Aboriginal Activists Protest Over Australia Day Celebrations

By Nicholas Farrington

Aboriginal rights activists gathered in Forest Chase to push for Australia Day to be moved to another date.

Speakers at the event maintained that while many people used Australia Day as an excuse to celebrate, many Aboriginal Australians still mourn the damage done to their culture by the arrival of the first fleets.

Among the speakers was Greens Federal Senator Jordan Steel-John.

Mr Steel-John affirmed his belief in the cause, stating that Australia needs to acknowledge the mistreatment of Aboriginal people.

“These stories reveal to me and you the history of the land which I first come to know as Australia and helped me to understand that our collective future will never be, and can never be its brightest, until we come to terms with the realities of our present and the truths of our past,” Mr Steele-John said.

However, WA Premier Mark McGowan stated that he didn’t want the Federal Liberal Government to focus on the debate while there are more important issues facing Aboriginal Australians.

“I’m not supportive of changing the date for a few reasons. The Commonwealth Government is currently cutting one-hundred million dollars remote indigenous housing,” Mr McGowan said.

“I don’t want us to focus on the Australia Day date and not focus on those important issues confronting Aboriginal people.”

“I don’t want Malcom Turnbull and the Liberal Government nationally to get away with cutting out important funding for Aboriginal housing in remote communities, because we’re all focused on the date of Australia Day.”

“I think we need to really keep in mind there are important issues confronting Aboriginal West Australians and the state government, in which federal Government is cutting support for our state and keep our focus on those issues.”

Despite the hot weather the demonstration ended with a march around Hay Street Mall and Murray Street Mall.


Picture: Demonstration At Forrest Chase


1 Comment

  1. Petrina Harley

    There were about ten speakers at that rally, all Noongyars except for the Greens senator. Why would you quote a non-indigenous speaker when you could have given your readers an Aboriginal voice and perspective. Of course there are wider struggles to be won, changing the date won’t fix the wider issues but it will at least show the Aboriginal community they have been heard and are supported which then gives them strength for other struggles. It’s a small start. Which is precisely what Marianne Mackay, a whadjuk Noongyar said in her speech!

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