Malcolm Turnbull recently released a short video with his thoughts on Australia Day. In it he says …
“Australia Day is a day to come together and celebrate what unites us.”
A thought I wholeheartedly endorse. But he also says …
“I’m disappointed by those who want to change the date of Australia Day, seeking to take a day that unites Australia and Australians and turn it into one that would divide us”
… which is just nonsensical.
26 January marks a day when Europeans arrived on these shores to inhabit this land, and in doing so radically affected the indigenous peoples already occupying the continent. The newcomers of 1788 came with a mix of good, evil, and indifferent attitudes towards the native peoples. They also undeniably brought disease, death, dispossession, and decline to the indigenous peoples. And for this reason, 26 January can never be a date that unites all Australians.
Malcolm Turnbull is 100% wrong when he says that those who want to change the date are being divisive – it is those who want to maintain 26 January as Australia Day who are perpetuating division.
Let’s change the date, so that all Australians can celebrate Australia Day together.