Waleed Aly backs Australia Day date change

 

WALEED Aly has proposed changing Australia Day to March 2 as a way to end division over the public holiday being celebrated on January 26.

Aly made the argument on Tuesday night's episode of The Project while discussing Prime Minister Scott Morrison's proposal to have another public holiday recognising indigenous Australians.

Earlier on Tuesday Mr Morrison told reporters he wanted to keep Australia Day celebrations on January 26 but floated the idea of having a separate day to celebrate indigenous Australians.

Waleed Aly has proposed changing Australia Day to March 2
Waleed Aly has proposed changing Australia Day to March 2

"We don't have to pull Australia Day down to actually recognise the achievements of indigenous Australia, the oldest living culture in the world; the two can coexist," Mr Morrison told Channel 7.

Discussing the Prime Minister's proposal, Lisa Wilkinson said she believed most Australians weren't opposed to changing the date, they just wanted a public holiday as summer vacations winded down.

"It could be as simple as they quite like the idea that it sits at the end of Christmas holidays and it kind of signifies the last barbecue, I wonder if that is part of it," she said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison floated the idea of a new public holiday on Tuesday
Prime Minister Scott Morrison floated the idea of a new public holiday on Tuesday

"I think if you could float a really good alternative date people would shift pretty easily," Aly added in agreement.

The Project host proposed moving Australia Day to March 2, which was the day the Australia Act was signed by then Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Queen Elizabeth.

"It was the date that the Australia Acts were passed," Aly explained.

"The Australia Acts were passed in Australia but also in Britain, and up until that point the British government could've more or less eliminated Australia. They could've just passed a law and said Australia no longer exists … and that was in the '80s that we passed that law.

"So it was only then that we became a proper fully independent or sovereign nation, and the weather's good in March so let's get to it!"

 

Lisa Wilkinson questioned whether people liked January 26 because it marked the end of the Christmas school holidays
Lisa Wilkinson questioned whether people liked January 26 because it marked the end of the Christmas school holidays

Commemorating Australia Day on January 26 is becoming increasingly divisive, with indigenous Australians arguing the date celebrates the day the country was invaded by British forces.

This year celebrations were marred by 'Invasion Day' protests across the country and Triple J's moving their Hottest 100 countdown to January 27.

It's not the first time Aly has backed changing the date, telling The Project panel on Australia Day this year that he believed "it will be won".

 

Protesters are seen at an Invasion Day Rally in Sydney on Australia Day earlier this year. Picture: Danny Casey
Protesters are seen at an Invasion Day Rally in Sydney on Australia Day earlier this year. Picture: Danny Casey

"I reckon this is the new same-sex marriage, this is the next inevitability. Whatever your view on it, I reckon that's where it's heading," Aly said.

He also wrote an editorial for the New York Times arguing in favour of Australia Day being changed because the "narrative of barbecues and holidays cannot emerge unscathed from the moral seriousness of the objections".

"In an age so conspicuously conscious of liberal notions of equality and inclusivity - evidenced, for example, by the rapid surge in support for same-sex marriage - the notion that indigenous people could be ignored is becoming intolerable," Aly wrote.

-The Project airs Sunday to Friday at 6.30pm on Network 10.



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