Saturday, March 23, 2019

Council not keen on changing the date

Councillors Anne Salt, seated, and
Rachel Power.
THE latest move to change the date of Australia Day will not be supported by the Derwent Valley Council. 

Following last weekend's successful "Australia Day Take 2" celebration being held in the upper Derwent Valley, Councillor Rachel Power proposed that the council support the Hobart City Council’s push to change the date of the national day.

Traditional Australia Day events in Maydena had been cancelled due to the extreme bushfire risk to the town on January 26. With the fire risk now greatly reduced, Maydena and nearby National Park held their delayed celebrations last weekend.

Cr Power told this week's Derwent Valley Council meeting that the success of the delayed event had led her to believe it was time to consider changing the date. “Perhaps it’s time we look at this, and it was a close vote the last time this was put up at LGAT,” Cr Power said. 

Cr Anne Salt seconded Cr Power’s motion that the council should support a change to the date of Australia Day when it is voted on at next week’s Local Government Association meeting.

Former mayor Martyn Evans told the meeting that Australia Day for him had always been on Australia Day and always would be. “I’ll know which day to eat lamb, drink beer and enjoy great times with my great family, great friends and great mates,” Cr Evans said. “I’m a very passionate Australian and I love the day and I love to be inclusive and it should stay the same.”

Cr Salt said she was supporting the motion. “I think in these enlightened times we have to consider the impact on our indigenous community of that day being Australia Day,” she said. 

Closing the debate and noting that only two other councillors had spoken, Cr Power said the intent of her motion had been to find out where councillors stood on the issue. "Obviously I support everybody," she said. "I have a large indigenous workforce who celebrated on both days. So obviously we don't speak for ourselves, we speak for our ratepayers and the community who have elected us and that's why I wanted to open it up for discussion."

When put to the vote, the motion was defeated 4-2 with two councillors absent. The LGAT meeting in Devonport on March 29 will consider the Hobart City Council’s proposal that the councils group should lobby the Federal Government to change the date of Australia Day.


  1. Very encouraging to read cr. Power's comment " I obviously support everybody..." the ability to capture both sides of the issue is a skill. Cr. Powers' intent was to find out what councillors believed and the result is noted but lets play the tape to the end.
    That would mean since decision makers 'don't speak for themselves', "we speak for our rate payers" these are mighty fine observations. So the obvious questions are how & when will council ask those same rate payers mentioned?

  2. I think the possibility of a date change to Australia Day should be open for a good clear discussion. I don't believe the current date (which by the way Cr Evans hasn't always been the 26th Jan - Paul Keating changed it to that) should be called Invasion Day by the indigenous community but obviously the date concerns our indigenous peoples, so why not talk about it? Some very astute person suggested May8 (MATE) - what a good idea!

    1. All Keating did in this regard was to standardize the public holiday to the actual day, not the Monday if on a weekend .


    3. Thanks Editor for taking the effort in providing the link - this should make the history very clear