Hobart City Council looks set to change the date of Australia Day citizenship ceremonies at Monday’s meeting.
Traditionally held on January 26, the Albanese Government is now allowing councils to hold the functions welcoming new citizens on the three days prior or after the date.
Council’s Manager of Community Programs and Director Connected City have recommended representatives vote for the shift, to take place from 2024, as part of a wider campaign to change the date of Australia Day itself.
“It is noted that changing the date of Australia Day and associated activities is still a divisive issue in the broader community and there may be some negative commentary if the Council supports changing the date of the citizenship ceremony,” said council agenda documents.
“Whilst the Aboriginal community is not fully unified on changing the date, each year there are ever-increasing public protests by the general population with calls to change the date of the national holiday in recognition that 26 January is not a day of celebration for all Australians and therefore does not unify the nation.”
At least one councillor has questioned the shift ahead of Monday’s vote.
“Personally I’m not wedded to a date – it’s celebrating new citizens that matters to me. I think any change to the date we celebrate Australia Day on is a matter for the State and Federal Government,” said Councillor Louise Elliott on social media.
“A carte blanche approach where the wishes of some are instantly commands [sic] doesn’t sit well with me.”