The Informer: January 26: the debate about the date

January 26 is referred to as Invasion Day by a large number of Australians. Picture: Jamila Toderas
January 26 is referred to as Invasion Day by a large number of Australians. Picture: Jamila Toderas

To change the date or to not change the date? That is the question.

In recent years, the lead-up to Australia Day has been widely debated about whether January 26 is the most appropriate day to celebrate our great nation.

For some, it's a public holiday. Perhaps a social barbecue with obligatory Australian flag thrown in. For others, it's more meaningful and reflective about its historical significance.

Around the country, many will attend events on Tuesday, either in-person or virtually. Thousands are expected to protest in Invasion Day rallies, while others will acknowledge the generations of suffering with Survival Day events.

For historical context about the date - Australia Day has been held on January 26 since 1946, a year when our First Nations people were very much still fighting for civil rights. Prior to this, states and territories had been commemorating the day since 1935, but with names like Anniversary Day and Foundation Day.

Today, we are comprised of rich and diverse cultures, who view Australia Day in different ways. While the jury is still out on whether the date should be changed, most agree it's about celebrating all of our cultures.

In regional areas who have embraced this inclusion, some have called for Australia Day to be a day where people can recognise the importance of "modern Australia".

They say with a greater understanding of Australia's history, the opportunity was there for communities across the nation to discuss what the future of a national day looks like.

A Yubo poll (a French social platform popular with Generation Z) surveyed 5000 users' attitudes to Australia Day, with 53.6 per cent of respondents believing the date should be changed.

Another 34.7 per cent of those surveyed want the date to remain and 11.7 per cent were unsure.

Whether the date will change in years to come will depend on future governments to act together for another solution.

Emily Sweet is the head of engagement for ACM.

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