Linda Burney calls for Indigenous holiday as she criticises 'divisive' change the date movement

The first Indigenous woman to be elected to the Australia's House of Representatives says Australia Day isn't changing any time soon.

Labor frontbencher Linda Burney has clarified her party's position as the national debate about changing the date of Australia Day continues.

"There is no proposal to change the date," the Wiradjuri woman told ABC radio on Wednesday.

"We are saying that this Australia Day, there needs to be a massive undertaking by Australians to think deeply about the truth and true history of this country."

She said Australia Day was an "extremely painful day" for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but the Greens' movement to change the date was also hurtful.

Their decision to turn it into a "political issue ... could end up being more divisive than helpful", the Labor MP said.

Ms Burney said she was advocating within her own party for a new national public holiday to celebrate Australia's Indigenous peoples.

The federal government has sharply rebuked the talks around changing the date.

The Prime Minister has labelled the campaign a move to "take a day that unites Australia and Australians and turn it into one that divides us."


Published 17 January 2018 at 8:36am, updated 17 January 2018 at 1:31pm