Calls for Australia Day to be abolished have peaked across the country as several public figures have opted to distance themselves from the controversial holiday that marks the start of British colonization.
Strong messages against celebrating the annual holiday on January 26 came from all quarters, including a senior executive from a telecommunications giant, the Australian women’s cricket team, the Australian Open and of a radio jockey.
The Victorian government went further and completely scrapped an annual parade that commemorates him.
“We recognize that Australia Day represents a day of mourning and reflection for some Victorians and is a difficult time for First Peoples,” a spokesman for the Victorian government was quoted by SBS News as saying.
Much of Australia’s indigenous community considers January 26 to be the day the genocide against them began.
Vicki Brady, chief executive of Australian telecommunications company Telstra, said she would work the day and insisted the choice remained “personal”.
Ms Brady added that she would take another day off – a choice also available to other employees across the country.
“I am proud that at Telstra our employees can now choose to take January 26 as a public holiday, or work that day and request another day off,” she posted.
“I will choose to work and take a different day off with my family because it suits me. For others, a different approach will seem appropriate – and that’s okay.
The Australian women’s cricket team have said they will wear Indigenous outfits to support their Indigenous teammate Ashleigh Gardner.
Gardner had recently called January 26 a “day of suffering and mourning” for Indigenous Australians.
The T20 game, originally scheduled for January 27 in Canberra, was postponed to the National Day in Hobart after South Africa dropped out of the One Day men’s series.
Players are expected to wear Indigenous jerseys, wristbands and socks in Indigenous colours, 7 Sports reported.
“We’re going to try to use the opportunity we have to educate ourselves and try to create a better understanding of what it means and their culture,” said women’s national team captain Meg Lanning.
The Australian Open has also announced its decision not to celebrate Australia Day.
“We are aware that there are different points of view, and at the Australian Open we are inclusive and respectful of all,” Tennis Australia said.
“We recognize the historic significance and deep spiritual connection our First Peoples have with this land and acknowledge it with a Welcome to Country on the stadium screens ahead of the daily day and night sessions.”
Radio host Jackie O’Henderson demanded the date change to celebrate Australia Day, as she told co-host Kyle Sandilands she wanted to celebrate her country without being “shamed”.
“I want to be able to celebrate Australia because I love this country and I’m really patriotic,” she said.
“I want to be able to do it in a way that I’m not ashamed to do it, so I’m more than happy to change the date.”
Earlier in September, however, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his government had no plans to change the date of the Australia Day celebration.
“I would say, let’s focus on recognizing that our nation’s birth certificate should proudly acknowledge that we didn’t start in 1788, which January 26 commemorates,” he said.
The Independent Gt