Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has welcomed City of Yarra getting behind changing the date for Australia Day, with citizenship ceremonies moved to another day and the council not referring to January 26 as Australia Day.
“Our First Australians have been saying for a long time that January 26 is a day of pain because it is historically the day of invasion.
“The Federal Government has forced local councils to take matters into their own hands because they are terrified of moving the day so that all are included in celebrating wonderful Australia.
“The City of Yarra is bravely following the footsteps of the City of Fremantle in efforts to change the date and there will no doubt be backlash from those who do not want change.
Australian Greens MP for Melbourne Adam Bandt, who’s electorate includes the City of Yarra, said:
“The Federal Government is now bullying the City of Yarra for this decision by banning them from conducting citizenship ceremonies, but I urge the council to stick to its decision. Do not be intimidated.
“This has come after months of consultation with local Aboriginal leaders and it is the right thing to do.
“What I would say to those opposing is that we are an inclusive and kind country and moving Australia Day to a day where all are welcome is only a good thing. It’s time everyone got behind it”.