The Australian Greens commend organisations and councils around the country who decided not to hold celebrations or official ceremonies on January 26.
“While Mr Morrison believes he can force Australians to celebrate a date that marks dispossession and violence, a growing number of Australians, councils and organisations around the country know that January 26 is a painful day for First Nations peoples and choose not to celebrate, Greens spokesperson on First Nations issues Senator Rachel Siewert said.
“First Nations peoples call January 26 Invasion Day, Day of Mourning and Survival Day and all Australians need to know why, but at the moment, the truth of our history is denied by many, including politicians.
“Here in WA I am proud to be part of a community that acknowledges that celebrating our country on January 26 excludes First Nations peoples and denies our shared history.
“Instead we have events like One Day and the dawn smoking ceremony put on by the Fremantle Council and strongly supported by the community.
“Many Australians know that First Nations peoples have been protesting and boycotting the many different forms Australia Day has taken for over a century and yesterday the Greens joined with First Nations peoples and their allies across Australia and attended Invasion Day rallies.
“The fact that the violence and dispossession of colonisation has not been formally acknowledged in the over 200 years of contemporary Australia, whether through the history we teach, in the Constitution or failure to negotiate formal treaty/ies or more representation of First Nations peoples in our Parliament means that First Nations peoples are often excluded from celebrating our nation.
“By refusing to participate in a day that marks dispossession and violence, as non-indigenous Australians, we acknowledge the truth about our shared history and we can be part of a movement for change.
“For everyone to be able to celebrate Australia we must first collectively acknowledge and come to terms with our shared history and address justice and healing through the Uluru Statement and an enshrined Voice to Parliament, close the gap, acknowledge sovereignty and negotiate treaties.
“We need to tell and acknowledge the truth about our history and address the contemporary consequences and intergenerational trauma that we are left with today.”