Nina Springle, Member for South-Eastern Metropolitan Region and Deputy Parliamentary Leader of the Victorian Greens, has called for an open and respectful conversation in the South East about changing the date of our national celebration.
As a mark of respect, Ms Springle will not be taking part in Australia Day this year but will instead be standing in solidarity with Australia’s First Peoples at a commemorative event in Melbourne.
Momentum is growing across Victoria and Australia to change the date from January 26, a day that marks a violent act against Australian Aboriginals with catastrophic and tragic consequences.
An opinion poll published this week by The Australia Institute found that 56% of Australians don't mind when Australia Day is held, and half (49%) believe Australia Day shouldn't be held on a date that is offensive to Aboriginal Australians.
In June 2017, the National General Assembly of Local Government passed a motion (64-62) urging all local councils to consider options for lobbing the Federal Government to change the date of Australia Day.
This means that a majority of Australian people, and a majority of local councils, are open to changing the date to be more inclusive.
In the South East, Greens councillors Matthew Kirwan and Josh Fergeus have both publicly spoken out in support of changing the date.
'I feel very strongly that Australia Day should bring all Australians together to celebrate what’s great and beautiful about our country and our culture. January 26th is not the right day to do that,’ said Nina Springle.
‘I believe changing the date would be an important step towards acknowledging the devastating impact of past decisions on our First Peoples, and moving towards genuine reconciliation,' she said.
'Of course many people have very different views on this issue, and above all, I'm keen to see an open and respectful conversation happen on how we move forward.'
‘Out of respect to all Aboriginal Australians I won’t be celebrating on January 26 this year. Instead, I’m proud to be joining Lidia Thorpe, the first Aboriginal woman to be elected to the Victorian Parliament, and other Victorian Greens at a commemorative event on the steps of Parliament House.’
Media contact: Alice Drew 0468 464 779