Australia Day

Australia Day – Should We Change the Date?



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It’s that time of year in Australia that we are gearing up to celebrate what it means to be Australian – our Australia Day.  It’s the one day that we come together as a nation, to reflect on all the good (and bad), that makes this country of ours so amazing.

But according to many reports throughout the media, Australia Day is all but cancelled this year.  Local councils are cancelling Australia Day celebrations and citizenship ceremonies, large retailers are refusing to stock Australia Day items, and the obligatory debate around changing the date from the 26th of January has started.

Which leads me to ask the question, “Is Australia Day as we know it officially dead?”

Should we still celebrate Australia Day?  Or should we consider changing the date?

Have we lost our pride in our nation enough that we no longer want to celebrate Australia Day?  Or does it simply need to be revamped somehow – perhaps something as simple as changing the date?

When you start feeling guilty about celebrating our national day, there is something very wrong.  And something needs to change!

There have been calls for some time to at least change the date of Australia Day from 26th January.   While I originally was completely against this idea, I find myself questioning if this is now the right thing – but maybe not for the ‘popular’ reasons.

Let me explain….

Who is Cancelling Australia Day?

So, what am I referring to when I say Australia Day is being cancelled?  And who is trying to cancel it?

Well unfortunately there are numerous examples.  And it’s not something that has just started this year but has been creeping up on us for some time.

It is also, unfortunately, coming from places that have far more sway in the public forum than perhaps they should.  So, the fact that they are leaning into a cancellation of Australia Day is concerning.

At last count there were over 80 local government councils around Australia are refusing to recognise Australia Day, at least not on the 26th of January.  What’s even worse is the refusal to hold citizenship ceremonies and celebrate becoming an Australian

Many of the largest supermarkets are no longer stocking Australia Day items – you know the plates, flags, stubbie-holders, thongs, and obligatory tea-towels!  All the corny stuff they we would only ever use on one day a year.

And yet it is these very products, with the Australian flag plastered in places it perhaps shouldn’t be, that we love and cherish.  It’s when national pride overcomes any dress-sense!

Australia Day Thong Challenge

Why is This All So Wrong?!

One supermarket spokesperson stated that they would no longer be stocking such items, due in part to changing community views about the day.   So we now have where we buy our Wheaties from telling us how to think, and making political statements.

Here’s your free serve of ‘wokeness’ with your cereal!

Even the classic Australia Day lamb ad with Sam Kekovich, has been affected.  The latest ad makes absolutely no mention of ‘Australia Day’.  You know things are going a little crazy when you associate Sam Kekovich with being ‘woke’.

The Generation Gap | 2024 Lamb ad

This issue isn’t whether you can buy a loud crazy Australian hat or not.  The issue is that we are being made to feel guilty for having pride in our nation. 

The message that is being sent by not celebrating Australia Day is that there is somehow something wrong with being Australian, something wrong with us as a nation!

When a country can no longer celebrate itself, and proudly celebrate what it means to be Australian something is very, very wrong!  This is the rot that will only fester over time.

This is what needs to be understood – this is what we need to all work together to change!

But first we need to understand where the core issue comes from…

What is the Issue with Australia Day?

Nearly all issues with Australia Day stem from the fact that it is celebrated on the day of the first European settlers landing in NSW.   This is the basis of the date, the 26th of January, and therefore the basis of the main issue with Australia Day.

Many Indigenous Australians feel this was the start of their modern-day difficulties.  Predominately white European settlers coming to what is now known as Australia, completely impacted and changed the indigenous way of life.

For those that believe this change was for the worse, Australia Day represents all that is wrong with colonialism.   Some would say it represents a ‘survival’ of sorts, where both culture and lives were lost due to colonisation.

Hence the 26th of January being referred to as ‘invasion day’, or ‘survival day’.

I cannot speak to any of this.  I am not indigenous and will never understand what indigenous folks may be feeling.

What I can speak to is how I feel about my country, Australia – the good and the bad.  And importantly how I feel about Australia Day and how it makes me feel to be living in the greatest country.

The ‘Woke Effect’

Logically, I get the negative attachment with the 26th of January date.  But I am concerned that so much more negativity is somehow added.

As is often the case with such issues, there is a case of ‘pile-on’ from people ‘trying to do the right thing’.   A broader section of the community jumps on board with the issue and somehow makes it feel much bigger. 

