by Tania de Jong
The American Institute for Economic Research
The Seekers’ much-loved chorus lyrics for the iconic song ‘I am Australian’ are:
“We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We share a dream and sing with one voice
I am, you are, we are Australian.”
This song symbolises a nation whose people, history, culture and landscape are deeply intertwined. It is a song that celebrates both Australia’s diversity and its unity.
Sadly, this pandemic has made a mockery of our inclusive spirit. We are not all Australians anymore. We are Queenslanders, West and South Australians, New South Welshmen, Victorians, Tasmanians and Territorians, much like before Federation, 120 years ago. We shut and open our borders at a whim keeping out the ‘others,’ at the expense of families, livelihoods and our mental and physical health. Our aspirations of creating a truly cohesive, healthy and happy nation are being placed in jeopardy and the ‘lucky country’ is disappearing before our very eyes.