Political leaders need to be serious about moving Australia Day to a date other than the 26th of January if they are serious about working towards genuine reconciliation with the Aboriginal community, Greens Leader and Aboriginal Affairs spokesperson Kim Booth MP said today.
“The Greens welcome the Premier’s commitment to placing Aboriginal land transfers back on the state table, but we also urge Mr Hodgman to have the courage to place on the national agenda the need to shift the Australia Day date,” Mr Booth said.
“Australia Day should be a day that all Australians can celebrate including Aboriginal Australians, but while it falls on the 26th of January that cannot occur.”
“It is an insult to expect Aboriginal people to celebrate a date that to their proud nation marks Invasion day, and which they rightly associate with dispossession, subjugation and loss of life.”
“A shift in our national celebration date would also be positive for non-Aboriginal Australians.”
“A new date would mean that the many non-Aboriginal Australians who are uncomfortable about celebrating on Invasion day, can celebrate without feeling compromised. Also the important citizenship ceremonies held on Australia Day could be truly celebratory for new Australians without the taint of Aboriginal dispossession.”
“The Greens support an alternative date being proposed out of respect for our fellow Aboriginal citizens, and as an important milestone along the road towards reconciliation for all Australians,” Mr Booth said.