Save Children Backs Date Change, Urges Voice to Parliament Implementation

As in previous years, staff members across the country can choose to mark 26 January or take the Australia Day public holiday on an alternative date.

Save the Children Australia CEO Mat Tinkler said the organisation supports the adoption of a new national date, determined in consultation with First Nations peoples, that is fully inclusive of our shared history and culture.

“The 26th of January is not an inclusive day of celebration for all Australians,” he said.

“Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities mark the 26th as a day of mourning and one that serves as a reminder of the painful and ongoing impact of colonialism on First Nation peoples.”

Travis Borsi, Northern Territory Director for 54 reasons, said he hoped the nation would continue to grow its understanding of the true history we share, and change the date to a day that unifies the country and is celebrated by all.

“I would like to live in an Australia where everyone has a deeper understanding of First Nations culture, traditions, and how our shared history has brought us to where we are now,” he said.

“With that knowledge and a sense of empathy, I would hope that our country can understand intergenerational trauma and help us heal together, starting by changing the date of Australia Day.”

As one of the steps in the path toward reconciliation, Save the Children supports the establishment of a Voice to Parliament that is enshrined in the Constitution, consistent with the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

“First Nations people having a voice to government is an integral part of ensuring our stories, challenges and proposed solutions are shared in a transparent way, with a greater likelihood of positive outcomes,” Mr Borsi said.

“The nation has a further opportunity to progress toward real reconciliation later this year by voting to support the Voice to Parliament,” Mr Tinkler said.

“We must ensure that during this process, the views and voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are heard, and that the consultation of First Nations children is on-going and not a once off.”

The child rights organisation is a signatory of the Redfern Statement and publicly supported the Uluru Statement, both of which are led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and informed by communities’ views.

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