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On Australia Day words like flexible, agile, responsive bring to mind a tiny nation with a big message

January 24, 2016
On Australia Day words like flexible, agile, responsive bring to mind a tiny nation with a big message

Australia Day, 26 January, is the anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of 11 convict ships from Great Britain, and the raising of the Union Jack at Sydney Cove by its commander Captain Arthur Phillip.

In Australia over 200 different languages and dialects are spoken, including 45 Indigenous languages. The most commonly spoken languages (other than English) are Italian, Greek, Cantonese, Arabic, Vietnamese and Mandarin.

In contemporary Australia, the Australia Day holiday on January 26 is marked by the presentation of the Australian of the Year Awards on Australia Day Eve, announcement of the Australia Day Honours list and addresses from the Governor-General and Prime Minister. It is an official public holiday in every state and territory of Australia, unless it falls on a weekend in which case the following Monday becomes a public holiday instead. With community festivals, concerts and citizenship ceremonies, the day is celebrated in large and small communities and cities around the nation. Australia Day has become the biggest annual civic event in Australia.

The formal establishment of the Colony of New South Wales did not occur on 26 January as is commonly assumed. It did not occur until 7 February 1788, when the formal proclamation of the colony and of Arthur Phillip's governorship were read out. The vesting of all land in the reigning monarch King George III also dates from 7 February 1788.

"Invasion Day" is a term used by some Indigenous figures and their supporters to refer to 26 January, and protests occur almost every year, sometimes at Australia Day events.

The anniversary is also known as "Survival Day" and marked by events such as the Survival Day concert first held in Sydney in 1992, celebrating the fact that the Indigenous people and culture have not been completely wiped out

The invasion of the Cadigal people's land was part of a world-wide process in the Europeans' grab for the land, resources and people. It was nationalist rivalry that drove this land-grab. As part of this process, the cultural norms and values of those Europeans travelled with them.

So the European values, beliefs and attitudes were imported with the colonisation. This is a natural phenomenon: all people take their personal and cultural identity with them where ever they travel. Therefore, all sections of Colonial and Australian society participated in the many different policies and practices that discriminated against Indigenous Australians by way of assuming their values were superior to those of the original inhabitants.

The first indigenous Australian to be awarded the Australian of the Year Award was Lionel Rose in 1968. Australia has always been multicultural. It has about 250 sovereign Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations. Since 1788 there have been an extra 170 cultures added to the original cultures. In contemporary Australia there are over 400 language groups. This is a unique position in the world.

In 2004, a Newspoll that asked if the date of Australia Day should be moved to one that is not associated with European settlement found 79 per cent of respondents favoured no change, 15 per cent favoured change and 6 per cent were uncommitted.

At its core, Australia Day is a day driven by communities, and the celebrations held in each town, suburb or city. This is unified by the celebration of what is great about Australia and being Australian. This is the foundation of its ongoing success.

Current Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, identifies flexibility, agility and speedy response to opportunity as essential to success for our nation.

GoSeeAustralia has been spending time in northwestern Europe with expatriates, British, Americans, Irish and Australians plus of course Luxembourgers, French, Germans and Belgians who are part of a shining example of what sound leadership based around a flexible response to opportunity produces.

The Grand-Duche de Luxembourg (Grand Duchy of Luxembourg) is one of the world's smallest countries. It is the only sovereign Grand Duchy in the world. In northwestern Europe it is surrounded by Belgium, France and Germany. The Grand Duchy has a population of only (2014) 520,672, and a total area of 2586 sq km.

By Clod Hopper contrast Tasmania, Australia's smallest state is 90,760 sq. km.

But tiny European nation Luxembourg packs a mighty international clout. Luxembourgers enjoy the second highest per capita gross domestic product in the world behind Qatar. Luxembourg, is a diversified industrialized nation. Main industries are: banking and financial services, iron and steel, information technology, telecommunications, cargo transportation, food processing, chemicals, metal products, engineering, tires, glass, aluminum, tourism. About 150,000 workers commute daily from France, Belgium, and Germany.

Banking is the largest sector in the Luxembourg economy. The country has specialised in the cross-border fund administration business. As Luxembourg's domestic market is relatively small, the country's financial centre is predominantly international.

Since the Second World War, Luxembourg has become one of the world's richest countries, buoyed by a booming financial services sector, political stability, and European integration.

Dukes Palace Luxembourg
Dukes Palace Luxembourg

Although the recorded history of Luxembourg can be traced back to before Roman times, the history of Luxembourg proper is considered to begin in 963.

Luxembourg's fortress, located on a rocky outcrop known as the Bock, was steadily enlarged and strengthened over the years by successive owners. Some of these included the Bourbons, Habsburgs and Hohenzollerns, who made it one of the strongest fortresses on the European continent, the Fortress of Luxembourg. Its formidable defenses and strategic location caused it to become known as the 'Gibraltar of the North'. The Congress of Vienna of 1815, gave formal autonomy to Luxembourg. In 1867, Luxembourg's independence was confirmed.

In 1957, Luxembourg became one of the six founding countries of the European Economic Community (later the European Union) and in 1999 it joined the euro currency area. The present sovereign Grand Duke Henri was sworn in as Grand Duke in October 2000. The Duke has the power to control fuel prices and he does. With the Duchy in the driving seat education, home ownership and family support are actioned as first priorities. The workforce includes many respected, effective older workers of both sexes. There is unquestioned embracing of renewable energy. Small nation, mighty big message.

Luxembourg Lower City
Luxembourg Lower City

Luxembourg Cathedral
Luxembourg Cathedral
Main door Luxembourg Cathedral
Main door Luxembourg Cathedral
Bullet holes pierce Luxembourg and Belgium border  marker
Bullet holes pierce Luxembourg and Belgium border marker
A soldier remembered Verdun
A soldier remembered Verdun
Porta Nigra, Trier
Porta Nigra, Trier
Aussie expat Kylie Morrison in heaven. Vegemite, Turkish Delight and Cherry Ripe
Aussie expat Kylie Morrison in heaven. Vegemite, Turkish Delight and Cherry Ripe