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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Australia Day 2010

What do the stars on our flag represent? The constellation of stars on the right is the Southern Cross and the large star with seven points is the Federation star. Each point represents one of the six states and the seventh is for the Australian Territories (Canberra and the Northern Territory). And we all know that the Union Jack depicts our history and connection to the British.

Federation was a vital part of our past, we finally became a united country on the 1st January 1901 when the Commonwealth of Australia was born. Until then, we were 6 different colonies, fiercely fighting for our own rights and extremely jealous of each other. It must have been a difficult job getting the colony leaders to finally agree to unite the country as one. But finally common sense prevailed and the people realised that things like the economy, immigration and defence should be tackled on a national level and the papers were signed. So on 1st January 1901 the Colonies became the States, a Federal Parliament was formed and Edmond Barton became our first Prime Minister. It wasn't until 9th May 1927 that the Commonwealth Parliament first sat in Canberra in the 'Old Government House'.

Little is known about our Constitution. The smaller Colonies were afraid that the larger ones would have more say in the Federal Government so the conference adopted the practice of the United States - in the House of Representatives, each state would be represented according to the number of residents and in the Senate, each state has an equal number of representatives.

It's hard to say what Australia Day means to everyone, but I think for the majority in the workforce, it's a bit like the Telstra ad, a great day off to relax and watch the cricket and the tennis. I usually go into the city to watch the ferry races and all the activities in Sydney Harbour but it's too hot so I'll be having a fresh seafood lunch and a glass of bubbly to celebrate living in the greatest country in the world.

Happy Australia Day to everyone.