Aboriginal IssuesEditorialOpinion

New national day?

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has raised the notion of a new national day for recognition of Indigenous culture – on the condition that January 26 remain our national holiday.

Despite a growing consensus pointing out the painful associations of January 26, endured by First Peoples as a date commemorating invasion, destruction of land and language, appropriation of culture and natural resources, the Prime Minister seems oblivious. Early 19th-century names for January 26 included Foundation Day and Anniversary Day, and it wasn’t until 1818 that the name Australia Day was first used officially. The SSH would not be the first to suggest naming January 26 First Fleet Day – giving consideration to various perspectives and remembrance. A national holiday to celebrate genuine reconciliation – consultation, Makarata, justice – is something we can work towards. In the meantime, there’s the first Friday in July – perhaps a public holiday in NAIDOC Week?

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