Melbourne council pushes to scrap Australia Day celebrations and fly flag at half-mast to mark Day of Mourning
- The Council plans to scrap Australia Day
- Instead, flags will be flown at half-mast
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A councilor is opposing a plan to scrap Australia Day celebrations and introduce a ‘Day of Mourning’ instead.
Kingston City Council in Melbourne’s south-east is considering abolishing the citizenship ceremony, traditionally held on January 26.
Instead, flags will be flown at half-mast for a ‘Day of Mourning’, lamenting European colonization and the dispossession of Indigenous Australians.
The move could set a precedent for those who want Australia Day to be abolished and renamed ‘Invasion Day’ or ‘Survival Day’.
A Melbourne council is considering scrapping Australia Day celebrations and instead introducing a ‘day of mourning’
Independent councilor Cameron Howe said Australia Day was important for those becoming citizens.
“Every person who contributes to this country and deserves the right to become a citizen also deserves the right to become a citizen on our National Day,” he told Sky News.
“Proposed bans on citizenship ceremonies take this right away, where we should be welcoming people to this land of opportunity, not shamefully flying the Australian flag at half-mast.”
A council meeting in November could make a decision on this.
Glen Eira Council, also in Melbourne’s south-east, lowered its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags to half-mast on Australia Day 2021, but no other council has followed suit.
Cr Howe argued such a symbolic step had traditionally been taken by the federal government rather than local government.
He said Australia Day should be a time to “appreciate the picturesque landscape and opportunities that Australia offers”.
Following the resounding defeat of Indigenous Voice to Parliament in a referendum earlier this month, a ‘week of mourning’ was declared and honored by some of those who campaigned for the measure.
Kingston City Council will debate in November whether flags should be flown at half-mast on January 26
Kingston City Council Independent Councilor Cameron Howe wants to keep Australia Day citizenship ceremonies
Sydney’s Inner West Council and City of Sydney Council have honored the request of two Land Councils who called for Indigenous flags to be ‘flown low’ following the defeat.
Announcing the measure, Inner West Mayor Darcy Bryne said the council recognized “the sadness of this moment”.
“The thousands of citizens we have recruited into this campaign will not give up on justice for First Nations people,” he said.
Adelaide Mayor Dr Jane Lomax-Smith also directed Aboriginal flags to be lowered to Adelaide City Hall and Victoria Square, as did the City of Fremantle in Perth.