After the Council of the City of Yarra (in NE Melbourne) decided to drop all references to Australia Day and cancelled its annual citizenship ceremony, conservatives around the country spat the dummy. Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy called on the State Government to sack the council. Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, in between sessions of tearing his hair out at the number of foreigners in his government, was deeply disappointed that it was “using a day that should unite Australians to divide Australians”. He then generously added “I recognise Australia Day, and its history, is complex for many Indigenous Australians, but the overwhelming majority of Australians believe the 26th of January is the day and should remain our national day.”1
Turnbull seems not to realise that many indigenous Australians call Australia Day ‘invasion day’, so it seems that date is already dividing Australians as it represents, more or less, the date Australia was claimed (again) for the British Crown by Arthur Philip, after the arrival of the first fleet2.
Turnbull also stated that the council was repudiating Australian values which, Turnbull seemed to indicate, are: indigenous feelings and opinions are of little consequence. Besides, over half (57%) of Australians have no idea what happened on January 26th, with 20% believing it has something to do with James Cook landing somewhere, 17% believing it was the anniversary of Federation, and some dummies thinking it was a First World War battle3. It is these ignoramuses who would probably be most strident in their opposition to any change of date despite being ignorant of its significance. As I have said elsewhere2, the day of the 1967 referendum (May 27) would be a better day, and hopefully more inclusive. All that has to be overcome for an inclusive date of any sort, is white conservative hysteria and ignorance.