#ChangetheDate Australia Day – where to next

Tammy Solonec, Indigenous Rights Campaign Manager
Tammy Solonec, Indigenous Rights Campaign Manager

This year Amnesty joined the growing movement to #ChangetheDate of Australia Day so all Australians can join our national celebrations.

You signed our petition, held stalls to raise awareness and stood in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at Survival Day events across the country.

On 26 January, huge numbers of Australians turned out in support of this country’s First Peoples.

As a proud Nigena woman from Derby in Western Australia, it’s so heartening to see a growing understanding of why 26 January is not a day of celebration. If you haven’t already take a moment listen to Aboriginal leaders and Elders on why it’s important to #ChangetheDate.

And it was so wonderful to have our Amnesty community engaged in the #ChangetheDate movement.

On 26 January, many of my colleagues chose to work, and take another day off instead, and staff, activists and volunteers participated in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led events across the country.

On 28 January, I joined colleagues and activists here in WA at the second One Day in Freo event. It was such a great day, attracting 17,000 people from Perth.

Our Redfern Group held a stall at the Yabun Festival in Sydney and collected hundreds of signatures on the #ChangeTheDate petition.

And in Melbourne, we deployed a staff and volunteer team of Human Rights Observers at the big Survival Day rally organised by Warriors for Aboriginal Resistance to make sure police didn’t infringe on the right to protest peacefully.

So, where to next?

Over 15,000 of you signed the petition calling on our government to:

  • acknowledge that 26 January has a long and painful history for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples; and
  • consult with the community to choose a new date for Australia Day so it can be celebrated by all.

We’ll deliver those signatures to our elected representatives to make sure they hear loud and clear that the Amnesty community wants to #ChangetheDate.

Although support for a new date grows every year, we’re not there yet, so we’ll keep collecting signatures until we have a petition so big, it can’t be ignored.

Thank you for standing with me to #ChangetheDate. It fills me with hope that soon Australia Day might be on a date that everyone can celebrate.

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