Economy

A Third Melbourne Council Has Voted To Abandon Australia Day Celebrations

A Third Melbourne Council Has Voted To Abandon Australia Day Celebrations”

Late on Wednesday, the Moreland City Council, which is in Melbourne's inner north, voted 7-4 to end all official national day celebrations, claiming that January 26 is not a day for celebrations for all Australians.

"The Government absolutely rejects the extreme and divisive nature of the discussion Greens and Socialist Councillors are promoting", Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke said in a statement.

Last month a war of words erupted over colonial-era statues in Australia, with several in Sydney defaced, including one of Cook with the words "change the date" in reference to Australia Day.

"It would be like celebrating the Nazi holocaust", Ms Bolton said in the meeting on Wednesday.

"The Turnbull government strongly condemns comparisons of Australia Day with the Nazi Holocaust as deeply offensive to all Australians".

"Australia Day is a recognition of our shared history and the Turnbull government, along with the vast majority of Australians, indigenous and non-indigenous, fully support Australia Day remaining on January 26".

Mr Hawke said the Government was considering what action to take against Moreland.

Moreland's decision to dump the date wasn't unanimous, with councillors John Kavanagh and Oscar Yildiz speaking out against the move.

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"The Government will consider Moreland council's motion and the nature of the public debate and consider further action as appropriate", he said.

"This isn't about banning barbecues, it's about respect for the world's oldest living culture", she said.

It is the third Melbourne council - after Darebin and Yarra - to make the move, and while the first two had their rights to hold citizenship ceremonies stripped by the federal government, Moreland hopes to continue holding ceremonies on 26 January.

"But it's also about the fact that, as we've seen with other councils, councils have lost the right to hold all citizenship ceremonies by making this move, and so I think that it's become something that has been quite politicised".

Moreland is dominated by Greens, Labor and independent councillors. January 26 marks the day European colonists settled in Australia in 1788, a date which marks dispossession of and violence toward Indigenous Australians.

"For a lot of the migrant community that I've spoken to, they really understand the pain of Aboriginal people, and I believe that we are in a really good position to create better awareness about what January 26 represents".

Meanwhile, Cr Ratnam has posted on Facebook stating, "We took a big step in the right direction tonight".

"It would be unfortunate for the minister to strip us of our role in conducting citizenship ceremonies".



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