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Byron Shire
May 23, 2024

Australia/Invasion Day controversy continues at Ballina

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A previous Ballina Shire Australia Day Ceremony, with musicians Narelle Harris, Dean Doyle and Katie Rutledge.

Last month’s Ballina Council meeting saw a decision to move the Australia Day Awards and Citizenship Ceremony, to be held at Lennox Head Cultural Centre, from the controversial date of 26 January 2024, to the evening of 25 January. This amendment to an earlier motion was moved by Cr Simon Chate with the support of Cr Stephen McCarthy.

Two conservative councillors allied with Mayor Sharon Cadwallader, Nigel Buchanan and Eva Ramsey, were absent from the meeting when this decision was made. These two councillors, along with Cr Rod Bruem, have since announced that they intend to launch a motion of rescission at this week’s meeting, to return the local ceremony date to 26 January.

As Cr Simon Chate told The Echo, ‘The recission motion is likely to succeed as they have the numbers, with Cr Eoin Johnston and Mayor Cadwallader’s casting vote.

Ballina Cr Simon Chate. Photo David Lowe.

‘There has been strong emailed support from the community for the change of date to the more inclusive and welcoming 25th of January and only a handful of emails supporting the January 26 date,’ he said.

‘In my opinion, if this rescission motion is successful (and barring a miracle, it will be), this is a real lost opportunity for Ballina Council to show compassion and cultural sensitivity to the pain felt amongst many of our First Nations people and their supporters around the January 26 date.’

Simple gesture

According to Cr Chate, ‘Such a simple gesture, to move the awards ceremony forward by about 15 hours, would make our ceremony open, inclusive and welcoming. To rescind it would be narrow-minded and unkind.

‘At every meeting, we stop for an acknowledgement of country and for Council to move the ceremony back to the 26th of January seems dismissive and culturally insensitive.’

Cr Chate suggests that people who agree that the issue is important should contact their councillors. The rescission motion will be debated at this Thursday’s meeting in Ballina.

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  1. I can’t believe that the absent council members would be so disrespectful towards thie First Nations constituents as to support a recission motion.

    • Can’t believe these two councillors would be so disrespectful as to push their agenda when not all councillors were present to vote on such an issue. ALL ratepayers deserve to be represented. Councillor Chate suggesting people contact him is a joke. He doesn’t bother replying to emails or texts of residents seeking assistance on other issues.

  2. Poor reporting by David Lowe, giving Councillor Tate’s opinion alone.
    I am one who opposes moving to 25th January to suit a few who believe in woke agendas of weak fabricated creation.

    • What’s wrong with being woke? Really people bandy this word around without knowing it’s meaning. Richard do you not care or be aware of those around you?

  3. I wonder how many people really know what January 26th celebrates. Hint – it’s not the day Cook arrived.

    Even if you don’t think it is an insult to the indigenous population, I can’t see why you’d want to celebrate the inhumanity of dragging across the sea in chains, shiploads of prisoners who were overcrowding the prisons back home – often simply trying to survive grinding poverty of a class ridden society.

    Please yourself, but it always struck me as tragic.

  4. What a beautiful opportunity for inclusion, I hope those who have jumped to rescind this motion take pause to consider at this time in history particularly, which side of history they wish to be on. Inclusion means acknowledging the daily lived experiences of all Australians, and to acknowledge the suffering that occurred on that date especially, is significant and important and something so simple to deliver.

    • Inclusion apparently to some means exclusion of the majority of the population. Australia Day was instituted to celebrate as a nation. Perhaps you should research its origins – nothing to do with settlement at all but when we actually became a nation instead of separate states.

  5. What is Ausralia day ? A day to sit down and reflect on historical fact ….whether it be good or bad , we at at this point in time all Australians…it does t matter which day it is …it could be the 1st of January to recognise when Australia became a nation via a constitution ….and under this constitution all are equal especially shown by 1967 referendum alteration … and a franchise of law that saw refendum in 1946 result create a trust account for pensions just after ww2 ..that I believe was closed in 1950 a d now goes to consolidated revenue …Aussies have shown beautiful hearts with this referendum and in later times Bush fires and floods …it is a beautiful country that we should be able to enjoy freely ….


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