Some Media and Other Reflections on January 26th

With January 26th now behind us, it’s worth reflecting on the last 6 months of discussion and debate. While it has been more polarising and divisive than any of us would have liked, I believe that Fremantle in its own small way has been part of an emerging national conversation on finding a better date/day to celebrate what it is that unites us all as Australians.

What has been especially important is seeing the widening range of voices talk about the need for change.

Former Coalition MP and cabinet minister Ian Macfarlane yesterday came out “pushing for Australia to scrape off the “barnacle” of Australia Day being marked on January 26.”

http://thenewdaily.com.au/news/national/2017/01/26/ian-macfarlane-australia-day-date/

We also had Tasmanian Governor Kate Warner publically state “Australians should consider changing the date of Australia Day to better reflect the concerns of the country’s Aboriginal population”.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-26/tasmanian-governor-favours-australia-day-date-change/8215072

We also had the Guardian Australia come out in support of changing the date saying “This is not a date that unifies Australians. In fact it’s hard to think of a worse date for a party that is supposed to include us all”:

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2017/jan/25/the-guardian-view-on-australia-day-change-the-date

Even the New York Times ran a piece on it:

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/opinion/white-australians-celebrate-aboriginal-people-mourn.html 

Of course Barnaby Joyce and our Premier weren’t quite so supportive!

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-01-26/australia-day-critics-should-crawl-under-a-rock-barnaby-joyce/8214446

Importantly there is now a worthwhile and important conversation underway (Brendan Foster’s latest opinion piece sums this up in his amusing style:

http://www.watoday.com.au/comment/lets-talk-about-australia-day-no-im-bloody-serious-20170125-gtypms.html).

How it will evolve from here and what date or day will be seen as better is anyone’s guess but I did enjoy Australian comedian Jordan Raskopoulos brilliantly cheeky solution: “I say it every year but can we just have Australia Day on May 8? May8? M8! Maaaaaate,”

https://www.facebook.com/junkeedotcom/videos/1143439659101830/

Where ever it ultimately lands, my sense is that many Australians will now look at January 26th in quite a different light as a result of this debate and most importantly there has been a growing understanding and respect for the views of Australia’s first people in this emerging conversation.

Hopefully see you all at One in Fremantle tomorrow afternoon.

 

 

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

4 Responses to Some Media and Other Reflections on January 26th

  1. freoview says:

    It is a debate we need to have in Australia without making it a political one. respect for all history does not belittle the achievements made by so many people, so there is no need to be defensive or aggressive out it. Australia Day will and should always been celebrated, but is there a more appropriate date to do so?

    Roel Loopers

  2. Changing the date wont change an historic fact and by refusing to acknowledge that fact wont make it go away. The council has already divided its own rate payers by having its own day while the rest of Australia celebrates on the 26. My view is that this State should celebrate our own Foundation day but that too has been changed to WA day to appease those who seem to be constantly offended and blame colonisation on all their ills no matter how long ago it was .Divided we are now and will continue to be until certain parties move on but that wont happen for a very long time as the anger and hatred against us so called invaders runs deep in some it seems.

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