In a move that is bound to cause a huge uproar and debate across the country, Byron Shire Council has announced it will move its Australia Day celebrations forward by one day from next year.
They say the controversial move is designed to signify that January 26 marks “the day the cultural decimation and denigration of the First Australians began”.
The Northern Star reports that Mayor Simon Richardson put forward the motion.
In a report Cr Richardson said “currently, Australia Day symbolises great sorrow and pain amongst indigenous mobs whilst many non-aboriginal Australians feel uneasy or conflicted celebrating our nation on this day”.
“I believe Byron … has an opportunity to help the nation make the transition away from the historical problem of this date.”
However, Cr Paul Spooner voted against the motion saying “you don’t change the reality of history by changing the day of the event”.
“The motion hasn’t come from the indigenous people in our community, it’s come from the mayor, and individual,” Cr Spooner said.
“There’s no real agreement on the issue. Motions like this one run the risk of creating a division.”