It’s time to end the civil war on race and culture in Australia. We are one country, made up of people of many races.
We need a national settlement of our political and cultural divisions on indigenous occupancy of land and cultural continuity, British annexation of land and colonisation, and the growth of a hybrid culturally-mixed (but not yet culturally cohesive) population. These divisions have become intense in recent years and have rightly been called ‘culture wars’. They threaten to undermine our unity of purpose and social cohesion, and sap the goodwill of Australians from all backgrounds.
We need a settlement date by which the nation settles this conflict. This would be a date by which land claims are finalized, truth-telling exercises completed, place name changes settled, and a line drawn in the sand to mark the end of both race-based discrimination and race-based culture wars.
The last thing we need is a referendum to include in the Constitution of Australia a permanent body, elected by Australians of just one race, to present a ‘Voice to Parliament’. Yet the politicians in Canberra are planning to do precisely this in 2023.
This is the wrong course. Instead, we want our political and social leaders to set an end-date for the civil war on race and culture. We suggest 31 December 2025. (Read the notes below on our rationale for this date.)
Both Right and Left need to make major concessions to enable this settlement to happen. They need to abandon their culture wars and begin reconciling with the great majority of Australians who want these issues settled. We are One People and One Country.
We invite Australians to support our End the Civil War Campaign. It aims to:
1. Set an end date for the culture wars on race and culture;
2. Complete land claims, truth-telling exercises, and place name changes by this date;
3. End the divisive practice of ‘Welcome to / Acknowledgement of Country’;
4. Replace the British Crown with an Australian Head of State;
5. Replace the 3 current Australian flags in official use with a new unifying national flag;
6. Reject the proposal for a permanent divisive ‘Voice to Parliament’;
7. End race-based programs and entitlements in government;
8. Introduce a Reconciliation Day public holiday on 27 January 2026 to mark the historic settlement of these issues and replace Australia Day on 26 January as our official national day.
Fill in this form to support the Campaign.
1. 26th January.
The 26th of January marks the commencement of British colonial settlement in Australia. That is an appropriate occasion for British commemoration, but it doesn’t mark or commemorate achievement by Australians. Captain James Cook was a notable British explorer, navigator and naturalist. He should be commemorated by Britain and the global geographic and scientific community. But he wasn’t an Australian.
The Right should give up insisting that Cook’s voyages or the beginning of British settlement on the 26th of January are Australian achievements.
2. Conclusion of treaty processes underway in the Northern Territory and Victoria, and land claims under the Native Title Act.
This can best be done by the inclusion of sunset clauses in relevant legislature marking the settlement date.
The Left should give up seeking reparations or compensation for the British annexation of land. By this settlement date, it should drop the mantra “Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land”.
3. Replacement of the British Crown by an Australian head of state.
The best model for an Australian head of state would be appointment of an Australian citizen for a period of five years by a jury of citizens selected by lot by the Australian Electoral Commission following a public nomination process. Selection by jury process (with an emphasis on consensus) avoids the risk of a partisan politicised head of state that would result from either parliamentary appointment or popular election.
The Right should give up its attachment to the British Crown and accept an Australian citizen as head of state. The Left should give up its attachment to a politicians’ republic in which the political class selects the Australian head of state
4. Ending the divisive practice of Welcome to / Acknowledgement of Country.
The Welcome to Country practice has served a useful function of reminding Australians of indigenous occupancy of land and cultural continuity for sixty thousand years. But it has become formulaic and tired. The practice should not continue in perpetuity. The settlement date would mark the end of the practice in official events and government settings.
The Left should give up its attachment to the Welcome to Country practice.
5. Decommissioning of race-specific government programs.
The settlement date should mark the adoption of needs-based funding criteria in government programs in place of race-based criteria. A range of race-based programs should be decommissioned by this date, along with the practice of government forms and surveys stipulating information on people of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds, as if these are a different species from the other 97% of Australians.
Both Right and Left should give up their administration of race-specific programs in government.
7. Commence a search for a new unifying national flag.
A public search for an inclusive and unifying Australian flag would be launched on this date. The official practice of displaying the current national flag, along with the red-black-yellow (Aboriginal flag) and Torres Strait Islander flag in government offices and buildings would cease with the adoption of a unifying flag.
The Right should give up its attachment to the current national flag featuring the Union Jack. The Left should give up its attachment to the red-black-yellow (Aboriginal) flag.
We think a settlement date that serves these purposes would bring Australians together and unite the country. We think a three-year period of public discussion would be an appropriate period of preparation – any longer than three years carries the risk of deferral of urgent decision-making in the national interest.
Our recommended end-date for the civil war on race and culture is 31 December 2025.
Our recommended date for an inaugural Reconciliation Day is 27 January 2026, replacing Australia Day on 26th January as our national day.