Then there becomes this false sense of ‘superiority’ by taking a so-called ‘enlightened view’.

People become offended or hurt on behalf of others, to the point that the original issue is somehow lost.  We are left with a division and ‘us and them’ points of view, with no middle ground for discussion.

And those of us that wish to celebrate the day for what it is, a celebration of all the good that makes this country so great – well, we are left with a growing sense of guilt. 

We are left to feel like we are dancing on someone’s grave, while we try and celebrate what it means to be Australian.   How does this help anyone?

We must not let such conversations and issues slide into a never-ending shit storm around “why Australia sucks”.

What Did Australia Day Mean to Us?

I remember growing up loving Australia Day.  A day where no one worked, and we could come together to celebrate as a wider community.  As a kid it was awesome.

The end of January is still the hotter part of summer, so it usually involved the beach, or a BBQ at a mate’s place.

Parents were all distracted having a beer and burning the sausages, so us kids were left to get up to all sorts of mischief.

But most importantly there was a sense of coming together, of being part of something very special and uniquely ours.  Something that can only be described as Australian!

Australia Day Ceremonies

My mum used to work every year at an Australia Day citizenship ceremony.  Every local council ran one.  It was one of the things she really looked forward to.

Why?  Because she loved watching the new families accept their new status as Australia citizens.  This was made even more special with the whole of Australia coming together to celebrate simply being Australian.

Australian Citizenship Ceremony

Mum would say the simple joy on the families’ faces would make anyone happy.  The fact they had realised their dream of becoming Australian citizens was incredibly special. 

They understood something that maybe we may take for granted.

The only thing that mattered was that we were all Australians!

I think those that have chosen to cancel such ceremonies have not taken the time to understand the true meaning of what is being achieved.  A promotion of acceptance, of becoming one nation.

It is an absolute travesty that this is taken away from our new citizens. 

Skyworks – The Fireworks We All Looked Forward To

If you are older than say 40, and grew up in Perth, then you’ll know what I mean here.

The Australia Day fireworks across the Swan River was simply amazing.  At the time it was known as one of the best fireworks shows across Australia.

Perth Skyworks

Originally started by radio station 96fm, it had a coordinated soundtrack, celebrating what it meant to be an Aussie.  I still remember to deep mellow tones of Fred Botica, and classic Icehouse track, Great Southern Land – still sends chills up my spine.

There was nothing better than a morning at the beach, BBQ lunch with family and mates, then heading to Kings Park for the fireworks.  Now that’s an Australia Day to remember!

Australia Day – The Most Inclusive Event on the Calendar

Name me another event on the calendar that is as inclusive as Australia Day.  It is a day for ALL Australians, regardless of what some might think.

It doesn’t matter what your background is, your country of origin, race, social status or any other descriptor, you’re included.  There is no discussion about your sexual preference, colour of skin or anything else that may be discriminatory.

I think the sentiment from Bob Hawke’s famous 1988 speech said it all,

Bob Hawke
Australia kids at beach

Should We Change the Date?

This brings me to the question; “should we change the date of Australia Day?” 

When asked that question some years back, I strongly said “No!”.   This is part of who we are, why would we change it?!

Well, I have now come to a different view, and believe we should consider changing the date.  But not necessarily for the obvious reasons.

Something Must Change

This issue of there being ‘something wrong’ with Australia Day is simply not going away.  And while we try and ignore it, it will continue to fester.

Yes, there is a part of community that believe they have been adversely affected by colonisation.  For their sake, we should at least consider the change.

For most of Australia’s ‘modern’ existence, post colonisation, there was a sense that ‘Australia’s did not exist prior to the early settlers.  Truth be told, that ‘belief’ probably still sits inside most Australians at some level.

So, to truly become One Australia, then we need to embrace it all; 60,000 years of Indigenous culture, European colonisation, now mixed with a plethora of modern-day immigration.

But most importantly we need to remove the guilt.  We absolutely can no longer have a National Day where we are left feeling guilty if we celebrate it. 

Kalbarri Nature Window

It should not be offensive to celebrate Australia Day – it should be considered an offence to NOT celebrate Australia Day.

So, if it means we need to change the date to help get to that point, then we must.

