Captain Cook, whose exploration feats of Australia ultimately have nothing to do with the date January 26, Eddie Mabo, who campaigned for Indigenous land rights, and Queen Elizabeth II, whose birthday is on April 21, contrary to the Queen's Birthday Long Weekend celebrations in early June in NSW and most other states and territories.
Captain Cook, whose exploration feats of Australia ultimately have nothing to do with the date January 26, Eddie Mabo, who campaigned for Indigenous land rights, and Queen Elizabeth II, whose birthday is on April 21, contrary to the Queen's Birthday Long Weekend celebrations in early June in NSW and most other states and territories.

LETTER: Date of Australia Day fit for a Queen

Dear Sir,

One of the beauties of the digital era is that letters to the editor linger longer than the next issue and thus I found one from the ever eloquent John Ibbotson on the Australia Day date change discussion.

Related Letter:

AUSTRALIA DAY: Unifying fact about date not taught in schools

However, lest anyone take his sage words as gospel, if you believe in that sort of thing, may I offer a couple of considerations.

Few people outside self-informed Facebook groups believe Australia Day had anything to do with Captain Cook. Even Wikipedia tells us it was the date that Governor Phillip planted the flag at Port Jackson.

That it was the date of the Nationality and Citizenship Act of 1948 was enacted (1949) appears to be coincidental, but admittedly another really good basis for a misinformed Facebook group.

More importantly, what aspect of a white man telling the original inhabitants that they were now 'Australian' would those people feel was worth celebrating, particularly given that those same people still couldn't vote for another 20 years, and that their very existence before white man was denied for another 45?

I advocate Eddie Mabo Day, 3rd June, as the new Australia Day, the date that our indigenous peoples used white man's law to have themselves recognised and their lands (to some small extent) returned to them.

Isn't that a moment to be cherished?

Conveniently that date is already close to a public holiday and it's not as if it's the Queen's actual birthday or anything, so maybe swap her day to January 26 so we don't lose one. That's the most important bit isn't it?

Max Crus

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