In defence of Australia Day

Tens of thousands joined the march calling for the date of Australia Day - January 26 - to be changed as it celebrates the arrival of white settlers and the beginning of injustices suffered by the country's disadvantaged Aborigines.

In a controversial move that has divided many, Fremantle council in the state of Western Australia cancelled its Australia Day festivities to respect Aboriginal sensitivities.

I respect people's right to mourn and even to claim that Australia Day celebrations are causing them grief, insult, and suffering.

"Invasion day" rally have been held around the country today.

Australia Day is being held annually on January 26, but a recent poll has indicated that most Indigenous Australians feel that it should be held on a different date.

It feels appropriate to me that we mark the day with time off.

Aborigines only gained citizenship in 1967 and a vote on whether to recognise Aborigines in the constitution as the country's first people has been on hold for years.

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said he did not support changing the date.

LGBTI Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices are often left out of important conversations in each of those communities, so we made a decision to ask three queer Indigenous voices how they feel about Australia Day.

'We understand on this day 229 years ago the coming of the First Fleet wreaked a awful impact on your people, your families, your culture, ' General Hurley said at the Thursday morning ceremony.

Many also call it Survival Day because it is a symbol of the resilience of Indigenous people.

Invasion Day march from Parliament House to Musgrave Park. For those objecting to Australia Day celebrations, I encourage you to consider the aforementioned problems and ask yourself: "How will changing the name or the date help those who are suffering most?"

Squandering whatever goodwill she may have garnered by not being Mike Baird, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters that there were more appropriate days to discuss changing the date, and added that she was "so disappointed" to hear about clashes with police.

I also call it Australia Day, not as an endorsement of it, but because it reflects what the day represents - the history of Australia is a violent one, there's no denying it! Aboriginal Australians, known as the "first Australians", are the oldest known civilisation on Earth. The NADC recognises that some people might have "mixed feelings about celebrating this day", so everyone should work towards being as inclusive as possible. Let's celebrate together, allowing others the freedom to express what it means to them.

  • Michelle Webb