The Project‘s Waleed Aly has proposed changing Australia Day to March 2 and he’s got a good reason.
On Tuesday night’s episode, the host said the date should be moved to end division over the public holiday and to mark an important date in Australian history.
Earlier on Tuesday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he wanted to keep Australia Day celebrations on January 26 but was open to another separate day to celebrate Indigenous Australians.
Discussing Morrison’s proposal, host Lisa Wilkinson said she believed most Australians weren’t opposed to changing the date, but they enjoyed the timing of the current Australia Day.
“It could be as simple as they quite like the idea that it sits at the end of Christmas holidays and it kind of signifies the last barbecue, I wonder if that is part of it,” she said.
Aly agreed, saying people would shift easily if there was a good alternative date.
He suggested shifting the holiday to March 2, which was the day then Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Queen Elizabeth signed the Australia Act 1986.
“The Australia Acts were passed in Australia but also in Britain, and up until that point the British government could’ve more or less eliminated Australia. They could’ve just passed a law and said Australia no longer exists … and that was in the 80s that we passed that law.
“So it was only then that Australia really became a properly, fully independent or sovereign nation, and the weather’s good in March so let’s get to it!”
Australia Day, called ‘Invasion Day’ by some, has become increasingly divisive. This year ‘Invasion Day’ protests were held around the country, and Triple J moved its popular Hottest 100 countdown from Australia Day to January 27.
Currently celebrated on January 26, Australia Day marks the arrival of The First Fleet in 1788.