• January 26th is more controversial than ever. (AAP)Source: AAP
A day of action has been prepared for January 26 2018 as the debate over change the date of Australia day reaches a national audience.
By
NITV Staff Writers

26 Jan 2018 - 7:33 AM  UPDATED 26 Jan 2018 - 8:25 AM

Scroll down for a full list of events planned for Jan 26

Marches and protests are planned Australia wide today as First Australians continue their fight to have Australia day removed from January 26.

Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove is urging Australians to embrace Australia Day to celebrate the rich history and culture of indigenous people and the contributions of migrants.

As disagreement intensifies over shifting the national day from the January 26 anniversary of the First Fleet's arrival in 1788 and division widens amid growing "Invasion Day" rallies, Sir Peter reminded Australians to celebrate their diversity on Friday.

"From the rich culture and history of our first Australians, to the many generations who've come here to make Australia home, to those people proudly taking the citizenship pledge and becoming our newest Australians today, our nation is stronger because of our diversity and the way we live and work harmoniously together," he says in his Australia Day address.

Citizenship ceremonies and backyard barbecues are bound to draw big crowds, but not all will be celebrating this year.

Thousands are expected at "Invasion Day" marches around the country, buoyed by Thursday's comments from Australian of the Year nominee Johnathan Thurston that the date will inevitable change one day.

Johnathan Thurston believes once Australia is more informed about why the national holiday's date is hurtful to indigenous people, change will happen.

The 36-year-old, who is set to retire from rugby league as one of the sport's greats after the upcoming season, also urged governments to make indigenous affairs a priority after an "alarming" failure to meet Close The Gap targets over the past decade.

Thurston said the country needs to "have a chat" about Australia Day.

"It's not just about the First Fleet, it's about the stealing of the land, the misplacement of the stolen generation and the injustices that were done over the years," Thurston said.

"Australia Day is meant to be inclusive of everyone but obviously some in our culture don't feel included on this day.

"I think people need to be educated on why they don't feel included on this day."

The NRL superstar is Queensland's Australian of the Year and one of eight finalists in the running for the national award to be announced in Canberra on Thursday.

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Thurston said sport had given him a platform to pursue his passion of mentoring the next generation of indigenous Australians.

"Our culture has been around for thousands of years and the way we're going it's not going to be around for thousands more," Thurston said.

"We need to be making sure the government is putting indigenous affairs at the forefront of their campaigns."

More than 5000 are expected at a rally outside the Victorian Parliament and similar numbers will walk in Sydney, starting from The Block in Redfern.

Protests have already begun with a Melbourne statue of Captain Cook daubed in pink paint and the words "No Pride" on Thursday.

But Multicultural Affairs Minister Alan Tudge is among those to throw his wholehearted support behind keeping the date.

"On Australia Day, we celebrate the big three pillars of our society; our Indigenous heritage, the British foundation and multicultural character," Mr Tudge said.

An Institute of Public Affairs poll released this week suggests most Australians agree with him, with 70 per cent of 1000 respondents saying the public holiday should remain on January 26, while 11 per cent disagree.

Rising tensions over Australia Day date

This week has been filled with debate over the date of Australia Day and its broader meaning to all Australians but in particular the significance of having a celebration on this day and how that impacts Indigenous Australians.

From former Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s comments about the arrival of the First Fleet being a ‘good thing’ for Indigenous Australians, to a twitter war between Music artists featured in Cory Bernardi’s AC100 – it’s a day that has been causing debate across the nation.

On Monday former Prime Minister Tony Abbott made the startling claim that the landing of the First Fleet was a 'good thing' for First Australians. 

"What happened on the 26th of January 1788 was, on balance, for everyone, Aboriginal people included, a good thing because it brought Western civilisation to this country, it brought Australia into the modern world," he said. 

The former Prime Minister's comments praising Australia day followed his Sunday tweet that stated: "This Friday I will gladly join millions of my ­fellow Australians to declare my faith in what, to us, is surely the best country on earth." 

Pastor Ray Minniecon, one of the organisers of Sydney's Invasion Day rally, said Mr Abbott was 'an idiot' after the former Prime Minister said the arrival of the First Fleet was a 'good thing' for Indigenous Australians.   

"He's an idiot, he doesn't understand Aboriginal people or the history of this country," he told NITV News. 

Mr Minniecon, a Kabikabi and Gurang-Gurang man from Queensland, said Mr Abbott will "not accept the fact the arrival of the First Fleet meant the massacre and genocide of First Australians."

On Tuesday Triple J revealed that this year's Hottest 100 voting has been the biggest ever in the history of the popular poll since it began in 1989 after moving the countdown away from Australia day in a mark of respect to the feelings on Indigenous Australians.

While many praised the move, including well known Indigenous artists, there was condemnation from others. Communications Minister Mitch Fifield criticised the decision and many commenters online claimed they would boycott the vote.

Indigenous Labor frontbencher Linda Burney this week urged the government and the Greens to focus on more important Indigenous issues than the date of Australia Day.

Despite the growing focus on changing the date, the opposition spokesperson for Human Services, Linda Burney said the focus should be on more important Indigenous issues.