Let me know what you think in the comments below.  Should we change the date?

What Should the Date Be?

Really the date could be anything.  And I don’t think we should spend too many cycles trying to pick some new date based on some special event of the past. 

There will be way too many reasons for AND against any date selected.  There will never be a date that satisfies everyone, bringing us back to the same issue we have now. 

Perhaps the answer is a random date, with no historic reason.  Then we make that date mean something special by simply being “Australia Day”.

But I must admit I love the idea of May 8th.  Say it fast enough and you hear the classic Aussie term for friendship – maaaaaaate.

Lack of Leadership

The thing that will always bring down a community is lack of leadership.  And I don’t mean having no leader.  I mean having a nominated head of state that does not “lead”.

A leader must take control and make the hard decisions – not the popular ones.  They cannot try and please everyone, as they will ultimately make everyone disappointed.

This is the situation we are now in with our current Prime Minster, Anthony Albanese.  Change MUST come from him – to do nothing will tear the country apart on this issue.

Beach with Australian Flag

During the last Liberal government, a law was passed that required all councils to hold a citizenship ceremony on Australia Day.  It enforced the recognising on of Australia Day on the 26th of January

You might not agree with this stance, but at least it was a solid decision.  We all celebrated our great nation on the same day, 26th of January.  That was Australia Day.

One of the first things the Albanese government did was to rescind this law.  On the surface this act may look ok.  People are left to make their own decision to celebrate or not, or whether to hold citizenship ceremonies, or not, on the 26th etc.

But this was the worst thing a leader can do!

It didn’t resolve the underlying issue.  Australia Day remains the 26th of January.  So, to celebrate it you must do it on a day that is now tainted. 

And you will no longer be celebrating with the rest of the nation, as there is a growing mix of celebrations versus demonstrations.

Yeh, that’s a great way to bring Australians together!!!

A clear decision needs to be made and then followed through.  If the date is to be changed then do it, don’t leave the nation divided (just like the Voice disaster!).  Don’t try and abdicate the possible change to the local councils and make it their issue.

Becoming One Nation

No, I am not promoting Pauline Hanson, far from it – but the name of her party does say it well.  We are and should be “One Nation”, and we need to be doing everything we can to achieve that.

So how do we move toward inclusion, without rejecting what already makes us great?  How do we celebrate Australia Day without a sense of guilt pushed on us?

I have come to the realisation that we need something to “pull the pressure relief valve” – and that is changing the date.  The simple act of changing the date could be all that is needed to realign and reset what Australia Day means.

If we don’t call these things out now and have the debate, then the true meaning of Australia Day will simply fade away.  Let’s not allow stubbornness on both sides be the thing that undoes all the good that is Australia.

It’s not just the day, or a date, but what it means to be Australian.  What it means to live in one of the best countries in the world.

We should reflect on our past – both the good and bad, be thankful for the present and how lucky we are, and set our goals and dreams for an even better, inclusive future.

Sure, we are far from perfect.  But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t celebrate what makes us great. 

Whatever date Australia Day is set to, I for one will be celebrating it.  And I hope you do too. 

Final Thoughts

I hope this blog post sparks some level of conversation around what Australia Day means to you.  We must never take the things that matter for granted – otherwise they will simply fade away.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, especially around changing the date.  Should we change it?  What would be a good date to choose?

And in typical Aussie fashion, I love a good sense of humour.  Especially when it is poking fun at ourselves.  So let me leave you with this…

There is one thing Pauline Hanson has done that I find quite funny – her YouTube channel Pauline Hanson’s Please Explain.  If you like some political satire, done in the form of ‘South Park’ then you should really check it out.

Here’s one that made me laugh….

Qantas | Pauline's Hanson Please Explain

Until next time….

Steve Sig

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Hi, I’m Steve Floyd….creator of my own ideal lifestyle and family guy.

I started Steve’s Blog to share the things I have learnt (and continue to learn), building my own ideal lifestyle.   After a successful career in IT, Sales & Marketing, and self-taught investing and money management, I managed to retire at the ripe young age of 50. 

Now I enjoy helping others break free from the typical 9 to 5 grind, and find their own ideal Lifestyle! And when I’m not blogging (or with the family), I’m at the gym, looking for the best cup of coffee, watching Aussie rules footy or on the Playstation!


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