Australia Day date has remained controversial for a long time now. In which case, it makes necessary to consider alternatives days other than January 26.
Undoubtedly, January 26 marks the arrival of the whites into the nation, but at the same time it highlights the beginning of an indigenous history of Australia. Retired lawyer and Aboriginal rights campaigner Michael Mansell wrote an article on The Mercury where he called the day as a “race-based day.” He also stated that it was not the people of the nation who chose the day as Australia Day, but the decision of celebrating the day was made by a small group in NSW around 200 years ago.
SBS Australia, therefore, has proposed eight alternatives likely to be considered as an Australia Day.
The six British self-governing estates, namely, New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, Victoria and Queensland, united to form the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901. This happened on January 1, which is also celebrated as New Year’s Day.
The government removed the indigenous groups’ children from their homes and parents’ care forcefully and placed them in Church missions or adoptive white family. The indigenous people have been asking for apology for decades. Finally, on February 13, 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd officially said sorry to the community, which made it a contender for Australia Day celebrations every year.
Australian Capital Territory was set up on January 1, 1911, but on March 20, 1913, Canberra was selected as the capital of Australia. March does not host any public holiday and hence, this can be a suitable date to celebrate the Australia Day.
The “Immigration Restriction Act” volunteered several racist element which took years to be terminated. The elements included dictation tests and restrictive rights to non-white migrants. However it was only after introduction of “The Migration Act” on April 11, 1973, when Gough Whitlam’s government abolished all racism elements.
“Advance Australia Fair”, a patriotic song of the nation replaced the UK anthem “God Save the Queen” officially on April 19, 1984. The song was composed by a Scottish-born composer in 1878. This date seems to fit in as a public holiday.
Australia conducted public voting to know whether people want aboriginals to enjoy the constitutional rights in the nation. Surprisingly, 90.77 percent people voted in favour of the notion in 1967. Hence, it can be celebrated as an Australia Day, marking the beginning of transformation of Australia as a nation.
The High Court of Australia gave its verdict in favour of Eddie Mabo and acknowledged native indigenous land rights on June 3, 1992. The day is already marked as a national holiday, but it might be suitable as a public holiday as well.
Crystal blue beaches and summers in Australia are the best places and time to have fun. Hence the first calendar day of summer will be the best alternative to celebrate Australia Day.