Once We prided ourselves on
By Truth Seeker Diane ©
Our culture is founded on stories of battlers, bushrangers, brave soldiers, working class heroes and plucky migrants. We have always believed in “Mateship,” and have a strong affection for the underdog or ‘battler’ in our society. These values stem from our convict past and early colonialists, who struggled against a harsh and unfamiliar land, and often against an unjust authority. Australia’s most famous bush ranger, Ned Kelly, fought for justice and liberty. He protested against poverty and the injustice of the British legal system that made criminals out of ordinary human beings, just for stealing a loaf of bread.
Not only do we believe in Mateship, we prided ourselves in having it, and we always helped our neighbours. Australia was perceived by the World as a land of plenty and a land of fairness, with our diggers portrayed in stories as heroes, and where sport and the beach BBQ was an important tradition to be passed on to the next generation. Going to a footy match was something every Aussie was proud to do, and downing a few cold beers with Mates was a given. And yet, despite the value of Mateship ingrained in our history and culture, I fear that we are losing it, and I find myself asking the following questions: Will the youngsters of today ever comprehend the meaning of Mateship and what “a fair go” means? Will they ever understand the importance of looking after the underdogs, who can come from all walks of life? On 8th October 2004, the nations’ attention was drawn to the plight of a fellow Australian, Schapelle Corby, the daughter of a working class family and, in the eyes of many, a true blue
Australian beauty. What was to be a celebration of her sister’s 30th birthday was a holiday in the sun, in Bali, where she planned to lounge around in sarongs and surf the wonderful remote beaches. But this did not happen. Her holiday turned into a nightmare the moment she stepped into the arrival lounge at Ngurah Rai Airport from her Qantas budget flight from Brisbane via Sydney. It was there that 4.2 kg of marijuana was found inside her boogie-board bag.
Five years have now passed since 95 percent of the Australian population stood side by side, sharing the pain of this attractive young women’s fight for her life in a court system so different from our own, where I saw tears of Mateship roll down the cheeks of many as the “guilty” verdict was announced to the nation. Ask these same people now how they feel about Schapelle and most will shrug their shoulders
saying, they don’t care and they are not interested. Their Mateship has been lost, so what do they have to pass on to their children? Thankfully, there are some who still care and who still respect the value of Mateship. These people will tell you they are more than disappointed with the present government’s lack of action, whose leader, in opposition, once said he would do all he could to help get her home, but who, since gaining power, has done nothing. These days Schapelle continues to fight for her life, in a prison system where you could easily be dead in 10 years if you didn’t have help, where you could slip away quietly without ever being noticed. Not only
for granted. For those who continue to fight for the rights of the underdog, freedom fighters like myself, these words come to mind.
I t i s o u r co lle ct i v e re s p o n s i b i lit y n ot j u st to li v e a life w o r t h y o f s ac r if ice b ut to e n s u re o u r s ac r if ice i s n ot fo rg otte n . T h i s i s o u r s o le m n d ut y, le st w e d i m i n i s h a s a n at i o n . Schapelle Corby will not be forgotten, Her supporters will
her heart. She trusted that her fellow Australian Mates would stand up and fight for what was right. Was this trust misplaced? Mateship is one of the values Schapelle still holds most dear. Even in her time of despair, she still takes the time to care for her Mates, her sisters, brothers, mother and supporters. She even looks out for her fellow prisoners. Schapelle has already slashed her arms, in the hope of bleeding to death to escape her living hell, and she remains adamant that she will never admit to a crime she did not commit. Schapelle is a Mate who needs our help, and it is once again time for ALL Australians to show the World what Mateship is all about, if we still have it in us.
“John Howard said” “Mateship crosses any boundaries set up by gender, or by ethnic origin, or political affiliation, or bank balance or street address. Mateship is uniquely Australian.
does she fight for her life, she also fights the demons who wander the corridors of her tormented mind, where reality no longer exists, and where the memories of her former life, and her life’s dream of having children, have become teasing reminders of things she once took
continue to fight for her human rights and her right to be heard. Her name is as memorable as Aussie vegemite, Four X beer and Lindy Chamberlain when the dingo took her baby Schapelle’s plight once touched a nation and the nation touched
A Mate can be your husband, your wife, your son, your brother, or your best friend. Or the digger beside you on the battlefield. Or a near total stranger. It is the great equaliser in Australian society. We are a country that celebrates individual achievement. But above all we are a country that knows we
must pull together. We are a country of Mates.”
“Kim Beazley said” “Mateship is uniquely Australian. We are a country that celebrates individual achievement. But above all we are a country that knows we must pull together. We are a country of Mates. Mateship is born out of a common struggle. Mateship is built in our workplaces, our schools, our homes, our sporting fields, our battlefields. Mateship is built on respect for each other. Mateship is extending a helping hand when another person is down on their luck. Mateship is treating people equally, regardless of race, gender, creed or religion. Mateship endures because it is so readily embraced. I believe that true national leadership demands that Australian values are reinforced. While this generation more than any other participates in a global community, we should never shy away from reaffirming what makes us uniquely Australian. I will never stop promoting these values.