Hanson Young: Decades and decades on, we are still having this debate. Some people say we shouldn’t worry about this, that Indigenous Australians should just get over it. Some of the most offensive comments of racism and dismissal of generations of being disenfranchised, of genocide, have been simply used as an excuse not to have this debate in this place or even in the public eye. This year, when local councils decided that they would choose a different day to celebrate Australia Day, a different day to celebrate being part of the wonderful Australian community, it caused a massive political stoush. And the ideological warriors from the right-wing corners of the politics in this place raised their ugly head, and we saw some of the most offensive comments about how Aboriginal and Indigenous and First Australians should simply get over the history, suck it up, and we can all move on and pretend that Australia Day being celebrated on 26 January is okay. Well, it’s absolutely not.
What I hate seeing is the pseudo-nationalists who drape themselves in the Australian flag, wear the flag as balaclavas and run around pretending as though they represent our great nation. If you want to talk about what is offensive when it comes to Australia Day, it’s a bunch of drunk blokes running around wearing Australian flags as balaclavas, espousing racism and bigotry. That doesn’t make us proud to be Australian. It doesn’t make me proud to celebrate Australia Day when I see behaviour like that. I don’t think it would make any of us proud.
If we’re worried about people understanding, recognising and celebrating Australian history, how about we start with educating people in the Senate like Senator Hanson, the leader of One Nation, who thinks that Australia Day is the day of Federation. Well, it’s not. Senator Hanson has just walked into the chamber, so I’ve decided to remind her that through you, Acting Deputy President Williams Federation is 1 January, not 26 January.
This is an important national conversation that we should be having about changing the date of Australia Day. It’s a debate that started in 1938. It hasn’t gone away and it won’t go away. The date of Australia Day will change. It will change. It’s not a matter of what or if; it’s simply a matter of when.
Source: Revocation and Authorisation Amendment Instrument 2017 – Disallowance Speaker: Hanson-Young, Sen Sarah/ Parliament of Australia Transcript used for reporting News