Change the date

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 our 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.

All Australians should be able to participate in our national celebration. Moving it away from January 26 is not that difficult. When Parliament resumes, the Greens will be asking the Senate to support a motion to change the date of Australia Day.

Australians all let us rejoice...in changing the date.  

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