HELP TO DECIDE: Lismore City Council has launched an online survey to add Lismore's voices to the discussion about what date Australia Day should fall on.
HELP TO DECIDE: Lismore City Council has launched an online survey to add Lismore's voices to the discussion about what date Australia Day should fall on. Shirley Way

Have your say on Australia Day date

WHAT date do you believe Australia Day should fall on?

It is the controversial National conversation that you are invited to join. Lismore City council wants to add Lismore voices to the discussion and has asked the community to complete the short online survey What does January 26 mean to you?

The survey asks participants to leave a short description of the what January 26 means to them and offers a list of choices for when Australia day should be held. The choices are:

  • January 1 - Federation
  • January 26 - Status quo
  • February 13 - National apology
  • March 12 - Canberra named Australia's capital city
  • May 8 - "Mate”
  • May 27 - 1967 referendum
  • June 3 - Mabo Day
  • September 1 - First day of spring
  • Date to be confirmed associated with a treaty
  • Date to be confirmed associated with becoming a republic
  • I don't mind
  • Other

A Council resolution was passed in September 2017 to consult with and inform our community about what January 26 means to the Aboriginal community and report back to Council within 12 months.

In keeping with the above resolution, council attended a number of local Aboriginal network meetings to invite Aboriginal people in our community to tell us what January 26 means to them. The council continues to seek responses to this question from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as they invite the whole community to participate in this conversation by completing the online survey.

The council will be sending the results of this consultation to the Prime Minister, local members and relevant federal and state government ministers.

The following thoughts are from ATSI people who have answered the question "What does 26 January mean to you?” and given Lismore City Council permission to reference their responses:

1. "I am a proud Aboriginal and Australian so January 26 is a sad and hard day for me. It's Invasion Day and a day of mourning. I can't celebrate it. This shows not only the social but personal divide the day has. As I am both Aboriginal and Australian, I wished to just have a separate day where I can proudly celebrate both of my heritages.” - Tahlia Brice

2. "January 26 to me means how Europeans ideologised, advocated, romanticised, applied and structured their discourse theories upon Widjabul people, and other Aboriginal Countries, through various periods of 'Australian History'. Much of colonial thinking started with the stimulus of the Industrial Revolution, the philosophy of liberalism, the age of reason, and the disciplines in the sciences, on which colonisers ultimately based their impoverished viewpoint of superiority. This superiority 'rose' above the colonists, took over the reins of power, resulting in a colonial legacy legitimising inequality.” - James Speeding

3. "Currently it's a day that signifies the invasion of this land and brings me great sadness. It's a day I have to think about whether or not I feel brave/strong enough to step outside my front door and if I do, should I wear Aboriginal colours or will I suffer racist slurs. Please change the date if you have respect for the First Nations People's.” - Jo Groves

The survey will stay open until Sunday, July 15. Fill out the survey here https://yoursay.lismore.nsw.gov.au/what-does-january-26-mean-to-you/survey_tools/what-does-january-26-mean-to-you or find out more online at the Lismore City Council website.