I saw the most amusing thing the other day – a sequined mini-dress in the design of the Australian flag.

Because it was so outlandish part of me was tempted to buy into the phenomenon of Australia Day flag adornment, while another part of me became further repelled by it.

As the phenomenon has grown in strength over recent years, so too has it soured the symbolism of the flag.

Once it had been an assertion of our identity and celebration of our lifestyle, landscape and achievements as a nation. Now it reminds me of overzealous pride, racism and fight-ready drunkenness.

But Australia Day is more than the ‘Aussie pride’ and ubiquitous flag merchandise that saturate our experience and antagonise Australia’s First Peoples.

Beyond the noise and hype there is space for a deeper appreciation of what it means to be Australian.

Personally, I consider it merely wonderful luck to be born into a place where the luxuries of music, art, entertainment and good food are so freely available they’re taken for granted.

Nature’s treasures are only a drive away, whether I want fresh, salty, rolling surf, lush rainforest chiming with birds, or manicured botanic gardens bursting with colourful, exotic flowers.

And if I were to have cause for pride, it would be in belonging to a community in which so many people strive to protect human rights and care for the environment, now and for the future.

Our lifestyle, landscape and achievements are worth celebrating.

Help give more depth to this year’s media coverage of Australia Day by taking a photograph that shows what being an Australian means to you. Accompany it with a caption of 150 words or less explaining its significance and contribute it here by midnight on January 26.

(Photographs should be at least 1000 pixels wide and/or 1MB file size.)

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported.

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