Senator Matt Cananvan and local member Michelle Landry support Australia Day being celebrated on the current day.
Senator Matt Cananvan and local member Michelle Landry support Australia Day being celebrated on the current day. Chris Ison ROK180118caustralia1

'Absolute garbage': Landry speaks out on Aus Day change

DARUMBAL elder Aunty Nikki Hatfield believes changing the date of Australia Day would make our nation "more inclusive".

"I'd like to see the date changed because I don't think it includes all Australians," Ms Hatfield said.

"I think it affects all indigenous people personally... it's still a sore point with many indigenous people.

"The old saying is 'old habits die hard' and a lot of people honestly believe that Australia Day should be celebrated when Captain Cook first landed and that's fair enough, but I don't think we can truly move forward as a nation if it stays the same.

"Anyone who supports the change is looking forward to the future and they can understand why many indigenous people don't celebrate that day."

 

Aunty Nikki Hatfield and MP Brittany Lauga
Aunty Nikki Hatfield and MP Brittany Lauga

Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry addressed media yesterday about the proposed change, calling the change "absolute garbage".

"People have celebrated Australia Day on the 26th of January for decades. We have celebrated as a nation and we want to continue to do this," Ms Landry said.

"Around this area locally we have the great beach party down on the beach and we get 10,000 people down there."

"The councils all over organise functions for Australia day. I think we need to leave it as it is."

Ms Landry said at this stage she hadn't "really spoken to a lot of the aboriginal groups" about their opinion on the date.

"We have got this survey online and we are encouraging people to get online and voice their opinion," she said.

"Do they want Australia Day kept on the 26, what date would they like Australia day to be on?"

Senator Matt Canavan said he supported the stance to keep the date the same.

"Why don't we all stop quibbling over the date and have one day where we can come together and be grateful for what we are lucky enough to have to be citizens of this country?" Mr Canavan said.

"It doesn't really matter to me what the day is. There's all this debate on the day. It detracts from the conclusion that we have more that unites us as Australians than what divides us."

Mr Canavan said an online petition at keepthedate.org.au had been created by Ms Landry and LNP MPs for people to "show their support for Australia Day".

To Mr Canavan, "a vast amount of Australians" wish to keep the date "where it is", as it represents more than the 1788 British penal settlement on the same date.

"I do think it's obviously a historic day for our country that day," Mr Canavan said.

"Yes somebody arrived here from overseas and fundamentally changed this country. Yes, not everything was perfect but not everything was bad either and that's what I think is very unfortunate about this debate that we denigrate long dead people before us like Lachlan Macquarie and Arthur Phillip who did many good things in their lives too."

"I understand why some might have some issues with the day but as I say, there's always going to be an issue with one day.

"These silly debates don't actually contribute to anybody's lives or improve things. All they do is try and establish discord within our community over a matter which we should be uniting together about.

"Obviously the Labor party has brought up issues around the establishment of the British penal settlement on January 26, 1788. As I say, our country is not perfect but we should all be grateful for what we do have, the good and the bad.

"If there is [support for the change], that's a matter for someone else to take up."

Greens Australia had been approached for comment.



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