In a historical first, Yarra City Council in Victoria has voted to stop referring to January 26 as Australia Day, and will move its annual citizenship ceremony to another date.
The motion was passed in a town hall meeting held on Tuesday night.
While Mayor Amanda Stone admits to have received public feedback opposing the changes, she denies the vote to scrap Australia Day is divisive.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
The motion was raised at Council out of respect for Indigenous Australians and after an extensive community consultation was undertaken.
Mayor Stone says she’s convinced the decision has widespread support.
“We had a professional survey of people who live, work and visit the city,” she said.
“That was done on the street in a random way, so we have considered both aboriginal and non-aboriginal people.”
A report prepared for the Council said consultations with the local aboriginal community revealed most regarded the date as a “painful and alienating day” as it marks the arrival of the first fleet.
On January 26 they’re proposing instead to hold a small-scale, culturally-sensitive event, featuring an Indigenous smoking ceremony.