“Where has the debate around constitutional reform gotten to?" she asked on ABC Radio.

"How are we possibly going to listen again to the Closing the Gap Report which is due in a few months when we know that those hallmarks have not been met and will not be met according to the Closing the Gap time frame?”

It comes after Indigenous Victorian Green MP, Lydia Thorpe was targeted with sexual violence and racism, for calling for the flag to fly at half-mast on January 26 to mark the suffering of Indigenous people.

Victoria Police are continuing to investigate a series of emails sent to Victorian Greens MP Lidia Thorpe, which she described as very graphic, threatening gang rape.

She said there have been no more threats, but her staff have been subject to a series of abusive calls from members of the community.

"I think it’s a very small minority of people that stoop to that level, I suppose, to sexual violence against women," Ms Thorpe said.

"Is it because I'm a woman and a black woman?"

What's on today and where you can find it

NSW

Survival Day Ceremony

  • 26 January, 7.15am to 10.15am

  • 79 Waratah Avenue, Graceville (gather at the bronze canoe, near Simpson’s Playground, end of Graceville Avenue)

  • Organised by the Benarrawa Community Development Association

Find out more

Invasion Day March

  • 26 January, 10.30am

  • Parliament House, George Street

  • Organised by the Warriors of Resistance (WAR)

Find out more

Reconciliation Queensland annual Survival Day event

  • 26 January, 1pm to 5pm

  • Arana Leagues Club, 247 Dawson Parade, Keppera 4054

  • Organised by Reconciliation Queensland

Find out more

Balaangala Community Group Survival Day event

  • 26 January, 8.30am to 10am

  • 98 Yoorala St, The Gap QLD 4061

  • Organised by Balaangala Community Group

Find out more

Townsville Survival Day 2018

  • 26 January, 7.30am to 1pm

  • Townsville Aboriginal and Cultural Centre

  • 2/68 Flinders Street East, Townsville

  • Hosted by Big Eye Theatre

Find out more

NSW

Lismore Invasion Day Resistance Rally

  • 26 January, 9am to 12pm

  • NSW Local Courts, 9-11 Zodoc Street, Lismore

Find out more

March for Justice through Treaty.

In Commemoration of the 1988 Long March for Peace Justice and Hope, where 40,000 people showed their support for Aboriginal rights. Also commemorating 80 years since the 1938 Day of Mourning

  • 26 January 9.30am to 3pm
  • March assembles at Redfern Park, departing at 10.05am and ends at Hyde Park around 11.30am. See link below for program of speakers.

Find out more

Rally at the Block

  • 26 January, 10am

  • Corner of Caroline and Louis Streets, Redfern

Find out more

Wugulora Indigenous Morning Ceremony

  • 26 January, 7.45am to 8.30am

  • Walumil Lawns at Bangaroo

  • Organised by Australia Day in New South Wales

Find out more

Yabun Festival

  • 26 January, 10am to 7pm

  • Victoria Park, Camperdown

Find out more

Bermagui Survival Day

  • 26 January, 11am to 2pm

  • Lions Park, 59 Lamont St, Bermagui NSW 2546, Australia

Find out more

Buundaagi: A celebration of local Gomeroi culture

  • 27 January 3pm to 6.30pm

  • Tamworth Country Music Festival, 437 Peel Street, Tamworth

  • Presented by Yinarr Maramali & Gomeroi Dance Company

  • Supported by Joblink Plus & Tamworth Country Music Festival

Find out more

Canberra

Invasion Day March

  • 26 January, 12pm to 3pm

  • Gareema Place, Canberra

  • Organised by Frontier Wars

Victoria

Invasion Day at Handsome Her

  • 26 January, 9am to 3.30pm

  • 206 Sydney Road, Brunswick

  • Organised by VACCA

Find out more

Belgrave Survival Day

  • 26 January, 12pm to 5pm

  • Borthwick Park (next to Belgrave Pool)

  • Corner of Benson Street and Blair Road, Melbourne

  • Hosted by Belgrave Survival Day

Find out more

Balit Nurran Share the Spirit Festival

  • 26 January, 1pm to 5pm

  • 2-18 Spring Street, Treasury Gardens, Melbourne

Find out more

Invasion Day Rally #AbolishAustraliaDay

  • 26 January, 10am

  • Parliament of Victoria, Spring Street, Melbourne

  • Assemble at Pastor Douglas and Gladys Nichols statue for smoking ceremony with respect to all Kulin Nations custodians

  • Organised by Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance

Find out more

We survived

  • 27 January, 5pm to 10.45pm

  • The Toff in Town

  • Level 2, Curtin House, 252 Swanston Street, Melbourne

  • Organised by DRMNGNOW

  • Tickets: presale $10 or at the door $15

Find out more

Tasmania

Change the date march and rally

  • 26 January 11.30am to 1pm

  • Starts at 198 Elizabeth Street Hobart and ends at Parliament House Lawns

  • Hosted by Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre

South Australia

Find out more

Tandanya Survival Day 2018

  • 26 January 2018 11am to 6pm

  • Semaphore Rd, Semaphore SA 5019, Australia

  • Hosted by Tandanya National Aboriginal Cultural Institute

Find out more

Western Australia