Every year between the 18th to the 25th of January, Australia fiercely debate whether the date of Australia Day should be changed. The same arguments are presented each year, nothing ends up changing, and everyone loses interest by the 27th of January. So, should the date of Australia day be moved?
The date of Australia day is utterly irrelevant. All the fighting and bickering about the date detracts from the meaning of the day. If we want to move it to a day which is more significant and acknowledges the contribution of Aboriginals, that is fine. Let’s change it to May 9th when Australia became a Federation. Or May 27th, when indigenous Australians were Aboriginals were counted in the census. I have no problem with that. I have a problem with the back and forth debate which turns Australia Day into a meaningless day.
The date shouldn’t impact the meaning of Australia day. The day should be about celebrating Australia and acknowledging the past. This involves being thankful about living in a country with widespread access to food, water, shelter, education, healthcare, religion and employment. Moreover, acknowledging that the treatment of Aboriginals in the past has not been acceptable and that we must learn from the mistakes of previous generations.
Many people have decided to personally change the name of Australia day to invasion day. Why is this necessary? Yes, I understand that this is what occurred a couple of centuries ago, but why we can’t we call it ‘Australian Remembrance Day’ or ‘Aboriginal Acknowledgement Day’. The day is a celebration, and its name and meaning should be per that. Let’s use the day to celebrate the contribution of Aboriginal and non-aboriginal Australians to the advancement of Australia’s society. I believe that a strong political, media, community, and individual campaign can achieve this and transform Australia Day into an annual spectacle for all Australians.
Australia day should be a celebration and acknowledgement of Australia. Let’s stop arguing over details so that we don’t lose the meaning of the day altogether.
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