Australia Day date changed by Fremantle council

Freemantle has a controversial new date for Australia Day

There’s been a heated debate about the political correctness of celebrating Australia Day on a day considered to be a difficult for indigenous Australians and the Fremantle city council has taken heed of that, changing the date of the celebration.

The West Australian has revealed that the local Fremantle council will hold off on the Australia Day celebrations, instead opting for a fireworks-free “culturally inclusive” event that will be hosted on the 28th of January.

The council said that the change was made after growing discomfort from the community to celebrate on such a devising date.

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Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettit told 720 ABC radio that the decision to hold off on celebrating on the 26th of January was influenced by discussions with the local indigenous community.

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“At the heart of it, it came down to some conversations quite a few of us had with local Aboriginal people in Fremantle,” he said.

“For them there was a real sense that Australia Day is not a day of celebration for everybody, in fact, for them it is a day of sadness and in many ways, a day that marks the start of much of their dispossession.”

While some locals embrace the Australia Day date change, others have taken to social media to express their concern.

“Brad Pettitt has done more to cause divisiveness than Australia day ever did,” says Andy.

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“I can’t understand how a national day that is a public holiday can be changed by one city. Surely this is set by officials of the country. I know Freo like to be different and it is a fab city but this is a strange one,” Mandy added.

Jen agreed, saying: “Freo people, if you have half a brain you will celebrate on Australia Day and boycott the Freo Shire ‘celebrations’. Just. Don’t. Go. Easy.”

Others applaud the local council’s decision and appreciate that the day has a very different meaning for indigenous Australians.

“Good to see that at least some of the politicians have a care about our first nations peoples. I’m fifth generation Australian, been in Freo for 4 generations, I reckon its great! 28th Jan is a better day with no negativity attached,” says Veronica.

“There is no need to be culturally insensitive and celebrate the day white people came here and started to slaughter the first nations peoples. Better to have a day with no negative connotations and everyone can celebrate being Australian without rancour.”

What do you think about the date change? Let us know in the comments section below.

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