Cricket Australia will not mention the words ‘Australia Day’ on Friday during the Gabba test.
Day two of the second test against the West Indies in Brisbane falls on the controversial public holiday.
The decision to schedule the test over the Australia Day weekend was itself controversial, with women’s all-rounder Ash Gardner previously describing it as a day of ‘hurt and mourning’.
It will only be marked in passing by the ground announcer and Cricket Australia (CA) is set to acknowledge that it represents different things to different people.
The actual phrase ‘Australia Day’ will not be used, reported The Australian.
CA will hold a standard Welcome to Country ceremony on day one of the Test, which falls on the day before Australia Day.
Cricket Australia will not mention the phrase ‘Australia Day’ on Friday during the Gabba test (pictured: The Australian team pose for a photo after day four of the Men’s Third Test Match in the series between Australia and Pakistan)
CA will hold a standard Welcome to Country ceremony on day one of the Test, which falls on the day before Australia Day
The governing body consulted with its Indigenous advisory board (NATSICAC) in the lead-up to both the scheduling and the commemoration of January 26.
Australia Day, observed each year on January 26, marks the landing of the First Fleet in 1788 when the first governor of the British colony of New South Wales, Arthur Philip, hoisted the Union Jack at Sydney Cove.
But, for many First Nations people, it is regarded as ‘Invasion Day’ or the ‘Day of Mourning’.
The growing polarisation around the national holiday is perhaps best summed up by the government-owned National Australia Day Council.
‘For some, Australia Day is a day to celebrate all the opportunities provided by living in a free, multicultural society,’ it wrote in its 2022 annual report.
‘For others, it is a chance to reflect on their own citizenship and what it means to be Australian. And for many, 26 January represents a day of sadness, mourning and reminder of colonisation.’
Indigenous all-rounder Ash Gardner (pictured) spoke out about the abuse she received for describing Australia Day as a celebration of ‘hurt and mourning’ last year
The annual Australia Day stoush started early this year when Anthony Albanese’s high commissioner to the UK scrapped the annual black-tie fundraiser, citing ‘sensitivities’ over the public holiday.
Then, over 80 councils across the country decided not to hold citizenship ceremonies on January 26 this year because of perceived negative connotations, with one councillor even blaming the heat.
Anthony Albanse was accused of a ‘cop-out’ in burdening council’s with the politically-sensitive decision after his government scrapped a rule forcing councils to hold Australia Day citizenship ceremonies.
And then in early January the fall-out reached corporate Australia when the Woolworths Group, which owns both Woolies and Big W, announced it would not be stocking Australia Day merchandise, blaming a ‘gradual decline in demand’.
The decision sparked uproar, with Opposition Leader Peter Dutton calling for a boycott of the store.
Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin gives a welcome to country during day one of the Second Test Match between Australia and Pakistan at Melbourne Cricket Ground on Boxing Day
‘I would advise very strongly to take your business elsewhere and go to IGA or Coles or Aldi,’ Mr Dutton said.
A few hours later, Aldi announced it would not be stocking Australia Day merchandise this year.
Prominent Indigenous leader and businessman Warren Mundine said the decision was ‘disgraceful’ and accused corporate Australia of being ‘completely out of touch with the Australian public’.
‘It’s about time these corporates actually pull their head in … Do your job, you are a retail store for Australia,’ he said.
‘If Woolworths isn’t proud of this country they can pack up and bugger off.’
A new poll from the Institute of Public Affairs which surveyed more than 1,000 Australians about their attitude towards Australia Day found that less than one in five Australians want to change the date.