A West Australian Senator has been slammed for labellinga ‘celebration of white supremacy’.
Sue Lines, who is also the deputy president of the, is in favour of changing the date from January 26, saying it is part of a ‘modern racist’ political agenda against Indigenous Australians.
The national public holiday has come to divide the nation in recent years, as it grapples with how to deal with its colonial history.
‘Australia Day celebrates white supremacy and the legacy of colonisation that is directly linked to the various ways we continue to fail First Nations people,’ she wrote on her Facebook page.
‘It’s wrapped up in modern racist policies like the cashless debit card, with deaths in custody and our failure to close the gap.
There have long been debates about the celebration of a day since it celebrates the landing of the First Fleet in Australia (pictured, a rally in Melbourne in 2020)
Sue Lines (pictured) has been slammed for labelling Australia Day a celebration of white supremacy
‘January 26th should be a day of mourning and reflection.’
Her post drew the ire of the state’s opposition leader Zak Kirkup, who described her sentiment as ‘shameful and wholly unacceptable’,reported.
‘That statement by one of the most senior Labor politicians here in Western Australia is divisive,’ he said.
‘We’ve seen the continued polarisation of politics globally, and the language used here by Labor to divide Australians among themselves fails to deal with the actual issues that confront Aboriginal people in Western Australia.’
Mr Kirkup said he worked closely with local Indigenous communities, and was adamant community leaders had never raised the issue of the date of Australia Day with him.
‘Whether I’m up in Kununurra or in Geraldton or in Aboriginal communities in the Goldfields, not a single person there talks to me about changing the date,’ he said.
Sue Lines, who is also the deputy president of the senate, is in favour of changing the date from January 26 to another day (pictured, protesters on Australia Day in 2020 in Melbourne)
Victoria Police are seen grappling with a man at the Flinders Street Railway Station during a demonstration on Australia Day in 2020
‘They want to make sure they have a government that addresses the challenges of the future. To end the cycle of violence and abuse and the failure to address the issues of poverty.’
Mr Kirkup, whose grandfather was Aboriginal, does not support changing the date of Australia Day.
Ms Lines’ Labor colleague, Aboriginal affairs minister Ben Wyatt, also criticised the senator on Monday.
Her description of the 1788 anniversary as a ‘destructive era of colonisation, genocide and dispossession’ would ‘offend decent Australians’, he said.
‘That sort of rhetoric doesn’t help the debate because a lot of really good decent Australians who celebrate Australia Day will be quite offended by that comment,’ Mr Wyatt said.
The ABC promoted the article on Twitter later on Sunday, sticking by the ‘Australia Day/Invasion Day’ decision
A fellow WA politician said he worked closely with local Indigenous communities, and was adamant community leaders had never raised the issue of the date of Australia Day with him (pictured, an Invasion Day rally in Brisbane in 2020)
There have been calls for Ms Lines (pictured) to resign from her post within parliament after drawing the comparison with white supremacy
Mr Wyatt, who is Indigenous, does support changing the date but doesn’t think the topic should be ‘high on the agenda’ for supporting Indigenous people in Western Australia.
There have been calls for Ms Lines to resign from her post within parliament after drawing the comparison.
A small survey conducted byof 1,236 Aussies found 59 per cent of participants wanted the name to remain Australia Day.
But 41 per cent would support a name change to Invasion Day.
The results of the survey indicate Australians under 25 are more likely to want January 26 to be known as ‘Invasion Day’, with 70 per cent supporting the change.
Meanwhile, people older than 35 are increasingly likely to support the name as it is.
The ABC has begun referring to January 26 as ‘Invasion Day’ instead of ‘Australia Day’ in an attempt to be more inclusive (pictured, celebrations in 2019 in Melbourne)
There have long been debates about the celebration of a day linked to the genocide of Indigenous Australians and the ‘colonisation of an ancient culture’ (protesters at an Invasion Day rally in 2020)
It comes just a day after the ABC sparked a nationwide debate after using the term ‘Invasion Day’ interchangeably with Australia Day in an article.
Australia Day is a day of celebration for many, as the nation enjoys a public holiday to come together and enjoy everything a lifestyle Down Under brings.
But for First Nations people, it marks ‘a day of sorrow for the colonisation of an ancient culture,’ according to the ABC article.
‘For some First Nations people, it is a day to mourn the past and galvanise the community to address ongoing systemic racial injustice. For others, it’s a chance to spend time with family and friends at the beach or around barbecues.’
The ABC defended the decision to use the terms interchangeably as it would be ‘inappropriate’ to demand its’ staff to refer to one or the other.
But it has since backtracked on the decision by quietly removing the phrase from the article on Monday.
Australia Day is a day of celebration for many (pictured, revellers in 2020 at a Brisbane pub)
Aboriginal rights activists argue the nation should not celebrate Australia Day because it marks the start of colonisation and the oppression of Indigenous Australians
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