the status quo, who need cheap coal, gas and oil.  But surely they don’t have a real voice; after all they don’t write letters to the editor every day…
Indeed they don’t.  They don’t have to.  After all, their PR companies can make the phone call or email the press release and the journalists will, by and large, write up the stories that are sympathetic to the big polluters.  They provide us with jobs, with electricity, with plastics, with everything we need and want from concrete to the latest gadget.  Don’t you see?  The government already over taxes them and now with governments fixated on this climate change thing your way of life is jeopardised.  Gosh and golly.  To cap it off, newspapers and magazines need paper, and they doesn’t come out of thin air…  So naturally the conservative media is biased against any climate change reporting; report only “bad” news sparingly, report the “good” – for the media and polluters – news repeatedly, and if you can’t find “good” news, make it up scary news that is unbelievable so that readers/watchers/listeners will later think “those scientists are on crack!”  Or do a Piers Ackerman and lie, telling the world that these climate scientists want to tell us really horrible things just so they are heard, and they don’t care about the truth.  Or even better – for the media and polluters – present one non-consensus view, qualified or not, against ten or more consensus views as balanced, objective journalism.
No wonder the public is confused, the non-consensus opinions are expressed in the media as fact, and any non-consensus science report is significantly distorted so that it appears that there is some kind of classroom brawl going on in the climate change field, that no-one agrees on anything.
Well, it has come to the point where the public isn’t so easily fooled or misled over these matters anymore.  They may not completely trust the scientists, but they trust them more than the media, fossil fuel companies and the dozens of Lord Monckton wannabes that are trying to make their fortunes by cashing in on the debate rather than contribute to it in an enlightened, positive way.

>Australia Day? Invasion Day? What a Load of Jingoistic Crap

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A son of a German shoves a Union Jack on the shores of Botany Bay, proclaiming that a terra nullus is now the property of a King George III, whom is completely mad from the hereditary disease porphyria and is not English but German, during a time of malcontent by those the New World (American) colonies.  How is this a day for Australia, let alone representative of England’s expanding empire?
It reminds me of an Episode of Blackadder Goes Forth (General Hospital), where Capt. Blackadder is tasked to root out a German spy in a WWI field hospital: having tied Capt. Darling to a chair Blackadder interrogates, and Darling finally cracks under the pressure “I’m as British as Queen Victoria!” to which Blackadder attacks with “You mean your father’s German, you’re half German and you married a German?!”
I’m not anti-German or anti-British or even anti-Calathumpian.  The point is how ridiculous that Australia Day is about the establishment of the Botany Bay Colony (NSW), which has nothing to do with South Australia, Tasmania or Western Australia, and Australians in general.  Particularly immigrants (aren’t we all?) and indigenous peoples.  That doesn’t leave very many Australian Citizens left.
Surely this artificial date, linked to firing a few muskets to the strains of God Save The King, is not appropriate for now let alone pre-Federation.
Perhaps a better date is when the Premiers of each colony first sat together and, with the “mother country” (English or German?) agreed on the referendum that would put our nation on the path of a successful Federation, remembering that both Western Australia and South Australia both had universal suffrage – for non-indigenous peoples – for those aged 21 and over?  A second date could be set aside to celebrate the successful referendum in which indigenous peoples won the right to be recognised as people with the same rights as citizens and thus given the vote.
Perhaps the real “Australia Day”, then, should be 2nd March to reflect the first day of the meeting of all Colonies to push for Federalism.
In the same way, 26th August should mark “Vincent Lingiari Day”: the walk off by Aboriginal stockmen from Wave Hill, which precipitated the overwhelmingly successful 1967 referendum which removed the power of the Commonwealth government as to how indigenous people could be treated.  (Contrary to popular belief, in some states indigenous peoples did have citizenship and were allowed to vote in state elections.)
As for the current “Australia Day”, it’s time to let go.  Unless you are a New South Welsh man or woman, and even then it would be better to rename it as “Foundation Day, NSW”.