Australia Day vs Invasion Day: Protests Over Symbol Of Slavery
On January 25 and 26, 2024, Australia faced a lot of protests and disagreements over its national holiday, Australia Day.
This day is celebrated every year on January 26 to remember the arrival of British settlers in 1788. But this year, it was marked by protests and vandalism in cities like Melbourne and Sydney.
Many Australians see this day as a happy holiday with beach trips and barbecues. However, for the Indigenous people, the day is a reminder of the painful history and loss they faced when Europeans arrived in Australia. Because of this, some people call it “Invasion Day.”
Before Australia Day, statues of two British figures, Captain James Cook and Queen Victoria, were damaged in Melbourne. Cook’s statue was cut in the shins, and Queen Victoria’s statue was covered in red paint.
The local government leaders, like Victoria state premier Jacinta Allan and opposition leader John Pesutto, said that damaging statues is wrong and not the right way to protest.
On the holiday, thousands of people joined ‘Invasion Day’ rallies in major cities to support the Indigenous community. They want the holiday date to be changed to a day that respects everyone, including the Aboriginal people.
Adrian Burragubba, an Aboriginal elder, said Australia Day means nothing to them and represents their loss of sovereignty.
Indigenous Australians have lived in Australia for at least 65,000 years. But they are only 3.8% of the population and face many problems like poor health and education. They don’t celebrate Australia Day because it reminds them of the violence and loss they suffered.
Not everyone agrees on changing the date of Australia Day. A poll showed that while most Australians like having a public holiday, they are divided on whether to change the date.
Some politicians and public figures have different opinions. For example, conservative leader Peter Dutton criticized a store for not selling Australia Day items, while cricket captain Pat Cummins suggested finding a more inclusive date to celebrate.
Last year, Australians voted against a change in the constitution that would have recognized Indigenous people and created a special council for them.
This issue is still causing a lot of discussions and disagreements in Australia. It’s okay to celebrate Australia Day, but the country should change the date, as this date is a symbol of slavery for Australians.