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Last hurrah for Australia Day?

Some Australians are preparing to celebrate the nation while others are gearing up to protest against the divisive holiday.
Some Australians are preparing to celebrate the nation while others are gearing up to protest against the divisive holiday. Jerad Williams

PLANS by some councils to mess around with the date of Australia Day celebrations seem to fly in the face of public opinion on the Northern Rivers.

The vast majority of readers on The Northern Star's Facebook page said they would be celebrating on January 26 as opposed to boycotting the national day.

Lismore City and Kyogle Council have added their voices to a chorus of local governments pressuring the Federal Government to change the date.

Campaigns to boycott the national public holiday by councils were met with retaliation from the government to revoke citizenship ceremonies.

Lismore City councillor Vanessa Ekins amended her Australia Day motion seeking to change the date after the threat was made to mayor Isaac Smith last September.

Part of the new motion involved consultation with its Aboriginal Advisory Group about what Australia Day means to indigenous Australians.

Cr Ekins said that consultation would help guide the council as it moved to break down stigma surrounding Australia Day celebrations.

"We've got a strategy in place. I'm hoping it will be different next year," she said.

January 26 is referred to by some as invasion day because it marks the First Fleet's arrival at Sydney Cove in 1788.

Bundjalung elder Aunty Nancy Walke said ceremonies around the country did not have sufficient recognition of the nation's first peoples.

She applauded Lismore City Council's move to consult with the community about the day.

"It's all right to stand here and say 'yes (the date) should change' but I guess what really needs to change is people getting together to have an honest and open dialogue about it," she said.

Yaegl man Dallas Waters said a new date would be "a step in the right direction" toward recognising "wrong-doings" of governments past.

Associate Professor Adele Wessell from Southern Cross University has completed her doctorate about Australia Day.

"To be honest, any day that marks a national event, there's always going to be some kind of tension," Dr Wessell said.

So why change the date? Dr Wessell said a new date incorporating more indigenous culture would serve as "a step forward in coming to terms with our history".

Meanwhile, Cr Ekins will join about 200 people in Invasion Day rallies at Lismore courthouse in three weeks time while others will be at the beach or at a council-held ceremony.

What you said

Bridget Reed: "We will be celebrating as a family and I have an aboriginal husband and children who don't have a problem with it so why should we. Yes it was a really terrible thing that happened in the past but can't we forgive and forget and celebrate all together as Australians what we all are".

Corey Outerbridge: "Celebrating...Australia Day will always be the 26th January, it's terrible what happened in the past but changing the day won't change the past history".

Justine Lucas: "I would like another public holiday in NAIDOC week. Then we can celebrate multicultural Australia as well as pay proper respect to ancestors. Just think a weekend where we could throw a corroboree BBQ, have a bush tucker menu and a theme that pays respect to the land".

Kurt Hamilton-Foster: "And I for one encourage this arguing about Australia Day, with the good old fashioned watertight argument that 'it's Aussie to celebrate being Aussie remembering that first time an Englishman stepped foot here and proclaimed himself Aussie, while actual Aussie's has their brains bashed in and tools stolen' - good old fashioned genocidal values vs young upstarts rocking the establishment's value systems with this weird idea that something is a bit fishy about this celebration".

Henry Luong: "We should alter this day to have a less controversial ceremony and more inclusive to everyone, America did it years ago and it works".

Steve Booth: "We live in Australia the luckiest country in the world, our predecessors may have done it the hard way but we are what we are from our past, no point chucking a hissy fit and carrying on like a pork chop enjoy our country an the privileges we take for granted, have a bbq, few beers, backyard cricket enjoy it, stop whinging ,day off respect oz or f--- off,hooroo".

Kim McLeay: "Working as per usual, no such thing as a public holiday anymore. Australia has become such a materialistic society people can not shop for one day. They think the world is going to end if a shop is shut for one day".

Karen Keys: "Controversy created by media with too much time on their hands. Slow news day today. Lets see what I can write from my desk without getting off my bum and still get clicks".

Margaret Schaar: "No, I rather celebrate earth day, everyday, every moment. All united sharing the all cultures and diversities, yet going back to the ancient elders, we are all one anyway".

Rocco Howard: "Aussie! Definitely celebratng my nation for what it is and will be. Maybe we should have a postal vote from the aboriginals to see what they think and not the ones who think they think for them? Maybe include those others that are actually born here too".

Tristan Jones: "Celebrating and remembering in respect. We dont change anzac day because of what happened on that day, we remember".

Peter Cheffins: "Well then northern star whats your view on the subject or are you just another gutless paper stirring the pot".

Sharon Eaton: "Celebrating ...if you don't want to celebrate on Australia Day ..don't ..easy peasy".

Tim McDonald: "I won't be celebrating.

It seems that those wanting to keep Australia Day on the 26th think that the rest of us hate Australia or something.

I love Australia! I just want to be inclusive and respectful to all Australians".

Kyle Mitchell: "Australia day is on the 26th, so we will be looking forward to that".

Kim Summers: "Celebrating! I love our wonderful country and am very happy to call it home".

Colin Chevalley: "Every year we go through this crap. Leave it alone and move on. The day is the day".

Marie Dudgeon: "Celebration and respecting our day. Bbq and pav"

Cheryle Sutherland Woolf: "Another stupid post that sets out to divide the nation. I will celebrate Australia Day on the 26th of January and always will".

Monica Wilcox: "Hoping the local bogans clean up their mess AFTER themselves"

Topics:  australia day general-seniors-news kyogle council lismore city council northern rivers community


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