Every year between the 18th to the 25th of January, Australia fiercely debate whether the date of Australia Day should be changed. The same arguments are presented each year, nothing ends up changing, and everyone loses interest by the 27th of January. So, should the date of Australia day be moved?

The date of Australia day is utterly irrelevant. All the fighting and bickering about the date detracts from the meaning of the day. If we want to move it to a day which is more significant and acknowledges the contribution of Aboriginals, that is fine. Let’s change it to May 9th when Australia became a Federation. Or May 27th, when indigenous Australians were Aboriginals were counted in the census. I have no problem with that. I have a problem with the back and forth debate which turns Australia Day into a meaningless day.

The date shouldn’t impact the meaning of Australia day. The day should be about celebrating Australia and acknowledging the past. This involves being thankful about living in a country with widespread access to food, water, shelter, education, healthcare, religion and employment. Moreover, acknowledging that the treatment of Aboriginals in the past has not been acceptable and that we must learn from the mistakes of previous generations.

Many people have decided to personally change the name of Australia day to invasion day. Why is this necessary? Yes, I understand that this is what occurred a couple of centuries ago, but why we can’t we call it ‘Australian Remembrance Day’ or ‘Aboriginal Acknowledgement Day’. The day is a celebration, and its name and meaning should be per that. Let’s use the day to celebrate the contribution of Aboriginal and non-aboriginal Australians to the advancement of Australia’s society. I believe that a strong political, media, community, and individual campaign can achieve this and transform Australia Day into an annual spectacle for all Australians.

Australia day should be a celebration and acknowledgement of Australia. Let’s stop arguing over details so that we don’t lose the meaning of the day altogether.

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14 thoughts on “Australia Day Controversy

  1. Hello!
    I can remember a time when Australia Day was barely acknowledged at all. It was – as it still is – the unofficial end of the Christmas holiday season. The Governor General would make a speech somewhere and possibly kiss a baby or shake an old Digger’s hand, and that was about it.
    The protests began around the time of the Bicentenary. ANZAC Day had already become a target fro protesters a few years before that. Soldiers were accused of being rapists. That didn’t last too long. But the protests and ‘invasion day’ marches have apparently become a permanent fixture.
    Perhaps the day should be changed. I’m doubtful though that any move would satisfy the protesters. When they cheer a sentiment like ‘F**k Australia, let it burn to the ground’, it doesn’t seem likely that they’re really interested in anything except protesting.
    But if the day was changed, I would suggest March 22 – birthday of Neville Bonner, the first aboriginal Australian to sit in federal parliament.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for your comment! Yes, I feel protestors will always find another way to dispute something about the day, hm. That sounds like a great option! I think if we can find a day which is more appropriate, I am not opposed to that decision.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent post. I agree with you. We should acknowledge Australia has some terrible moments in its past, but there are also wonderful achievements that should be celebrated. We are all Australian. 🙂🇦🇺 I like what Jacinta Price says “When asked if her position ignores the violence that followed colonisation, Ms Price argued that celebrating Australia Day on January 26 doesn’t take away from the country’s forceful settlement.

    “I don’t think it ignores the brutality, I think we definitely have to recognize that. I think what is being ignored are the loving relationships between black and white. Again, I think it’s important to understand it all, but to celebrate the fact that my mum’s Walpiri and my dad’s a white man and I’m a product of reconciliation in this country.

    “It doesn’t mean that I’m ignoring the fact that there was brutality. I’m just celebrating love, and love is love, I’m lead to believe. And I think love should conquer and I believe there’s a lot of it throughout this nation.

    “I believe there’s a lot of goodwill toward Aboriginal people, from not only the white community, but also the multicultural community, and that is what we should be taking advantage of, and creating an understanding, and hearing the many different voices that are involved. I’ve never said that we should ignore brutality at all, but understand all of it.” https://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/nitv-news/article/2018/01/26/jacinta-price-people-arent-celebrating-fact-aboriginal-people-have-suffered

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Love is love, no matter how you look at. That is true.
    I’ve never really seriously thought about if we should change the day we celebrate Australia Day on. But here’s a question that needs to be put to the table, is one day enough to celebrate the love for your country? Especially if you take into account Australians love a day off and it took more then just federation for Australia to become Australia.
    Important acts along the highway that led to Australia included the adoption of The Westminster Act I believe October 9 1942 gained legislative independence from the United Kingdom.
    February 14 1966 Australia gained its own currency.
    I don’t remember the exact date but it wasn’t till the 80’s until you could no longer appeal to the Queen’s privy council in Australia.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your comment and sharing your perspective! I think we should celebrate living in a country like this everyday. Unfortuantely, not all people in this world enjoy the same freedoms as we do. What do you think about a remembrance/acknowledgment day and a celebration day?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I honestly don’t know, but a day of celebration and of remembrance under the umbrella of an “Australia Day” is about as middle of the road you can be without being hit by both lanes of traffic.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I think your opinion piece starts with the recognition of the inherent contradictions between a day of celebration for some and a day of sorrow for others. I think the date has to be changed. Those who refuse to countenance change often tend to deny the cruelty and injustice of the past. More and more of us are unable to celebrate on a day that recalls such pain. A search of my blog will show other poems responding to January 26th. (PS re Jacinta Price’s comment: I lived among the Warlpiri in a remote community; Australia Day was not celebrated, but they certainly felt the pain of dispossession and massacre,)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand the contradiction between a day of celebration and sorrow, but I still think those two contrasting ideas can be reconciled. However, I agree that by changing the date, it is a physical movement which can help to change the minds and perspectives of many people.


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