Changing the date of Australia’s national celebration from 26 January is the key to resetting the national reconciliation process, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) said today.
NSWALC chair Roy Ah-See said any celebration of what it means to be Australian must include Australia’s First Peoples.
‘For Aboriginal people, 26 January is an annual reminder of our dispossession, discrimination and exclusion,’ Cr Ah-See said.
‘Every year, a growing number of Australians are also becoming increasingly uneasy about holding a national celebration on 26 January.’
Cr Ah-See said the debate about changing the date would not disappear and he urged political and community leaders to initiate a process towards a more suitable celebration of Australia.
‘You would be hard-pressed to find people more patriotic about Australia than its First Peoples.
‘We’ve cared for this country for more than 60,000 years and we’ve played a major part in Australia’s success.
‘We’re not saying don’t celebrate – we want a celebration but on a day that we can all be comfortable with.
‘Change the date and we’ll be the first to RSVP.’