Federal Member for Page Kevin Hogan said he would hold his own Australia Day Citizenship and Awards Ceremony in Lismore if the Lismore City Council council scraps Australia Day celebrations on January 26.
At its last meeting, the council passed a motion from Greens councillor Vanessa Ekins to lobby the Federal Government and local members to change the date of Australia Day. The motion passed 7-3, with Crs Greg Bennett, Nancy Casson, and Gianpiero Battista voting against.
Cr Ekins also wanted the council to identify more appropriate dates for citizenship ceremonies, and to work toward culturally inclusive Australia Day celebrations.
‘Although Australia Day marks the anniversary of the 1788 first fleet’s arrival in Botany Bay this date is known to many Australians as Invasion Day and Survival Day,’ Cr Ekins argues.
‘The 26 January only became a national holiday in 1994 (younger than the hottest 100) and changing the date will be a significant symbolic act.
‘If Australia Day is a day for all Australians, let’s choose a day when all Australians can celebrate.
She suggested May 8. To find out why, watch https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tV57_pRGToU’
But Mr Hogan has issued a statement saying ‘I don’t support changing the date for Australia Day’..
‘I will hold my own Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony on the 26th of January if Lismore City Council changes the date.
‘Australia Day is a wonderful day of celebration for our country. It is a day we acknowledge the First Australians and their wonderful history and spiritual connection to our land. It is also a day we celebrate the successful multicultural society we are.
‘Wrongs have been done, but the day is a celebration of all that we have to be grateful for.”
Lismore’s bid to change Australia Day follows a decision by the Yarra City Council in Melbourne to to move its traditional citizenship and citizen-of-the-year award ceremonies from January 26 to another date out of respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
It will also cease to refer to January 26 as Australia Day and officially join the change-the-date campaign in its publications and social media.The move by the Greens-dominated council angered Canberra, which on Wednesday stripped the power of Yarra Council officers to hold a citizenship ceremony at any time of the year.
Yarra Mayor Amanda Stone says the council does not believe it is in breach of the citizenship ceremonies code and is seeking a meeting with the government.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the council’s decision to change the way it commemorates the day was “utterly out of step” with Australian values.
‘On Australia Day, we recognise the greatness of our achievement as Australians,’ Mr Turnbull said in parliament on Wednesday.
‘To change the date would be to turn our back on Australian values.’