Aboriginal leader slams Australian council's decision to cancel Australia Day celebrations
| Last updated
Indigenous activist Nyunggai Warren Mundine has called an Australian council a ‘disgrace’ for cancelling Australia Day celebrations.
The Greens-led Merri-bek council in Melbourne’s north voted to abandon Australia Day citizenship ceremonies.
Instead, the date would become a day of mourning and acknowledging a painful part of history for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
But following the council’s decision, Mundine spoke to Sky News Australia and condemned the local government for ‘dictating’ what the day should be about.
He added: "Whether you like the date of Australia Day or not, the idea of Australia Day is to bring all Australians together and show the society that we have; the multiculturalism, the people who come from overseas and help make this country the economic powerhouse that it is, the service men and women who have been out there, the indigenous people, everyone, and the great institutions that we've got here.”
Last month, during a Senate estimate, it was revealed the Prime Minister didn’t receive legal advice from the Attorney-General’s department before announcing the question he plans to pose to the nation at a referendum, as per news.com.au.
Following the release of his draft question, Mundine told Sky News Australia: “They're saying this is good for Aboriginal people. You know what, I'm sick and tired of filthy rich people saying what is best for Aboriginal people.
“I've spent the last two months going out in regional and remote Australia, and I tell you what, the polling of Aboriginal people - from my polling - is not very supportive of the Voice.”
In August, Mundine denounced the idea of a Voice to Parliament, citing it would be nothing more than a ‘power grab’ used to control the lives of Indigenous people and suppress them.
He also noted that the government has had ample opportunity to extend a voice to the Indigenous community while stating they should just go ahead and legislate it.
He added: “If the vast array of councils, committees, coalitions and conferences over half a century haven’t delivered the outcomes Indigenous people want to see, what makes anyone think a Voice to Parliament will be any different simply because the power to create it sits in the constitution?”