Cassy O’Connor MP | Greens' Leader and Aboriginal Affairs spokesperson
The Turnbull Government is trying to bully Tasmanian councils into bending to the conservatives' ideological will and refusal to respect the pain felt by the First People every 26 of January.
There is a strong and growing movement to change the date of Australia Day, among Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Tasmania.
To Tasmania's first people, 26 January is not a day to celebrate. It is a day of mourning and commemoration of what has been lost to Aboriginal Australians.
Each year, more and more non-Aboriginal Tasmanians stand with the palawa to call for a change of date, to a date all Australians can celebrate.
A number of Tasmanian councils have responded sensitively and with courage. They should be commended for simply doing the right thing and changing the dates for citizenship ceremonies to ensure no further pain is caused to the first Tasmanians.
The Liberals in Canberra are behaving like ideological thugs, sending threatening letters to every council in Tasmania. This has Senator Abetz's fingerprints all over it.
Flinders, Kingborough, Hobart and Launceston City Councils are on the right side of history, while the Federal Liberals seem determined to deny the truth of this nation's human story and deny local government the right to acknowledge that truth in the timing of their citizenship ceremonies.