CELEBRATE: Australia Day should be a celebration for all Australians, says Kathy Sundstrom.
CELEBRATE: Australia Day should be a celebration for all Australians, says Kathy Sundstrom. Warren Lynam

Yes, it is time to move Australia Day

ON January 26, 10 years ago, I pledged allegiance to Australia in a packed community hall in Buderim

The date was particularly special because it happens to be my birthday and I'm not joking when I say this was a consideration when choosing whether to move to Australia or New Zealand.

The idea of having a public holiday on your birthday was pretty neat.

Only recently have I become aware of the controversy around the date and how a national day of celebration offends many.

I don't know how happy I would be if every year a public holiday was held to celebrate the day my ancestors lost their independence.

It seems ironic every public event starts with a reflection on the Indigenous owners of the land and yet a debate about moving Australia Day's date gets silenced because it's inconvenient.

I was married on the last Republic Day in South Africa - May 31, 1994.

It was also a public holiday, but with Nelson Mandela coming into power and the ANC forming government, this date had too many bad memories associated with it.

Yet its history was arguably less controversial as it dated back to the Boer War and a fight between the British and the Afrikaner, not the original landowners.

We lost a public holiday to celebrate our wedding, but our nation moved beyond a politically sensitive point.

We moved into a new era, aimed at started a new history of inclusiveness.

And everyone seemed to quickly move on and not fuss that May 31 had been a public holiday for nearly 100 years.

Australia Day should be about celebrating all Australians, particularly those who were here first.

Changing the date is not changing our history, it's about embracing the future.

And too bad if my birthday is on a work day.


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