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LAD Asks: Majority Of People Don't Want Australia Day Moved From January 26

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LAD Asks: Majority Of People Don't Want Australia Day Moved From January 26

With every rotation of the sun, it appears the calls for Australia Day to be moved to a different date grow louder.

What seemed like a fringe movement a few years ago has turned into a national conversation that puts people in either the 'yay' or 'nay' category.

Campaigners for #ChangeTheDate believe it's insensitive to have a public holiday and celebrate the moment that sparked countless Indigenous deaths and marked the beginning of a big racial divide in Australia.

Opponents reckon it's a time to not necessarily forget the past, but look at where we are now and focus on building national unity around the annual day.

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After polling LADbible Australia readers, it's clear the majority of people are keen for the January 26 date, which marks the arrival of the First Fleet into Sydney Harbour, to stay for now.

Nearly 8,500 people responded to the survey and 60 per cent were in favour of the date staying as is.

Many opposing the idea of changing the date believe Aussies need to rally around the date as a representation of what we are today and where we are heading.

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The vocal minority suggested changing Australia Day to the last Friday of January, the first Friday of February, May 8, and loads of other options.

One person even posited: "It's not as if we have too much history celebrating that date. And it's more of a date for Britain; it's the date the British flag was first planted in what was to become Australia. I think the day we became Australia would be a better day to celebrate."

During his Australia Day address, Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned against the idea of 'cancelling' the annual holiday.

He said it was important for all citizens to learn and understand the 'lessons of history' and highlighted that the 'dispossession and colonisation' of Australia caused serious issues.

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However, he also hit back against the idea that January 26 is rooted in the past.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

He wrote for the Herald Sun: "We have risen above our brutal beginnings. We have overcome, survived and thrived. As Australians, our fates have always been bound together.

"We do this, because in Australia we believe in the unique value of each Australian as individuals, rather than seeing or indeed allowing ourselves to be defined solely through the identity prism of our age, race, gender, ethnicity or religion."

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But he did point out that the reason January 26 is marked is because, for 'better and worse', it was when Australia was colonised.

"There is no escaping or cancelling this fact. For better and worse, it was the moment where the journey to our modern nation began,'' he said.

He has constantly resisted calls to change the date and urged everyone to focus on how they can better help the community.

An Indigenous Australian highlighted the reason why it should be changed in a viral Reddit thread.

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Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The healthcare worker touched on the idea that changing the date won't magically fix issues within Aboriginal communities.

"No one believes it's a magic bullet to fixing problem," they wrote. "It is a symbolic gesture. And symbolism is a powerful thing.

"The fact that so many people are so passionate about NOT changing the date shows the power of these symbolic gestures. Call it virtue signalling if you want, but how is it any different to ANZAC Day, or showing support for Farmers in drought or firefighters in Bushfires.

"While I don't doubt there's indigenous people that don't care about the date change, I've found that the overwhelming majority do."

Interestingly, Australia Day was only made a national holiday in 1994, meaning it's not really that embedded into our history.

While January 26 has always been the day we remember the First Fleet's arrival, the day off was organised by the states and territories and usually was on a Monday or Friday to ensure residents had a long weekend.

The conversation about when to hold the day and be proud of being Australian will likely continue for many years to come. It will be interesting to see whether support for #ChangeTheDate grows in time or continues to be a vocal minority.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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