Alexandrina Council has expressed its support for January 26 as the rightful date for Australia Day, amidst national debate over whether the date should be changed.
Over the past few years, Indigenous communities across the country have campaigned for the date to be changed, colloquially renaming January 26 as Invasion Day.
At the council meeting on February 5, councillor Jim Davis called on his fellow elected members to back January 26 as Australia’s national day.
“There has been a lot of discussion around changing the date of Australia Day so I think it’s important we express our support for January 26 to show where we stand,” he said.
Deputy mayor Madeleine Walker said the debate around changing the date demonstrated how a minority could alter the real meaning of something.
Taking into consideration that there are indigenous members within the Alexandrina community, councillor Grant Gartrell said he would rather find out what the residents wanted before making a statement in favour of January 26.
“At the moment, it seems to say we support Australia Day being on January 26 regardless of anyone else’s opinion or those who might be offended,” he said.
Councillor James Stewart said we wished the motion was not before him.
“Personally, I’m okay with Australia Day being on January 26 but this motion for support is provocative and brings us into a debate that wasn’t occurring in our community,” he said.
Following debate in the chamber, the wording of the motion was changed to state that the council expressed its support for holding Australia Day celebrations on the date prescribed by the Australian government.
All councillors voted in favour of the motion, except for councillors Gartrell and Stewart.
To close, Cr Davis said Australia Day was our national day and until the date was change by the federal government, council would express its support for January 26.