Majority of Australians do not care about Australia Day celebration

Just 37 per cent of people agreed celebrating on January 26 was offensive to Indigenous people

The council moved to celebrate Australia Day on the date designated by the Federal Government and to discuss the meaning of January 26 with the AESG.

Prime Minister PM Malcolm Turnbull has moved to shut down the debate, accusing those who want to change the date as "seeking to take a day that unites Australia and Australians and turn it into one that would divide us".

The issue proved more divisive for the Town of Victoria Park during October, after a motion for the council to celebrate the Australia Day on January 26 was eventually softened after Aboriginal Engagement Strategy Group (AESG) member Dylan Collard voiced his concerns.

Indigenous Health Minister Ken Wyatt was surprised to hear his colleague hadn't been approached about a date change by some indigenous Australians.

"When asked to choose which date Australia Day should be celebrated on, less than a quarter chose the current date from a range of options".

Australia Day is now celebrated on January 26 to coincide with the arrival of the British Frist Fleet on Australian shores in 1788. January 26 is commonly called "Survival Day" or "Invasion Day" by many Aboriginal Australians, as well as by those who support changing the date.

"In WA, I look at what's happened in the Pilbara with Aboriginal kids, that shouldn't happen in a First World country and yet we're not tackling it with some gusto", Mr Wyatt said.

So, seeing as most of us seem to believe any day is as good as ever to patriotically drape ourselves in flags, have a barbecue and drink too much booze (this sounds like most weekends), why can't we just change it?

"This polling shows that while Australia Day is important to most Australians, most people are laid back about the date we celebrate on", said Ebony Bennett, the institute's deputy director. "The national conversation about Australia Day is an opportunity for all of us to learn about and reflect on Australia's history", she said.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale this week pledged the Federal party's support and resources to Greens councillors if they launched campaigns to shift local government celebrations out of respect for Aboriginal people.

The poll also found that less than half of respondents were able to identify the arrival of the First Fleet as the reason that Australia Day is celebrated on January 26.



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