Change the date

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As Australians, we all want a day on which we can come together as a national community, to reflect on where we’re at and to celebrate what we are: a wonderfully diverse, open and free society. But January 26 is not that day.

On January 26, 1788 the First Fleet arrived at Port Jackson, and Arthur Phillip raised the Union Jack on the land of the Eora nation.

This was an invasion that had catastrophic and tragic consequences for all the peoples and nations who had lived here for tens of thousands of years, and for their descendants.

January 26 is a potent symbolic reminder of that history and continued efforts to airbrush it. To continue to celebrate Australia Day on January 26 is to participate in that cult of forgetfulness.

Australia has never undertaken a national truth and reconciliation process which would force us - and our governments - to acknowledge the history of what has happened and its contemporary consequences. It means the history continues.

Celebrating on a day that causes so much hurt and suffering to Aboriginal people does not unite us or bring us together.

It is time to change the date