SA Liberal party has announced a plan to force that local government to observe Australia Day and perform citizenship ceremonies on January 26th.
As South 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. It’s not that hard to have a debate and to one day change the date. In fact, the notion of ‘Australia day’ has only been observed since 1994 across all States and Territories and has been recognised as a day of mourning for far longer than that!
Holding an Australia Day celebration on what is also known as Invasion Day or Survival Day is inherently divisive, so it’s time we changed the date. January 26 requires us to completely forget what the day really commemorates: the First Fleet’s arrival at Port Jackson in 1788, and Arthur Phillip’s raising of the Union Jack on the land of the Eora nation.
By forgetting that historical moment, we ignore that today is the anniversary of the beginning of an invasion, and the subsequent killing, colonising, dispossessing, converting, “protecting”, assimilating and discriminating. These things cause intergenerational pain.
By changing the law to stop us ever changing the date the SA Liberals will entrench that pain in stone.
All Australians should be able to participate in our national celebration, a day of celebration not of mourning, and moving it away from January 26 is not even that difficult.
Legislating to make it January 26 is just not necessary. It will shut down debate and deepen the division.
Join us in this call for ‘Australians All’ to find a date that heals not hurts.