UPDATE: In a statement, Triple J has announced the 2017 Hottest 100 will remain on Australia Day. However, the broadcaster says the future date of the event will continue to be “under review.”
“We will continue to talk to Indigenous communities, artists and our audience about the date for the Hottest 100 in future years,” the statement reads.
“We want the Hottest 100 to be an inclusive and respectful event for all Australians, including all the incredible Indigenous artists making great Australian music, and the listeners from all cultural backgrounds who love it”
According to reports today, Triple J is considering changing the date of its annual Hottest 100 countdown so it no longer falls on the divisive Australia Day public holiday.
And that can only be a good thing.
Pedestrian reports the youth broadcaster is in the midst of “serious talks” about moving the music poll to another date in a sign of solidarity with Indigenous Australians, with a final decision expected to be handed down next week.
Since its inception in 1988, the Hottest 100 — touted as the “world’s biggest music democracy” — has been broadcast on the same date and, for some, it’s become as synonymous with Australia Day as cracking a tinnie and backyard cricket.
But many Australians have nothing to celebrate on January 26.
For many Australia Day is a day of mourning. Not barbecuing. Source: Getty
It doesn't represent a day off work and fireworks over Sydney Harbour; it represents the day when everything changed. When the First Fleet arrived in Port Jackson, a British flag was raised and the systematic oppression of the First Nations people began.
Invasion Day. A day of mourning.
Of the 197 countries in the world that celebrate a 'national day', Australia is the only one that celebrates the day it was colonised - an act which led to the death of an estimated 90 per cent of its native population.
This year we took to the streets and asked: What does Australia Day mean to you? Post continues after video...
The Hottest 100 is more popular than ever. This year's poll attracted two million votes from 298,851 people, the most in its history.
More than half of the entries were from Australian bands, many Indigenous. The station prides itself on its diversity. On representation.
Imagine if an institution like Triple J, so clearly embedded in our cultural zeitgeist, led the way and decided January 26 would no longer be a day for revelry, for getting pissed with your mates.
It's a change thousands of Australians are asking for and one that is entirely plausible.
"The ABC has a long history of excellent broadcasting with a focus on diversity, and Triple J is no exception," a change.org petition (just one small part of the larger #ChngeTheDate campaign) reads.
"By changing the date of the Hottest 100 Countdown, Triple J can send a message to First Nations’ Peoples that they, and their experiences, are valued and respected by other Australians."
Whatever the ABC decides, that the conversation is being had — seriously being had — by our national broadcaster is a big deal and one that hopefully the beginning of a bigger conversation about making our "national day" a day for all Australians, not just some.