Nationalism is the loyalty and devotion to a nation. Nationalism is when there is a great sense of pride and exuberance for one’s country and placing the most emphasis on the promotion of its interests and culture. There is a lack of interest to other nations or supranational groups. Nationalism has a couple of synonyms, each of which carries its own distinct meaning. Patriotism is a synonym and is similar as it focuses on the strong feelings for one’s country as well. However, it does not necessarily always imply a feeling of superiority.
Zakaria talks about nationalism as having potential to being dangerous as the world enters a new age. Nationalism comes with a sense of superiority and Zakaria argues that this feeling of superiority can lead to violence between two countries or groups. Zakaria points out how the U.S. has a tendency to see their actions globally as doing service to other countries because a big part of it has to do with the sense of nationalism. It’s important to note that the United States is not the only country with this recurring theme.
Australia Day is the official National Day of Australia that is celebrated annually on the 26th of January. This day is the day that the First Fleet of British Ships arrived at New South Wales in 1788. They raised the Flag of Great Britain by Governer Arthur Phillip. In many ways, this was marked as the day Australia finally became a nation. Today, Australia celebrates the diverse society and landscape of the nation and with welcoming new immigrants into the Australian community.
Many Aboriginal Australians and some Australians do not approve of Australia Day because of the negative effect the British settlement on the land has been to the Indigenous people. Many of those who oppose call the day “Invasion Day” and use the day as a marking of the loss of Indigenous culture. Australia day is also known as “Survival Day” as the the fact that the Aboriginal people have not been made completely obsolete.
Some would like the day to be completely removed or changed to another date while others would like to rename the day. The amounts of backlash has brought official celebrations that have been made in Australia day to include more Indigenous people. Ceremonies such as the Woggan-ma-gule ceremony, which honors the past but celebrates the present.
There are very radical groups in Australia that are as open to the diverse nation and immigration that Australia is trying to embrace. Reclaim Australia is a radical group that was formed in 2015 that holds street rallies to protest against Islam. The organization’s objectives include the reclaiming of freedom, the belief in the equality of gender and law and opposition to any association with Islam. About 2.2% of Australia’s population practices Islam.
The media and press describes the group as far-right. According to some experts, the movement has always been a loosely structured organizations due to its broad and wide range of support. The hate group also lacks prominent leaders.
Australia has a increasingly larger problem with economic equality. According to news.com.au, the gap between rich and poor in Australia is constantly widening. The top 20% of households receive half of the income. The bottom 20% only gets 4% of the income.
According to the Guardian, The Australian Council of Social Service reported in 2014 that the wealthiest people in Australia are now making five times as much as the poorest in the country. The wealthy also have 70 times the assets of those with the lowest income.
Tony Judt explains how many Americans and people in similar economic situations are blind to “an overall increase in aggregate wealth” and it, “camouflages distributive disparities.” Though Judt is describing the American economy, Australia is facing an economic improvement that is hiding and covering the economic inequalities. Judt provides evidence of the consequences the UK faced when they did not properly address this social problem, and eventually Australia may reflect that outcome as well if the problem left untreated.
Social demographer mark McCrindle made an analysis of the Australian Bureau and Statistics wealth and income data. He says that the data shows that Australia the widening income gap means a decrease in middle class and more income inequality. He also speaks about how there is a wealth gap between generations as well. Baby Boomers own about 53% of the wealth in Australia while the following generation only has about a quarter of the wealth.
“Our egalitarian society is pretty central to our Australian identity, but it’s under threat, and if the gap continues to widen we will end up with entrenched pockets of have and have-nots..” McCrindle said.
McCrindle showed how the distinctions were very obvious. The average household income is $107,000 ($80,600 US dollars) while the top two million households earn $260,000 ($196,000 US), which is more than double the average and 12 times more than the bottom 20 percent of households.
“If left unchecked it risks splintering our social fabric.”
The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) is an organization that’s created to help fight social and economic inequality in Australia. ACOSS has lead policy development and advocacy within issues such as income support and employment, economics and tax, housing and homelessness, poverty, and inequality. They are the a prominent group in Australia and are one of several groups that are here to help bring change to the wealth gap in Australia.