Byron Bay has voted to move Australia Day from January 26 with the Greens Mayor describing it as the ‘decimation’ of Aboriginal culture.
Byron Shire Council, in the far north of New South Wales, has voted to hold its citizenship ceremonies and patriotic celebrations a day earlier.
Greens Mayor Simon Richardson described the existing national day, commemorating the arrival of the British First Fleet in 1788, as when ‘the cultural decimation and denigration of the first Australians began’.
A Greens-run council in an area (Byron Bay Splendour in the Grass pictured) renowned for its hippies has voted to move Australia Day for January 26
Byron Shire Council, in the far north of New South Wales, this week voted to hold its citizenship ceremonies and patriotic celebrations a day earlier following protests in Melbourne (pictured)
‘No one wants Australia Day on the 26th,’ he told the council meeting on Thursday night, which The Northern Star newspaper covered.
‘Most people see the day as Triple J Hottest 100, a day at the beach and maybe going back to work.’
Councillor Richardson described holding Australia Day on January 26 as an affront to indigenous people.
‘In fact, celebrating the arrival of Europeans causes grief for many people so I think to move the date for our Australia Day ceremony to the night before is a reasonable compromise,’ he said in a statement.
The Greens Mayor of Byron Shire Council said ‘no one’ wanted to celebrate Australia Day on January 26
In a separate report, the Mayor described Australia Day as something which ‘symbolises great sorrow and pain amongst indigenous mobs whilst many non-Aboriginal Australians feel uneasy or conflicted celebrating our nation on this day’.
Byron Bay, a popular tourist spot at Australia’s most easterly point, has joined left-wing Melbourne councils, Yarra and Darebin, and Fremantle south of Perth in cancelling Australia Day celebrations.
Mayor Simon Richardson described January 26 as when ‘decimation’ of Aborigines began
Independent Byron councillor Alan Hunter, a member of the National Party said moving Australia Day had nothing to do with local government issues, and voted against the motion.
‘It’s another example where we’ve lost the plot,’ the cattle farmer told Daily Mail Australia today.
‘It is absolutely ridiculous. It’s a political statement, it’s a political distraction.’
Labor councillor Paul Spooner, who also voted against the motion, said it wasn’t moved by Aboriginal people.
‘You don’t change the reality of history by changing the day of the event,’ he told the council meeting.
‘The motion hasn’t come from the indigenous people in our community, it’s come from the mayor, and individual.’
Byron Shire has four Greens on the nine-member council who govern with the support of a left-leaning independent.
Not all indigenous people support moving Australia Day, with Alice Springs town councillor Jacinta Price campaigning to keep it on January 26.
Byron Shire Council, covering the most easterly point of Australia, wants the sun to set on Australia Day being held on January 26