Over the past few years there’s been increasing concern that our national day of celebration could really find a better spot on the calendar. Dubbed ‘Invasion Day’ by activists wanting to change the date, the idea that the country shouldn’t be celebrating Britain’s forced integration with Aboriginal culture isn’t really a tough ask.
The controversy reached a peak this year when there were massive calls online for triple j to change the date of their Hottest 100 countdown. Since then the chatter has died down somewhat, and all-in-all there wasn’t any real change. Until now, as one WA council takes a very obvious stance on the whole debacle.
The city of Fremantle, Western Australia has moved their Australia Day celebrations to January 28th due to cultural sensitivities.
Speaking to the West Australian Herald, Mayor Brad Pettitt had this to say:
“We thought it was time to acknowledge it wasn’t a day of celebration for everybody and it was an opportunity for us to come up with a different format on a different day that could be truly inclusive.”
All the usual celebrations will still be going through – just two days behind the rest of the country. The decision from Pettitt and the City of Fremantle came after hearing the “loud and clear” attitudes of local Aboriginal elders. The message is this: the current Australia Day is not a day of celebration for everybody.
Whether or not this is heralded as the correct decision from the masses, it’s one of the first major acts of protest that will capture the public eye in this whole conversation. The rest of Australia is about to weigh in on this – get ready to watch the fireworks.