Wednesday, 5 December 2018
That the Senate:
(a) notes that:
(ii) this is now recognised by many Australians as an invasion that had catastrophic and tragic consequences for the peoples and nations who had lived here for many tens of thousands of years, and for their descendants, and
(iii) 26 January marks over 230 years of on-going dispossession and colonisation for First Nations peoples;
(b) acknowledges that by continuing to celebrate Australia on 26 January we ignore the truth about our shared history;
(c) urges all Australians to respectfully engage in conversations about changing the date of Australia Day; and
(d) calls on the Federal Government to engage and consult with First Nations peoples about changing the date of Australia Day, so that all Australians can participate in celebrating this national day.
Australia Day is an important national day. It is a source of great celebration for Australians but it is also a day of reflection. For First Nations people, 26 January speaks of injustice, dispossession and sorrow. On Australia Day we should acknowledge the British assertion of possession without the consent of First Nations people already here. Australia Day should give us pause to reflect on the need for truth telling about our history, the good and the bad. Hearing the truth is necessary if we are to heal the trauma and purge the guilt from our national sight. We need courage and integrity to face these ongoing matters for resolution.
Labor does not support changing the date of Australia Day. This is not to deny that our nation has yet to reconcile First Nations concerns. If elected in 2019, a Shorten Labor government will move quickly to agree to a process together with First Nations people to make the voice to parliament a reality, including a pathway to a referendum. Labor supports a voice and enshrining it in the Constitution as our first priority for constitutional change.