In response to the Australian Government's inhumane treatment of asylum seeker boat arrivals, and the pervasive rhetoric surrounding 'boat fear' in Australian politics and the media, we have decided to organise National Boat Day, to be held on 26th January 2014. As the website states:
"National Boat Day is an opportunity for Australians to confront their fear of boats in a safe and caring atmosphere. All around the country, let us gather in boats to re-acquaint ourselves with a heritage we have come to fear.
Paddle-out into the ocean, onto a lake, or simply beach your boat for a picnic in the park. Inflatables, tinnies, dinghies, sail-boats, ocean-liners. All are welcome on Boat Day.
Many of us will be beaching our boats on the steps of parliament, paddling softly at the ground to ease boat-fear from the hearts of our politicians and from the pages of policy.
Boat day may look a little silly. And it is. But it's not."
National Boat Day's objectives are:
- encourage Australians to celebrate boats
- highlight the absurdity of boat (and boat-related) fear
- encourage Australia to address its boat-related histories and prejudices
- appeal to Australia’s cultural (rather than political) heart
- do this in a light, cheeky, non-adversarial manner
All around the country, Australians will gather to celebrate boat day. As of 28th December, people will be able to go online and register their boat day event, encouraging others to join them or do the same.
We will be holding the main event in the Treasury Gardens in Melbourne, where people will be able to picnic with their boats. Throughout the day, groups will be encouraged to pose with their boat on the steps of Parliament in front of a banner bearing the National Boat Day slogan: 'We're Not Scared Anymore'.
Through our press and social media campaign, it is our hope that the message of National Boat Day will reach deep into the cultural heart of this country.
Funded by Melbourne (December 2013)