P.E Nation founder Pip Edwards has been called out on Instagram for seemingly paying lip service to the campaign to change the date of Australia Day.
On the morning of January 26, Edwards shared a letter to the editor to her Instagram Stories, where a Victorian woman explained the extraordinary hardship suffered by Aboriginal peoples since the landing of the First Fleet and the problem with a national celebration on the anniversary of that day.
“What have we got to lose by changing the date of Australia Day?,” the letter writer concluded, with Edwards captioning her Story with “IN BLACK AND WHITE.”
The Story led some to believe that she supported calls to celebrate Australia on a different day – one that includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as well as non-Indigenous Australians.
But just hours later, Edwards proceeded to post to her Instagram Stories and to the grid photographs from a luxe group barbecue with her partner former cricketer Michael Clarke, friends and family.
The Daily Mail noted that her post was originally captioned, “A day to celebrate the land that we live and thrive on. I love you Australia”, but was later edited to read, “Acknowledging the beautiful land that we live and thrive on.”
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The posts received criticism as “performative activism”, with people even pointing out that the Aboriginal flag the group had raised was actually upside down. The red, representing the earth, was at the top, and the black, representing Aboriginal peoples, was at the bottom. And it was part of a collection of flags, including the Australian flag and a sporting favourite, the boxing kangaroo. Cringe.
“Why have you posted a story explicitly outlining why today is not the date to celebrate and then posted this, precisely the opposite?,” I’m A Celeb‘s Abbie Chatfield commented on Pip Edwards’ post.
“You are clearly aware of the reasoning behind the protests, the outcry, the mourning… but post this. Confusing, tone deaf behaviour. I don’t even know what to say. Usually it would be ‘educate yourself’ but…you have posted about why this isn’t okay. It’s honestly baffling. Also, the Aboriginal Flag is upside down in your stories, so.”
Another commenter wrote that they were “very confused” by Edwards’ posts.
“[Y]ou have also shared content on your stories suggesting the date should be changed… how can you then advocate for celebration when you seem to understand this date is painful for First Nations people? Or is it just ‘trendy’ to post those stories but not walk the talk so to speak?”
“Come on Pip. Read the room babe,” wrote another. “You literally just posted on your story that today is not a day to celebrate ‘in black and white’ and then you post this?”
Another person wrote that they found it “contradictory” that someone would purport to love Australia yet still celebrate a date that excludes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
“Many Aboriginal people do not ‘thrive,’” they wrote. “They continue to suffer disadvantage under the systems we’ve created. Sitting in waterfront properties, popping champagne and eating prawns is quite a slap in the face to those who cannot celebrate today because it is their day of mourning.”
PEDESTRIAN.TV has reached out to Pip Edwards for comment.
If you’re looking for concrete ways to support Aboriginal peoples around January 26 and every day of the year, consider shopping from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-owned businesses or donating to organisations like Sisters Inside, the Aboriginal Legal Service – NSW & ACT and the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service.