In 2021, Mamamia will only refer to January 26 by its date, to acknowledge that it is not a day of celebration for all Australians. If you want to be an ally this January 26, we urge you to sign this letter below to your MP about the Uluru Statement from the Heart – which calls for constitutional change and structural reform that recognises the sacred, ancient spiritual link Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have to their land.
Every year in Australia, once the New Year festivities are behind us, the same debate mounts in the press, on social media and around dinner tables.
To some, January 26 is a modern tradition worth protecting, a celebration of what Australia looks like today. It feels like a moment to pause and acknowledge what we have.
To others, it can never be detached from the past, from an event that started systematic oppression of an ancient culture. It feels, as Woolwonga/Gurindji woman Susan Moylan-Coombs says, "like pressing on a bruise".
Watch: What January 26 means to different Australians.
If you are among those who see changing the date of our national day as one way to help heal that bruise, here's a guide to common arguments against it and how to address them.
'We deserve to celebrate Australia and being Australian.'
Abso-bloody-lutely! We've got so much to celebrate as a country.
But by having that celebration on January 26, we're tying it to British settlement and positioning that invasion (in Reconciliation Australia's words) as "the primary source of Australian identity and pride."