A fiery family fun night and a celebration of Territory freedom or a night to be endured that we could do without?
I am not setting out to answer this question but observe the increased polarisation within the community on this issue and intend drawing attention back to the essence of this important day. What is it really all about?
I am well aware that any politician who even dares to suggest banning fireworks risks a Sir William Wallace or Darryl Kerrigan style assault against anyone would dares to threaten Territory ‘freedom’.
It is unfortunate that the public debate has become more about fireworks than anything else.
But what are we celebrating?
I guess few make the link to the long campaign to gain self governance that ended on July 1 1978 as they light the wick on a bumble bee or a screaming demon?
But even a brief read of the history of the decades long fight to wrest control from Canberra that is reason for Territory Day makes one feel proud.
Imagine the moment when Canberra formally transferred the right to Territorians to govern themselves.
On that day a large crowd gathered on the Esplanade to witness the first NT Government ministry being sworn in and celebrate a landmark milestone on the journey to Statehood.
As a new minister described it when asked on the day: ‘people were so happy about self-government and no longer being chained to Canberra. People were sick of it’.
For the record in 1980 when other States and Territories moved to ban their respective ‘cracker nights’ or Guy Fawkes that were traditionally held in November the new NT government chose to retain ‘cracker’ night and move it to July the first to celebrate Self Government Day.
It is time to ignite the spark of a new vision that harkens back to those foundations and sees the NT as the nation’s leader in Northern Development unique in its purpose working as equal partners with Aboriginal traditional owners and building ever closer ties with our northern neighbours.
A vision where at the grassroots the community is entrusted to seek solutions to complex social problems rather than burning millions on Royal Commissions and countless reviews, studies and inquiries.
Surely the time is right to chart a new course that is informed by where we have been but then confidently designs and engineers a new future based on the rich wealth of talent and tenacity we have right here.
We have people with a heart and soul for our unique place in this nation willing and capable of continuing the fight to wrest control from experts and design our own path.
Capturing this vision and working together is the key.
Now that would be something to celebrate!