Bundy indigenous leader backs PM's separate celebration idea
GIDARJIL Development Corporation managing director Kerry Blackman is backing Prime Minister Scott Morrison on the possible creation of a separate national day to celebrate indigenous culture.
On Tuesday, Mr Morrison said a separate day should be created,
Dr Blackman yesterday congratulated the Prime Minister.
"Congratulations to Scott Morrison for putting indigenous issues on the priority list,” Dr Blackman said.
"I am glad Mr Morrison has put Aboriginal issues high on the agenda ... I think Scott Morrison is trying to unify the nation and that is his agenda - and he is trying to achieve cohesion between first nations and elected representatives in Canberra and the wider community.
"Let's have more dialogue and discussion, where we may have a day like in New Zealand (Waitangi Day), where wider Australia is proud of indigenous people.”
Dr Blackman said, despite the atrocities of the past, the Australian people had the right to celebrate on the day of their choosing.
"We have a national Aboriginal day in July - and what I'm saying is that we celebrate all the good things about Aboriginal achievements, and that we have survived.
"If wider Australia doesn't want to change from January 26, let them celebrate the misery of that day - and let us have a day so the government is not doing things to us, or for us, but with us.”
Mayor Jack Dempsey yesterday said the council would stand with the Federal Government, in support of Australia Day remaining on January 26 and holding citizenship ceremonies on the same day.
Cr Dempsey said the council had been in "different discussions at different times” with indigenous groups in the region about celebrations and ceremonies remaining on January 26.
However, Dr Blackman, who led the campaign for Bundaberg Regional Council to permanently fly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags next to the Australian one in Buss Park, said he hadn't been involved in any recent communication between council and Gidarjil.
Cr Dempsey said the council stood by Australia Day being about uniting, rather than dividing people.