De­bate on Aussie Day date

Na­tion up in arms about a change from Jan­uary 26

Balonne Beacon - - NEWS - Sarah Diony­sius sarah.diony­sius@west­ern­

SUP­PORT is grow­ing across the na­tion to move Aus­tralia Day from Jan­uary 26.

How­ever, Mara­noa MP David Lit­tleproud is quite set on the date stay­ing ex­actly how it is. Mr Lit­tleproud says it’s a day where we recog­nise the re­mark­able na­tion we’ve be­come, wel­come new Aus­tralians into our com­mu­nity and it’s a date that will not change.

“We all recog­nise our his­tory’s chal­lenges but on Aus­tralia Day, we also recog­nise the great­ness of our achieve­ments.

“Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion is about chang­ing at­ti­tudes, not try­ing to bury our his­tory with a date change.”

Mr Lit­tleproud’s call to keep Aus­tralia Day came after Mel­bourne’s Yarra Coun­cil voted unan­i­mously to change the way it marks Jan­uary 26, from 2018 on­wards.

“Some are try­ing to use Aus­tralia Day – a day which unites us – into a day to di­vide us,” he said.

“Each bush com­mu­nity in Mara­noa ac­knowl­edges Aus­tralia Day – whether it’s a thong throw­ing com­pe­ti­tion, lam­ing­ton mak­ing classes and cit­i­zen­ship of new Aus­tralians, it’s a day which brings the com­mu­nity to­gether.

“I rep­re­sent won­der­ful com­mu­ni­ties, large and small, across more than 42% of Queensland and each Aus­tralia Day event com­mences with an ac­knowl­edge­ment or wel­come to coun­try be­cause we re­spect our First Aus­tralians – the old­est hu­man civil­i­sa­tion in the world. Aus­tralia Day isn’t try­ing to forget about the past – it re­mem­bers where we’ve come from, cel­e­brates our achieve­ments and looks to­wards a fu­ture of who we would like to be­come.”

Sev­eral “all in­clu­sive” dates have been thrown up as pos­si­ble al­ter­na­tives to Jan­uary 26.

Some options are:

Jan­uary 1 – our Fed­er­a­tion day and also New Year’s Day.

May8– be­cause it sounds like Mate. It’s close to Easter and An­zac Day, mean­ing a good run of long week­ends and pub­lic hol­i­days.

May 27 – the date of 1967 ref­er­en­dum when more than 90% of Aus­tralians voted to change the Con­sti­tu­tion to in­clude Abo­rig­ines as recog­nised cit­i­zens.

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