Australia Day Boss Says Moving The Date Away From January 26 Won’t Solve The Problem
The head of the Australia Day Council has hit back against calls to move the date from January 26 because she feels it won't solve the problem.
There's been an ever-growing chorus of people pleading for Australia Day to be on literally any other date in the calendar.
It recognises the moment back in 1788 when the First Fleet sailed into Port Jackson and serves as a painful reminder for First Nations people of the atrocities they have endured since then as a result of colonisation.
Tens of thousands of people rallied across Australia yesterday (January 26) to call for a change.
There have been plenty of suggestions raised about potential other days, but Karlie Brand reckons it should stay put.
The chief executive officer of the National Australia Day Council acknowledges how January 26 is a difficult day for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, however the country has to be united on this issue.
She explained to news.com.au: "It was extremely traumatic to them and to our country but it happened and the 26th is a symbol of some of those events but changing the date, I don't think solves the problem."
"It's raw but I think we should know about [our history].
"I think moving the day says to people 'it's no longer a problem' and I think that is a big mistake."
She said having Australia Day on January 26 allows everyone to recognise the atrocities of the past and hope for a better future for all Aussies.
Karlie added that if it was moved to another day then people might not think about the economic, social, political and cultural steps still needed to close the gap for First Australians.
That's why she said they have changed the way they approach the day to ensure that it's not focused on happiness and clanging a few beers together.
"We are reframing Australia Day," she said. "Pretending life is rosy is a way of dismissing our history, and if we dismiss history we can't grow together as one.
"Our history happened, it's important, changing the date is not going to make it go away."
She said there are numerous events that now happen on a local and state level where people get to express their culture and their history at official events.
Karlie hopes that Australia Day continues to evolve in the way it is recognised, but in her eyes it should stay on January 26.
"We can't have a national day and pretend it's going to happen if society doesn't engage," she concluded. "It's up to society to engage in the Australia Day they want.
"You can't be an observer and think that it's going to be what you want."
Featured Image Credit: Richard Milnes/Alamy Live News