The debate on changing Australia Day

The calls by Australian of the Year Mick Dodson, supported by many others, for a debate on whether to shift Australia Day away from 26th January, has produced some predictable howls of outrage and abuse.

But it is not only Indigenous Australians who feel that 26th January is not the best day to celebrate our unity as a nation, as Ron Barassi’s views make clear. Many of the millions of Australians who are not of British heritage are also likely to find another day more meaningful. Plenty of other people who, like me, have some British ancestry, also feel the same.

Nor are those concerns limited to what 26th January symbolises when it comes to the dispossession, killing and discrimination endured by Indigenous Australians which flowed from the date in 1788.

There are many other reasons why the anniversary of the establishment of the British colony of New South Wales is not the best date to mark Australia Day.

I wrote a longish piece on this for Crikey’s blog page. I think all the regular commenters on my blog here have made their views known on these matters many times over, so please make any comments over at the Crikey site.

Comments can also be left at Online Opinion, where the piece has also been published.

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