After the Fremantle City Council‘s widely-applauded decision to move official Australia Day festivities away from January 26th in a mark of respect for Indigenous Australians and their communities, some sort of backlash felts (sadly) inevitable.

Today, that backlash has come directly from the Federal Government, which is poised to threaten Fremantle over the decision, dangling the prospect of revoking the municipality’s right to host citizenship ceremonies unless they comply with the Government’s “official” date.
WA Liberal MP member for Tangney Ben Morton initially voiced opposition to Fremantle City Council’s decision to scrap official Australia Day fireworks celebrations; a decision that came back in August.
At the time, Morton took his concerns to the Coalition’s Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Alex Hawke.
In the wake of Fremantle’s recent decision, Hawke has now flagged his intent to write to council officials urging them to reconsider or face the prospect of having their right to preside over citizenship ceremonies revoked entirely.

“I note this has occurred twice in the last decade and the Government will be monitoring the situation closely.”

“Fremantle Council has conducted Australian Citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day for the last five years, and the Government would strongly encourage this important tradition to continue.”

Morton went further in a statement, lambasting Fremantle City Council and calling their decision “a disgrace.”

“This politically correct, backward-looking approach from the council actually divides Australians and takes us further away from reconciliation.”


Fremantle City Mayor Brad Pettit has previously stated of the decision that council had heard the concerns of Aboriginal elders “loud and clear.”

“We thought it was time to acknowledge it wasn’t a day of celebration for everybody and it was an opportunity for us to come up with a different format on a different day that could be truly inclusive.”

The council is yet to issue comment on the threats from the Federal Government.

Source: ABC News.
Photo: Chloe Sergeant/Pedestrian.TV.