There’s been much debate over the past year about possibly changing the date of ‘Australia Day’ so that it is less aligned with when white colonies arrived on the land and more inclusive and recognition of the Indigenous people who first lived here.
And there’s been just as much debate about whether or not we should keep the Union Jack on the Australian flag or do away with it altogether.
Malcolm Turnbull wishes there weren’t debate about either, stating several times already that he thinks arguments about changing the date of Australia Day are a waste of time, and that the Australian flag looks nice just as it is.
Speaking after a National Citizenship Ceremony in Canberra today, Mr Turnbull believes Australia’s flag will remain the same as it is since he feels there’s no real national desire for change.
“I think Australians, particularly younger Australians, Australians younger than me, say, my children’s generation, they don’t [want to] deconstruct the Australian flag,” he said.
“They don’t say: ‘Well, there’s a Union Jack, that’s the flag of another country’. They look at it as one Australian symbol. That’s the one they have on their backpacks when they’re travelling overseas; that’s the flag that our soldiers have on their shoulder patches. That is our flag.”
The Prime Minister then surprised by issuing a ‘Welcome to Country’, and in Indigenous language, and then referenced Indigenous people’s contributions to the nation.
“We honour their resilience and survival, respect, and cherish their continuing contribution to our nation. It’s a heritage of which we are proud and which we celebrate, it’s uniquely Australian,” he said.
Turnbull also acknowledged “the tragic impact of European settlement”.
“The impact of European settlement on Aboriginal Australians was tragic,” said Turnbull. “Of course it was. We understand that. And there are many wrongs that were done in the past, which we seek to right today.
“And that’s what we should be focusing on – on closing the gap, on health, on education, telling our story honestly, but above all remembering that this is a story of enormous achievement.”
The public debates continue about a possible date change for Australia Day, and whether or not our flag will remain stet. Antonino Tati