ACT Greens welcome Reconciliation Day, reaffirm calls to #ChangeTheDate

Shane Rattenbury

The ACT Greens today welcomed the ACT Government’s moves to establish Reconciliation Day, and called on all parties to reaffirm their commitment to #ChangeTheDate of Australia Day.

“Reconciliation Day is an important symbol of our shared commitment to advancing reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and non-Indigenous Australians,” said ACT Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury. 

“As a progressive jurisdiction, we welcome the ACT Government’s clear commitment to advancing reconciliation in establishing Reconciliation Day today.

“As a nation, we’ve come a long way in acknowledging the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures as part of our national story.

“But there is a long way to go.

“As part of our journey towards reconciliation, the Greens believe that all Australians should be feel that they too can participate in days of national celebration,” Mr Rattenbury said. “This includes Australia Day.”

On January 26, 1788 the First Fleet arrived at Port Jackson, and Arthur Phillip raised the Union Jack on the land of the Eora nation. This was an invasion that had catastrophic and tragic consequences for all the peoples and nations who had lived here for tens of thousands of years, and for their descendants.

“The Greens believe that Australia Day should be inclusive, unifying and supported by all Australians, rather than a day where the nation stops to celebrate an historical tragedy.

“In marking a day of colonisation, the Greens take the view that 26 January is an inappropriate date to celebrate our national day. I am pleased that the ACT is moving to instead celebrate our steps towards reconciliation. As a nation, we are capable of a mature and sensible discussion on the issues that go to the heart of our national story,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Today’s legislation is a welcome step towards reconciliation, and we encourage all parties to join us in a unified effort to Change the Date, so that all Australians—and Canberrans—can participate, and celebrate,” Mr Rattenbury added.