Facing the Sun

By Baart Groot

Australia has spent the last two hundred odd years as the annoying kid brother of
greater nations.

First, the United Kingdom, specifically England in all of its former colonialist glory.

More recently, the USA as the sidekick enlisted to provide comic relief, but who still
punches above their weight when it comes to fighting the bad guys.

This is Australia, a land of droughts and floods, of cyclones, bushfires and the occasional
earthquake to boot. Australia, a nation of bronzed beach goers, farmers and diggers who
laugh easily but still keep their upper lips stiff in tragedy.

That’s the legend, now here’s the reality.

We are not just a land of natural dangers; our dangers now include unemployment,
underemployment, discrimination and endless division between cliques based on sport,
politics and schooling.

We are not just a tough and amicable band of men on the land, we are a nation of
migrants, of refugees and travellers who have decided to take a chance on the lucky
country; hoping that their bet pays off.

We are a nation of change, of constant evolution from one iteration to the next where
stagnation is death and tradition, while valued; threatens to drown us in the muck of
past failures and transgressions, draping our achievements in the shadows of self-doubt
and fading glory.

Australia, it is time to face the sun and put our shadows behind us.

We do not lack the minds; we have amongst our population men and women, young and
old who have surpassed the limitations of their forebears, discovering truths we could
not have imagined a mere decade ago, finding ways to treat disease, produce energy and
further improve our industrial, agricultural and scientific endeavours beyond any
limitations yet thought of.

We have a population that is diverse, imaginative and hungry to achieve, the
adventuring children of a hundred other nations, come to this land to prove themselves
and step away from the entrenched limitations of collapsing societies.

We have the opportunity, now, as the USA and Europe dither and dally about their
course; to take our place at the forefront of world affairs and lead by exemplifying the
Aussie legend, being brave and forthright; honest and fair, giving others a Fair Go while
holding ourselves to the highest standards of mateship and humanity.

The only thing we lack is the political will to make the change and take the necessary
steps away from the shade cast by tottering giants.

We require leaders who will not think of themselves, who will not speak of fears and
dangers but who will speak of opportunity, who will seize the day and charge screaming
into the fray; showing the world that Australia is here to succeed, Australia is here to
progress and Australia is here to lead all others into a future that is fair, bright and
hopeful.

Put aside your fears Australia, face the sun, smile and think of how the future can be
better.

I am, You are, We are, Australian.