Opinion | A moment to reflect on our nation’s future

Opinion | A moment to reflect on our nation’s future

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As the sun rose on ANZAC Day, a gentle hush fell over the crowd gathered at the Gosnells war memorial.

Veterans and civilians stood side by side, united in remembrance of the men and women who sacrificed their lives for the country.

It was a solemn yet uplifting morning, filled with a sense of gratitude and respect. Yet, beneath the commemorative ceremonies and heartfelt speeches, a question lingered: What would our ANZAC heroes think of the direction our nation is heading?

ANZAC Day has always been a time to reflect on the values that shaped Australia—courage, mateship, and sacrifice.

However, recent societal shifts have caused many to question if we are honouring those values in the best way. With immigration at historically high levels, some fear that the traditional Australian identity is at risk, and that the social fabric is fraying.

Generational Australians worry about becoming a minority by 2060 (Fact), as government policies encourage a significant influx of immigrants. While immigration has undeniably contributed to Australia’s economic and cultural vibrancy, it has also brought challenges. Housing shortages and strains on public services are increasingly evident, violence and crime, raising concerns about the nation’s capacity to maintain its high standard of living.

Additionally, the perception that the government prioritises immigrant communities to secure votes has created a sense of division.

First-generation immigrants are given millions of dollars in funding, while long-standing Australians feel overlooked.

This is not the fault of immigrants, who come to Australia seeking a better life. Rather, it highlights a political strategy that could undermine national unity.

The fear of losing control over generational farms, which were once granted to returning WWI and WWII soldiers, is a poignant example of this tension.

These farms played a crucial role in establishing Australia’s agricultural industry, and the thought of them being taken away or their ownership changing hands causes deep unease. Proposals such as the VOICE referendum and the WA state government’s attempt to impose control over land usage—where other people could dictate what a farmer can and cannot do with their land—have heightened these concerns.

While these initiatives aim to address historical inequities or enhance governance, they could significantly impact those with long-standing ties to their land and heritage, raising questions about the preservation of traditional farming practices and property rights and another example of turning their back on generational Australians who are expected to pay for everything in their taxes but must remain silent.

As Australians from all backgrounds come together to honour the ANZAC spirit, it’s essential to remember that the freedom we enjoy was fought for by those who believed in a united, inclusive nation.

While opinions on immigration and government policy differ, the ultimate goal should be to create a society where all Australians—new and old—can thrive on past true Australian values.

So, as we reflect on ANZAC Day, let us also reflect on the future of our nation.

The sacrifices made by those who came before us should inspire us to work towards a cohesive and equitable society. Let’s ensure that the spirit of ANZAC continues to guide us as we navigate these complex issues, asking ourselves if the path we’re on honours the legacy of those who gave everything for our country.

Glenn Dewhurst is a City of Gosnells councillor and local leader.