Darebin council has followed in the footsteps of Yarra Council, voting on Monday night to end formal Australia Day celebrations on January 26.
“January 26 is indelibly tied to the dispossession and subsequent oppression of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and our Council cannot ignore the exclusion this entails and the impact it has on the health and wellbeing of our Indigenous community,” Mayor Kim Le Cerf in said a statement.
Instead, the council will hold an event in conjunction with the Darebin Aboriginal Advisory Committee, that celebrates the “World’s Oldest Living Culture”. The date on which the celebration will be held is yet to be confirmed.
Australia Day Awards will be dropped and in their place the Darebin Community Awards will recognise the contributions of residents on a day other than January 26. New awards will also be introduced to acknowledge the contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Straight Island people to the Darebin community.
Darebin Council will no longer hold citizenship ceremonies on January 26, but plans to continue with the ceremonies on other days throughout the year. When Yarra Council voted for the same change last week the federal government took away its right to hold citizenship ceremonies at any point during the year.
At the same meeting the Darebin council also voted to fully support the “yes” campaign for marriage equality. The council also expressed that it does not support a voluntary postal plebiscite to vote on the issue, but will support the “yes” campaign until “a more appropriate stance” is taken by the federal government.
The council governs an area that includes Bundoora, Kingsbury, Mclean, Fairfield, Alphington, Northcote, Preston, Reservoir, Coburg and Thornbury.
Broadsheet reached out to Darebin Council and the Aboriginal Community Elders Service. Both were unavailable for comment at the time of publishing.
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