Hard line on Australia Day date
ROGUE councils threatening to scrap Australia Day celebrations on January 26 will be forced to stick to the date, with the Federal Government declaring: “There will be no more warnings.”
NSW’s Byron Shire Council had warned it would follow the lead of two Victorian councils – Darebin and Yarra – to move celebrations to a different day out of respect for indigenous Australians. The Government stripped the two Greens-dominated councils in Melbourne’s north of their right to hold citizenship ceremonies.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned Byron Shire Council it would also be banned from hosting ceremonies.
The Government then wrote to all 538 local councils, issuing a November 2 deadline to decide whether they would hold celebrations on January 26 and warning a failure to do so could be in breach of the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code, which states they are considered non-commercial, apolitical, bipartisan and secular.
No councils declared plans to shift celebrations, including Byron Shire.
Immigration Minister David Coleman said Australia Day is our day of national celebration.