It’s not often that I get to write a story about my beloved hometown that doesn’t involve a seal in someone’s driveway, but here I stand today, a proud Northern Tasmanian gleefully informing you all that the City of Launceston has today voted to become just the second Tasmanian municipality to move all Australia Day celebrations away from the contentious date of January 26th.
The Launceston City Council voted in favour of moving all official Australia Day celebrations to a different date earlier today, with official citizenship ceremonies now scheduled to take place the day before, on January 25th.
That makes Launceston just the second Tasmanian council to make such a move, following on from the Flinders Island Council, who voted in favour of a move back in 2013.
Today’s vote was passed near-unanimously, with one councillor not present for the vote. All others in the city council chamber voted in favour of the motion.
Whether the council faces Federal sanctions over today’s move remains to be seen. The Morrison Government has previously waged war against local municipalities that pass similar motions, and vowed to pass and update legislation that would force city councils to hold citizenship ceremonies on January 26th. However those laws have not yet passed Federal Parliament.
However, the Federal Government has stripped various local councils who previously passed similar motions of their right to host citizenship ceremonies. Notably, this has included major inner-Melbourne municipalities Yarra and Darebin.
For now though, the vote stands as a massive step forward in the relationship between Tasmanian legislators and First Nations people.
State Government officials have not issued comment on today’s vote.
Fuck yeah Tassie. Fuck yeah Launceston. Get around ’em.