Australia is a beautiful nation that deserves to be celebrated. But January 26, the day the first fleet arrived to our shores, marks the start of a dark period in Indigenous history. So here are eight alternative days which we can all be proud of.
There is plenty to celebrate about Australia - the food, the beer, the sun, the beach, and the melting pot of cultures.
But 26 January, or Invasion Day as many Indigenous people call it, marks the date the first fleet arrived, when white settlement of Australia began, and the decades of injustice Aboriginal people faced at their hands.
So here we propose eight alternative days to celebrate our great nation, days we can all be proud of.
1. Federation Day - 1 January
In 1901, the six British self-governing colonies - Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia - united to form the Commonweath of Australia. Unfortunately, this happened on 1 Jan, which is also New Year's Day. So it might not be ideal for us to commemorate our country when we are busy heralding the new year.
2. When the government apologised to the Stolen Generation - 13 February
In 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd formally apologised to the Indigenous people who were forcibly removed as children from their homes and parents' care and placed in Church missions or adoptive white family. At the time, the government saw it as a protective measure for future mixed race Aboriginal children, whereby their Aboriginal hertitage would be bred-out in a couple of generations time. For decades, the Indigenous community asked for the Australian government to apologise. Now that's it has finally happened, it's worthy of celebrating every year.
3. The day Canberra was selected as our capital - 20 March
In 1913, Canberra was declared the capital of the Australia, though the Australian Capital Territory was established 1 January, 1911. The site was chosen as a compromise between Sydney and Melbourne. However Melbourne was the temporary seat of the federal government whilst Canberrra was being built. Also, March rarely has public holidays, so this would be perfect for Australians.
4. The day the White Australia Policy was abolished - 11 April
The 'Immigration Restriction Act' goes all the way back to Federation time. Over several decades many racist elements of the act, including dictation tests and restrictive rights to non-white migrants, were repealled. But it wasn't until April 11, 1973 that Gough Whitlam's government finally abolished all notes of racism with the 'The Migration Act' of 1973.
5. 'Advance Australia Fair' proclaimed as National Anthem - 19 April
Created by the Scottish-born composer in 1878, 'Advance Australia Fair' was sung as a patriotic song, but never as a national anthem. It officially replaced the UK anthem, 'God Save the Queen', which was also sung in Australia, in 1984. The second verse of the anthem makes reference to our mulitculture and generousity as a nation, which makes this date more fitting as a new public holiday.
6. The day Indigenous people were finally allowed constitutional rights - 27 May
In 1967, Australia held a referendum asking whether Aboriginal people should be given the right to make laws and be accounted for under the constitution. The country voted with a resounding 90.77 per cent in favour of the changes. Until then, Aboriginal people were denied several rights, including the right to vote or to be counted within the human census. They were accounted for within the animal population until then.
7. Mabo Day - 3 June
On 3 june 1992, the High Court of Australia ruled in favour of Eddie Mabo's case which overturned the legal stance of 'terra nullius', and acknowleged native Indigenous land rights. Though the day is already marked as a national holiday, it may fit better as a public holiday.
8. The first calendar day of summer - 1 December
Australia is known for its crystal blue beaches and summertime fun. So what better day to celebrate our great nation than on the first calendar day of summer. And with Christmas only a few weeks later, it seems like the best way to kick off the holiday season.