Councils could urge date change
The peak body for councils may push to change the date of Australia Day.
The National General Assembly of Local Government has passed a resolution to encourage Australian councils to consider lobbying the Federal Government to change the date of recognition.
The motion was put forth by Hobart City Council, and was supported 64 votes to 62.
Hobart Alderman Sue Hickey said it was encouraging.
“There is a growing momentum that the 26th of January is not representative of who we are as Australians and it is certainly not inclusive of the first people,” she said.
“There were different dates thrown around like, the date of Federation [January 1], May 8 which rhymes with mate.”
The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) board will consider the resolution at a meeting next month.
Alderman Hickey said she believed the Federal Government would take the approach seriously.
“Local government is the closest level of government to the people, so I think it is an excellent avenue to speed up to the Federal Government the concerns of the public,” she said.
“I would just like to us to consider a date that is far more considerate for all Australians, so we can stop the protests and move forward.”
Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull is rejecting the call to change the date.
Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke says most Australians do not favour a date change, a nor does a large portion of the local government sector.
“This close result was at a forum where it is easy for the views of small minorities, such as those of Greens councillors, to be given more importance than those of everyday Australians,” he said.
“This sort of top down, elitist conversation will not build a national consensus on important questions such as our national day.”