A Third Melbourne Council Has Voted To Abandon Australia Day Celebrations

A third local council in inner-Melbourne has voted to move all official Australia Day-related celebrations away from January 26th, in response to a growing movement to solemnly and respectfully acknowledge the significance the date holds to Indigenous communities.

Moreland Council, which covers the northern Melbourne suburbs of Brunswick, Coburg, and Glenroy, voted 7-4 in favour of the proposal after an hour-long debate debate last night. Moreland now joins neighbouring councils Yarra and Darebin in moving official Australia Day observances away from January 26th. However unlike the other two, Moreland plans to retain its Australia Day Citizenship ceremony, at least until the Federal Government reviews the council’s decision.

The successful vote was passed during a fiery meeting, with members of the public gallery repeatedly interrupting proceedings. The official motion passed by the council states that “January 26 marks the beginning of the British invasion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands and oppression of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Moreland Council will now work on holding a culturally appropriate event on a date to be determined after consultation with the Moreland Reconciliation Working Group.

Council and Federal opponents of the move have been outwardly furious about the decision, which Socialist Alliance councillor and #changethedate supporter Sue Bolton asserted was “like celebrating the Nazi Holocaust.”

Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke took extreme umbrage with that statement, asserting “The Turnbull government strongly condemns comparisons of Australia Day with the Nazi Holocaust as deeply offensive to all Australians.

Moreland Greens councillor Samantha Ratnam rejected the notion that moving the date was about preventing Australians from celebrating the nation: “This isn’t about banning barbecues, it’s about respect for the world’s oldest living culture. Thousands of Australians like me want to celebrate Australia Day – just not on a day that is painful for others.