Councillor's view: Change the commemorations, not the date
LIVINGSTONE Shire Councillor Adam Belot is calling for council to pen a letter to the Prime Minister's office about the future of Australia Day.
He plans to push a notice of motion in today's council meeting to review how the day is celebrated.
He believes the issue is not changing the date but rather considering what the community does to mark the occasion.
"Moving the date would just fester the wound that is open, but changing the content is a very powerful healing strategy to make our country and people healthier, socially and psychologically," he told The Morning Bulletin.
Cr Belot has communicated with members of the Darumbal people since he first suggested more Indigenous involvement on Australia Day.
He asked for Indigenous representation on how more participation could be encouraged.
After speaking with members of the Indigenous community, he was troubled there were families and communities still suffering from such issues as health.
"This is clearly a challenge that Australia is facing and the local government has a responsibility to facilitate Australia Day," he said.
"I've had a strong connection with the Indigenous people from a child, my family had a young Torres Strait Islander man stay with us through my high school years, we shared a bedroom together for two years and still call him a friend to this day," he said.
"There is a strong desire to help where I can and contribute to better outcomes, and better lives for the people.
"The most powerful way to move forward is to harness the support of the Indigenous people and bring them into the discussions of how we celebrate Australia Day."
Cr Belot said an Indigenous elder shared with him her visions for Australia day.
She wished to facilitate more storytelling through a yarning circle, which is a traditional way Indigenous people would gather around a fire and tell their stories, passing them onto the younger generation.
Mr Belot believed her vision would be a powerful way for everyone to grasp a better understand the culture of Indigenous Australians.
He felt a much more meaningful day to celebrate the day a country was to pause and think about what it means to be an Australian, consider the past and move forward together.
Mr Belot said Australia Day should "celebrate our successes, recognise our failings and come together in a way which values everybody's input, especially the Indigenous in a meaningful way".