Livingstone Shire Councillor Adam Belot
Livingstone Shire Councillor Adam Belot Jessica Christie

Belot fights Livingstone council over 'Invasion Day'

LIVINGSTONE councillor Adam Belot will tomorrow table a motion to council asking for indigenous persons to be included in the Australia Day Awards Committee, after tense debate across the council table last week.

Cr Belot had brought the issue of representation up during the council's previous meeting, but his suggestion was countered by both mayor Bill Ludwig and councillor Jan Kelly.

The pair claimed the indigenous population did not want to be involved in Australia Day discussions, as the community saw it as "Invasion Day”.

"Can I just say it is a sensitive issue and every time I have had discussions with the indigenous community they did not want to be involved in Australia Day,” Cr Ludwig said last week.

"We must, if we are going to have representatives on there, they must be representatives who represent the indigenous community not just individuals.”

Cr Kelly added that while she thought Cr Belot's inclusion sentiment was good, she expanded her point.

"(Council) can sort of maybe think about approaching them but I think we would possibly offend and we may get offended with the response we get as well,” she said.

"I couldn't actually believe it the first time... and then the facts of life came to me and it is Invasion Day for them.”

Cr Belot said his motion tomorrow was about reconciliation.

"If Indigenous Australians can be selected for Australia Day awards, then I strongly believe they can be positively involved in selecting Australia day awards,” he said.

"I am deeply saddened that my attempts to include indigenous Australians in the Australia Day awards committee was unsuccessful.

"This is a sensitive subject, and its no secret that Australia Day means different things to different people, especially true for our first Australians. However, meaningful reconciliation will be stifled while community leaders endorse clear separations between First Australians and White Australians.”

Darumbal elder Isabel Warcon today said it was "very possible” to incorporate Darumbal people in with the Australia Day celebrations.

"I think it is great that Adam stood up and said what he said,” she said.

"(Council) are just being sensitive to the Indigenous people, and I think that is a good thing... but it is 2016, change is always happening, and we want to try and make it better.”

Doug Hatfield from Darumbal Enterprises also threw his support behind Cr Belot and the inclusion of indigenous persons on the awards committee.

He said he was thankful Cr Belot was making attempts at inclusion.



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