News Article

January 26: Change the date

24 January 2022

Australia is a diverse, beautiful, and ancient country. There are many things about Australia that are worth celebrating, but the date – 26 January – does not represent those things.

For Indigenous Australians, 26 January is a painful day that marks the start of colonisation, which continues as a reminder of dispossession and the ongoing trauma for many First Nations communities. This is why for Murawin and many others, 26 January is not referred to as Australia Day, but rather, Invasion Day, Survival Day or a Day of Mourning.

At Murawin, we believe that a day for celebrating Australia, should be a day for ALL to celebrate together, so we are Getting Up, Standing Up and Showing Up to respectfully show our support for the #changethedate campaign.

Some may misinterpret support for changing the date of Australia Day, or the reference of Invasion Day, to be unpatriotic, but that’s not the case. In truth, it is the opposite.

Many who believe in changing the date, do so because they WANT to celebrate Australia and do not feel that 26 January represents aspects of Australia’s history that should be celebrated. We believe that by changing the date we can help change what celebrating Australia means for Indigenous Peoples.

Others may feel that there are bigger issues facing Indigenous Australians and this is where we should be focussing our efforts. Whilst this is true, unlike other issues facing Indigenous Australians, where solutions are complex, the problem of celebrating on 26 January is easily solved.

Changing the date would not detract from anyone’s love of Australia, but it would provide a valued step that helps acknowledge our First Nations Peoples inherent place as custodians of Australia’s Living Culture, history and future.

In the lead up to Survival Day 2022, Murawin is calling on our network to show your support for the #changethedate campaign by:

Changing the date is extremely important to Murawin. Our leadership team have enacted all three of these supports, promoting the campaign throughout our channels, offering staff the opportunity to substitute the public holiday for another date, and registering our support for the Amnesty International Change the date petition.

“Together, we can make Australia Day a day ALL Australians can celebrate, one that unites us, rather than divide us,” Carol Vale, CEO Murawin.