Australia Day is fast approaching. It is more than just a national holiday but also a time for the country to reflect on what it means to be Australian. On January 26, Australians celebrate everything they love about their history, culture and traditions. However those on the left claim Australia Day is not a time of celebration but of mourning.
For the past 80 years, debate has raged on whether Australia Day celebrates the founding day of a nation or commemorates the massacre of natives who died in clashes with the British who arrived in Sydney Cove in 26 January 1788.
Although there is no accurate data on the number of natives killed during the colonization period, historian Henry Reynolds believes the figure would hover around 20,000.
At the very least, Australia has acknowledged this side of its founding with the promulgation of Sorry Day in 1998. Sorry Day is observed every May 26.
But there are interest groups in Australia who believe this is not enough. These interest groups that include politicians, musicians and celebrities have formed a movement to change the date of Australia’s founding. In fact, the hashtag #ChangeTheDate has been circulating.
For Australia’s Immigration Minister Alex Hawke, enough is enough:
“The national day should not be moved due to some elements of our history that we’re not proud of.”
Those who are pushing for a change in the date of Australia Day believe January 26 does not celebrate the nation’s founding but rather was an invasion; a colonization of a country by “white people”.
Hawke specifically identified the Green party as the group behind the #ChangeTheDate movement:
“I think if we did not have the Greens pushing that agenda, we would literally be hearing very little about this.”
Mayors from several Western Australia cities echoed the same sentiment as Hawke. They have congregated to push back against a campaign of the Greens party to rally the public to forego Australia Day celebrations.
Despite boastful claims from the Greens party that the group has enlisted star power to boost its anti-Australia Day campaign, the WA mayors said the group would be more helpful by ensuring services are delivered to ratepayers.
Several councils are in agreement that the matter of changing the founding date is best left to the Federal Government.
Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull released a video where he said he was “disappointed by those who want to change the date of Australia Day.”
Prominent business and indigenous leader Warren Mundine supports the call for changing the date of Australia Day. However, he shared the sentiments of PM Turnbull that the debates are divisive and should come to an end:
“It irritates me that every time it comes up, every year, you get the same old people coming out and arguing the same old cases, trying to divide the country when we should be actually trying to work together.”
Mundine called out the Greens party for politicizing an issue which should be under the domain of the Federal Government:
“If you want to make us feel good, then let’s start dealing with the unemployment, the health and education of Aboriginal people rather than dealing with this issue.”