Johnathan Thurston says there are much more important things than changing the date.

With Australia Day just a day away, the debate is still raging over whether January 26 is a problematic date to celebrate Australia Day.

But while the debate carries on, Johnathon Thurston says there are much more important things to consider.

“I know there are a lot of people who don’t like the date and there are people out there who do love the date,” the Indigenous former rugby league player told the Brisbane Times.

“But until people are educated on the history of Australia, I don’t think there will be a change in the date,” he added.

“There are other things out there that are more important to me than this.”


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Last year, the 36-year-old said that Australia needs to “have a chat” about Australia Day.

Thurston believes Australians need to be greater informed about why January 26 is hurtful to Indigenous people.

“It’s not just about the First Fleet, it’s about the stealing of the land, the misplacement of the stolen generation and the injustices that were done over the years,” Thurston said, according to the ABC.

Last week, Today show entertainment reporter Brooke Boney, who is herself Indigenous, added her voice to those who believe the date should be changed.

Watch Brooke Boney’s impassioned speech below.


“This is the best country in the world no doubt,” she said.

“But I can’t separate the 26th of January from the fact that my brothers are more likely to go to jail than they are to go to school.

“Or that my little sisters and my mum are more likely to beaten and raped than anyone else’s sisters or mum. And that started from that day.

“So for me, it’s a difficult day and I don’t want to celebrate it.”

Boney said that if Australia Day was held on “any other day of the year”, she’d be more than happy to celebrate the holiday.

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