Should We Change the Date of “Australia Day”?

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Australia Day is a public holiday held throughout the country on January 26, although celebrated as a wondrous occasion by many, it actually portrays the arrival of the First Fleet convict flotilla at Botany Bay, 1788. European settlers dispossessed the traditional owners of Australia, for this reason many Indigenous people refer to it as “Invasion Day” or “Survival Day.” As Professor Dodson agrees “We have to have a date that’s more inclusive than January 26.” The changing of the date of Australia Day would broadcast our sincerity and hope for reconciliation for what the first settlers committed. To many Australians, Australia Day is just another day off. Therefore, Australia Day should be changed to a more appropriate date that truly represents Australians at our finest.

The First Fleet is nothing to celebrate about. January 26, 1788 was the last day Indigenous Australians were the sole custodians of their land. White settlers overrode the land they had been protecting for over 60,000 years. For Indigenous Australians, Australia Day is not a time of celebration, but a time of lamentation and mourning. Every year when Australia Day is celebrated on January 26, only reminds Indigenous Australians of when the invasion happened. When the First Fleet arrived, so did disease and firepower that killed many local Aboriginals. Why would we as Australians want to remember how many of our ancestors arrived after a hellish nine-month journey in inhumane conditions aboard prison ships from Britain? It really sounds like a joyous trip, one for the family journal. Arriving in Australia is not celebration for them, in any case, it would signify their banishment from their homeland. Hence, January 26 is not a suitable date for the celebration of Australia Day. Changing Australia Day’s date would help strengthen the broken bonds between Indigenous Australians and white Australians. On 13 February 2008, Former Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd apologised to all Indigenous Australians...
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