Today, the Yarra City council in Melbourne announced its decision to stop referring to January 26 as Australia Day and to cease holding any citizenship ceremonies on that day from 2018.
Australia Day: Is January 26 appropriate?
“People can still have their barbecues and parties on the January 26 public holiday, but I hope our stance encourages people to stop and think about what this date really means in the history of our nation,” City of Yarra Mayor Amanda Stone said.
Read more: ANZAC Day is no time to celebrate
Having grown up celebrating Australia Day with my family, yet also being close friends with an indigenous pair of siblings, I recognise the dilemma caused the tradition of celebrating every year and the pain that it causes the traditional owners of our land.
This decision has caused a significant backlash around Australia, including from Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
“On Australia Day we celebrate what’s great about our wonderful nation,” he said.
“This is an attack on Australia Day and a repudiation of the values the day celebrates: freedom, a fair go, mateship and diversity.”
It has been argued that Australia Day is important to celebrate the Australian culture of mateship and camaraderie, however, couldn't that be done on a more empathetic day?
Is the celebration of Australian culture and mateship really worth alienating our traditional land owners and reminding them of the pain that was caused to their ancestors many years ago?
I love Australian culture, but surely there is another day we could celebrate it!
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