Inner-city council to spends $20,000 of ratepayers’ money on one-hour ‘mourning ceremony’ on Australia Day
- Ratepayers in City of Port Phillip council to pay money for ‘mourning ceremony’
- Event at 6am on Sunday will be held before Australia Day citizenship ceremony
- Idea was promoted in October as a ‘mourning of mourning’ by council’s mayor
- ‘Mourning ceremony’ also to be held by Whittlesea Council in Melbourne’s north
Inner-city ratepayers will spend as much as $20,000 on an Australia Day ‘mourning’ ceremony to recognise how colonisation has negatively affected indigenous people.
The ceremony at Alfred Square in Melbourne’s St Kilda will run for an hour from 6am on Sunday and will be held in collaboration with the Boonwurrung Land and Sea Council.
City of Port Phillip council will then at 11am hold a citizenship ceremony, which officials said is ‘presented in harmony’ with the mourning event.
Invasion Day protesters gather at Flinders Street Station in Melbourne on Australia Day 2019. City of Port Phillip council is holding a ‘mourning ceremony’ on January 26 to recognise how colonisation has negatively affected indigenous people
The idea for the early morning reflection ceremony was promoted in October as a ‘morning of mourning’ by the council’s mayor Dick Gross.
‘There is no doubt that elements of Australia Day are controversial,’ he said.
‘The First Nations paid an undeniable price from European ‘settlement’and we need to acknowledge this.’
The council will spend $20,000 on proceedings, and Australia Day Council funds have also been committed towards the event.
Funds from the Australia Day Council will be used for ‘cultural delivery aspects’, the Herald Sun reported.
Whittlesea Council, in Melbourne’s north, will also hold a minute’s silence and an official ‘mourning ceremony’ to pay respect to the Stolen Generations on Australia Day.
The inner-city council’s mayor Dick Gross said in October Australia needed to recognise the price First Nations people paid for ‘settlement’ (pictured Invasion Day protesters in Melbourne in 2019)
Guest speakers will be required to acknowledge ‘past injustices in our nation’s history’.
It comes after Darebin and Yarra councils in Melbourne were both stripped of their right to hold citizenship ceremonies in 2017 after announcing they were scrapping Australia Day celebrations.
A survey from The Institute of Public Affairs earlier this week revealed Australia Day celebrations on January 26 are wanted by more than 70 per cent of Australians.