Sydney Council Proposes To Scrap Australia Day Plans
As we get closer to the new year, we all know that will mean another big Australia Day.
However, Sydney's Inner West Council has proposed to ditch the usual flag waving and opt for something more in keeping with the traditional owners of the land.
Under the suggestion, the council wants to still hold citizenship ceremonies, however all the other celebrations will be moved to another date to make way for an Aboriginal festival called Yabun.
Yabun is held on January 26, the same as Australia Day, and is 'the largest one day gathering and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in Australia'.
Mayor Darcy Byrne told the ABC: "Australians are becoming more aware of the very deep hurt that is caused to Aboriginal people when January 26th is held up as our national day.
"We'll continue to hold our citizenship celebration and it will be a beautiful one, and we will seek to incorporate the voices of Aboriginal people.
"This is to send a clear message to the community that we think January 26th should be a day of solemn commemoration rather than jingoistic celebration."
The council was going off a survey conducted at this year's ceremony to see what the attitudes were on the big day. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, most of the people who responded were against the idea of celebrating the day.
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Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton declared earlier this year that councils that wouldn't hold citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day would lose their right to hold them altogether.
The proposal at Sydney Inner West Council doesn't have the support of Independent councillor Victor Macri.
"The community is diverse and we should be trying to engage as many people as we can, not alienating...all the people that go down to this festival in our local government area," he told the ABC.
"It highlights the differences in people rather than showing them how to come together as one.
"To try and make people conform into some military-type democracy, where everyone has to think and feel the same way, it doesn't work."
If the plan goes ahead, it would follow a Tassie council that, earlier this year, made the same move.
Launceston City Council will have its Australia Day the day before on January 25.
While there were some people who were upset at the decision, Launceston's Mayor wants people to accept that the new date will be enforced for years to come.
Mayor Albert van Zetten said: "I really encourage all our members [of the community], especially those that feel Australia Day has to be on the 26th, to have a look at the history, understand what really happened on that day and how it affected some people."
Featured Image Credit: PA