SPLIT: The community is split over the Australia Day date change as the national conversation continues. Pictured is Johanne Anderson at the Great Australia Day Beach Party in Yeppoon last year.
SPLIT: The community is split over the Australia Day date change as the national conversation continues. Pictured is Johanne Anderson at the Great Australia Day Beach Party in Yeppoon last year. Chris Ison ROK260117cozday5

CQ mayor proposes long-weekend solution to date debate

A LONG weekend at the end of January is the "pragmatic" solution Livingstone mayor Bill Ludwig would take on the Australia Day debate.

Though Cr Ludwig made clear the Livingstone Shire Council does not have a formal position on the matter, he shared his personal view following Capricornia MP Michelle Landry's bid to "save the date".

What outcome do you want for the Australia Day date change debate?

This poll ended on 25 January 2018.

Current Results

Keep the date as January 26

74%

Change the date

17%

It doesn't bother me

7%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

"My personal view in relation Australia Day would be to take a pragmatic approach and simply celebrate Australia Day on the last week-end of January every year," Cr Ludwig said.

"This would see Australia Day run at exactly the same time of year, but not tied to a single historic event associated with British colonisation.

"It would also give the community a set long-week end every year to organise and plan celebratory events."

 

Livingstone Shire Council Mayor Bill Ludwig.
Livingstone Shire Council Mayor Bill Ludwig. Contributed

Cr Ludwig stressed the Cap Coast Community Events Association Inc, which organises the Great Australia Day Beach Party celebrations, does not have a formal position on the matter either.

Locally, the community has been divided on the matter as the national debate wages on over whether or not to retain the January 26 commemoration of the First Fleet landing in 1788.

Ms Landry deemed the proposed change "absolute garbage" as she addressed local media Thursday morning.

She argued the date had remained for decades, and used the example of the Yeppoon Beach Party which lured about 10,000 people each year (see this year's event details on page 2).

 

DIVIDED: Livingstone Shire mayor Bill Ludwig (bottom right) says there's a simple solution to the Australia Day debate as Senator Matt Cananvan and local member Michelle Landry (above) support Australia Day being celebrated on the current day.
DIVIDED: Livingstone Shire mayor Bill Ludwig (bottom right) says there's a simple solution to the Australia Day debate as Senator Matt Cananvan and local member Michelle Landry (above) support Australia Day being celebrated on the current day. Chris Ison ROK180118caustralia1

In response to Ms Landry's comments, Darumbal elder Nikki Hatfield said January 26 was a "sore point with many Indigenous people".

She doesn't believe we can "truly move forward as a nation" it the date stays the same.

Ms Landry was one of several LNP leaders to create an online petition to "keep the date", though admitted she hadn't talk to "a lot of Aboriginal groups".

This has caused upset for some members of the community, including "MB" of Mount Archer, who sent the following SMS to the editor:

"Ms Landry admits she hasn't really spoken to many Aboriginal groups about their opinion on changing the date for Australia Day. Perhaps now is a good time to do so?? I m offended that MY government representative calls the change ABSOLUTE GARBAGE. May I suggest you talk to your constituents please Ms Landry."

"Tibaj" sent his suggestion to The Morning Bulletin via SMS:

"Anyone who thinks that changing the date of Australia will make one bit of difference to aboriginal welfare is fooling themselves. How about they just have another holiday to celebrate Naidoc week."

JH of Wandal said: "Change Australia Day to the third Friday in January as if we leave it to the last Friday it may well fall on the 26th as it has this year. It doesn't hurt to be respectful to all Australians. We still get a holiday. I am you are we're all Australian."



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