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Senator accuses councils of “divisive activism” over January 26

January 17, 2024 10:13 am in by
The Liberal party is ramping up its campaign over how to commemorate January 26 (UNSPLASH).

A conservative MP is accusing local councils of “divisive activism” over their decision to cease holding citizenship ceremonies on January 26.

Senator Sarah Henderson says the move by the Golden Plains, Geelong and Surf Coast councils “has no place in our community”, and she’s urging people to sign a Liberal Party petition supporting Australia Day.

“Australia Day is a day for all Australians, and it should be celebrated,” she said.

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She’s critical of the Labor government for dropping a Commonwealth mandate that meant all councils were required to hold their citizenship ceremonies on January 26.

Over 80 local governments around the country have now shifted their naturalisation ceremonies to other dates.

“Little by little, Prime Minister Albanese and his government are making Australia Day less special,” Senator Henderson said.

“They have given the green light to councils to cancel citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day.

“This divisive activism has no place in our community.”

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The Surf Coast Shire and Wadawurrung Traditional Owners held the inaugural ‘Pilk Puuriyn’ truth telling event on January 26, 2023, and will again be held on the date this year (SURF COAST SHIRE).

The Liberal Party has been ramping up its campaign over how the contentious day should be celebrated, with opposition leader Peter Dutton calling for people to boycott Woolworths after the supermarket announced it would no longer be stocking Australian Day merchandise due to declining demand.

Aldi has since followed the move, and comes after a similar decision last year from retailer Kmart.

Earlier this week a Liberal party aligned think tank put out polling results from 1,000 Australians that it said found 63 per cent of respondents agreed with the statement ‘Australia Day should be celebrated on January 26′.

“Despite the continued campaign of the political class and elites to denigrate and cancel our national day,” Institute of Public Affairs Deputy Executive Director Daniel Wild said of the results.

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“Mainstream Australians understand that cancelling Australia Day is an assault on the Australian way of life.”

The Surf Coast Shire is holding a Traditional Owner led truth telling event named Pilk Purriyn (sunrise) for the second year in a row on January 26, and comes after the shire voted in September 2021 to no longer participate in any celebrations marking Australia Day. 

Presented by the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation last years dawn event at Torquay’s Cosy Corner attracted thousands of people.

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