Perth’s biggest council content to sit out Australia Day date debate

THE Mayor of Perth’s largest council does not believe local government is the appropriate level to unite communities about the date to celebrate Australia Day.

Stirling Mayor Mark Irwin acknowledged that feedback received from the Aboriginal community was divided but did not believe it a matter for local government to determine.

He was responding to claims made earlier this week by Federal Greens leader Richard Di Natale, who wants to use his party’s influence in local governments around the country to push the Greens agenda for a change of date.

“The City will continue to hold our Australia Day awards followed by a citizenship ceremony and will to use this day to celebrate our great country, our inclusiveness and our diversity,” Cr Irwin said.

Senator Di Natale had said the Greens would use its 100 members in councils nationally to push moving Australia Day, which has been changed at three Melbourne councils, following Fremantle Council’s lead last year.

Mundaring Shire President John Daw also hit out about the perceived control that political parties might have over councils.

“One of the great things about local governments is their independence,” he said.

Other Perth mayors remained largely unmoved by the Federal Greens leader’s endeavours to influence councils over the Australia Day matter.

The City of Wanneroo holds Australia’s largest citizenship ceremony on January 26, with more than 500 people in line to become Australians next Friday.

Deputy Mayor Nat Sangalli said to date the council had not received any requests to consider changing the date for celebrating Australia Day and had no alliance to any political parties.

Other councils surveyed simply said they were satisfied with their current arrangements.