Another council will vote on whether to change Australia Day
MARION Council will vote on whether to change the meaning of Australia Day by moving its citizenship ceremonies and awards away from the contentious date of January 26.
Councillor Bruce Hull introduced a motion over the weekend that would acknowledge January 26 as the date of European invasion, in recognition of the feelings of indigenous Australians.
"Australia Day has been held on many different days over the years," Mr Hull said.
"It's not the traditional day of celebration people think it is.
"It is a day someone has decided to use, despite it being held on different days in the past."
Marion Mayor Kris Hanna voiced his opposition to the vote, telling The Advertiser he would encourage councillors not to play national politics.
"It's democracy in action but I would encourage councillors to focus on the quality of life of their residents," Mr Hanna said.
"We have our hands full keeping the rates down."
Mr Hull emphasised that citizenship ceremonies were the responsibility of local government and it was the council's responsibility to respond to the will of its constituents.
Tensions over the issue are rising throughout the nation, with a recent "change the date" graffiti attack on monuments in Sydney labelled an attack on Australian values.
The council will be the first in the state to vote on the contentious issue, joining the likes of Yarra and Darebin councils in Victoria, which voted this month to scrap their citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day.
Mr Hull used the Darebin's motion as a template for his motion, but said the idea stemmed from a meeting of the Local Government Association in July where councils considered ways of changing the date of Australia Day.
The Victorian councils received criticism from both the Victorian and Federal Governments, which both said the councils should be focusing their efforts elsewhere.