In the lead up to January 26, Save the Children reaffirms its support for the Change the Date campaign.
The leading child rights agency is enabling staff to make an individual choice to mark January 26 or choose an alternate day to take as their Australia Day public holiday.
Save the Children CEO Paul Ronalds said that support to change the date is part of the organisation’s commitment to true reconciliation. No longer celebrating a date which holds strong negative connotations for many people is part of this commitment.
“For many people, January 26 is a distressing day that symbolises the beginning of the dispossession of land and denial of basic human rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as well as the attempted annihilation of their culture and massacres in their communities.
“Australia Day should be a day of celebration for all Australians. To work toward a truly reconciled nation, an inclusive date must be determined by and with First Nations peoples.
“This is precisely why it’s important we have a strong Indigenous Voice to parliament – at national and local levels.
“It will be important to incorporate the views of Indigenous children into the model, to ensure their voices are heard and considered when decisions are being made that directly affect them.”
Save the Children’s vision for reconciliation is a truly unified society where the diversity and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and heritage are recognised, respected and celebrated.
“It is critical that all Australians have a day to mark together, that is not mired by controversy, as we work to heal and reconcile as one unified nation,” Mr Ronalds said.
Save the Children works in around 200 communities and locations across Australia, reaching more than 30,000 children, young people and adults each year.
The child rights agency is a signatory of the Redfern Statement and has publicly supported the Uluru Statement, both of which are led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and informed by communities’ views.
Save the Children has had a Reconciliation Action Plan since 2011 and are committed to developing a new plan this year that is authentic, meaningful and informed by the knowledge and perspectives of our people, and that builds on the good work done through the last one.
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