On 26th January 2017 the Curtin Student Guild will not be recognising Australia Day.
As such, a team of Student Representatives and Staff will be continuing the Guild’s operations as per a regular working day.
The Guild body recognise that by doing this it will not fix Indigenous incarceration rates. It won’t improve access to health and education. It won’t increase Indigenous retention rates at TAFE and University. It won’t undo hundreds of years of systematic oppression.
However holding Australia Day on January 26th is a symbol so needlessly disrespectful and so easily changed that it should not be disregarded.
January 26th has only been nationally recognised as Australia Day since 1994; it is by no means culturally entrenched and there are any number of dates which could be celebrated in its stead.
“We could choose to celebrate the first sitting of the Australian Parliament on January 1st, 1901. We could commemorate the referendum of May 27th, 1967 as the day that 90% of Australians voted to recognise Indigenous Australians. We could observe April 11, 1973 when all elements of the White Australia policy were finally abolished,” says Guild President Liam O’Neill.
“We won’t tell our members how to spend their hard-earned holiday, but we do believe a day that celebrates the dispossession of the First Peoples of this country is a pretty un-Australian holiday to have.”
By boycotting the 26th, when all the beaches are deserted, the parks are empty and the live venues are silent, the Guild hopes that our leaders will take some initiative and gazette a more appropriate public holiday.
Don’t celebrate dispossession. Change the date.
For Media Enquires contact:
Liam O'Neill Guild
(08) 9266 2934