Thursday, 8 February 2018
Labor will be opposing this motion. There is no doubt that Australia Day is an important national day. It's a source of great celebration for Australians, but we cannot shy away from the fact that for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, 26 January can speak of dispossession and sorrow. On Australia Day, we should acknowledge that we owe our First Australians more than just a few brief words of respect. We are no different to any other country, in that our history has its fault lines. We have our share of triumphs and successes and our share of scars and stains. It is correct to acknowledge that we have had long decades of dispossession and degradation inflicted upon our First Australians by those who came after. We need to recognise the historical truth that our history is one we can be proud of, but also recognise its errors and mistakes. Labor does not support changing the date of Australia Day.