LOCAL Tasmanian Greens MP Tim Morris has called for Australia Day celebrations to be shifted to a date other than January 26. In his capacity as acting leader of the Greens, Mr Morris said Australia Day should be a day on which all Australians can celebrate proudly, but this would never occur while it falls on a day which Aboriginal people regard as an occasion for mourning.
“It’s simply unfair to ask indigenous Australians to celebrate on the 26th of January, a date which they rightly associate with subjugation, dispossession and death,” Mr Morris said. “The Greens support the Aboriginal community’s campaign to choose a more appropriate date that could be celebrated by all Australians. Many non-indigenous Australians would also prefer to be able to celebrate our national day without feeling compromised by the date’s association with European invasion. It also means that the important citizenship ceremonies held on Australia Day could be truly celebratory, and not tainted by the legacy of Aboriginal dispossession.
“This is not about guilt or political correctness. It’s about acknowledging that, for Aboriginal Australians, January the 26th actually commemorates the first day of a long and bloody war against European invaders. Australia Day should commemorate a date that celebrates our optimism, our diversity and our political freedom. Some of the best potential dates for an Australian national celebration are yet to happen, like the day that we declare a republic or when the when Aboriginal people are recognised in the Constitution as the first custodians of this land.” Mr Morris said.