A city councilor is rejecting a plan to scrap Australia Day celebrations and instead introduce a “day of mourning”.
Melbourne City Council in southeast Kingston is considering scrapping the naturalization ceremony that traditionally takes place on January 26.
Instead, flags will be flown at half-mast on a “day of mourning” to mourn the European colonization and dispossession of Australia’s indigenous people.
The move could set a precedent for those calling for Australia Day to be abolished and renamed “Invasion Day” or “Survival Day”.
A Melbourne city councilor is considering scrapping Australia Day celebrations and introducing a “day of mourning” instead.
Independent councilor Cameron Howe said Australia Day was important for those becoming citizens.
“Every person who contributes to this country and earns the right to be a citizen also earns the right to become a citizen on our national day,” he told Sky News.
“Proposed bans on citizenship ceremonies take this into account because we should welcome people to this land of opportunity, not shamefully fly the Australian flag at half-mast.”
A council meeting in November could decide the matter.
Glen Eira Council, also in Melbourne’s southeast, lowered its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags to half-mast on Australia Day 2021, but no other councils followed suit.
Cr Howe argued such a symbolic step had traditionally been taken by the federal rather than local government.
He said Australia Day should be a time to “celebrate the picturesque landscape and opportunities Australia offers”.
Following the resounding defeat of the Indigenous Voice to Parliament in a referendum earlier this month, a “week of mourning” was announced and acknowledged by some of those who campaigned for the measure.
Kingston City Council will debate in November whether flags should fly at half-mast on January 26
Kingston independent councilor Cameron Howe wants to keep naturalization ceremonies on Australia Day
Sydney’s Inner West Council and City of Sydney Council agreed to a request from two county councilors who called for Indigenous flags to be “flyed low” following the defeat.
Announcing the move, Inner West Mayor Darcy Bryne said the council recognized “the sadness of this moment”.
“The thousands of citizens we have recruited for this campaign will not give up on justice for First Nations people,” he said.
The Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Dr. Jane Lomax-Smith, also directed that Aboriginal flags be lowered at the Adelaide Town Hall and Victoria Square, as was the City of Fremantle in Perth.