FREMANTLE mayoral candidate Ra Stewart has announced she will bring Australia Day celebrations in Fremantle back to January 26 if she is elected.
Ms Stewart said she believed there had been a lack of consultation when the City of Fremantle decided to cancel their Australia Day celebrations in favour of a more culturally sensitive event a few days later.
“Until such time that we as a nation decide together to celebrate our national day on a day other than 26 January, under my leadership, Fremantle will embrace what it means to stand beneath the Southern Cross and call ourselves Australian on Australia Day which is currently 26 January,” she said.
“I believe Australia Day is a Federal issue and should be debated on the national stage at a bipartisan level.
“I believe it is Council’s role to create community and not division, so as Mayor I will initiate open and authentic consultation with our community on this issue.”
Speaking when the cancellation was first announced in December, Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt said the move had received local support.
“There has been a growing movement that January 26 is increasingly becoming a day that is ‘not for all Australians’ and for many Aboriginal Australians it is indeed a day of sadness and dispossession,” he said.
“This does not just refer to Indigenous involvement but the involvement of many other Australians who feel increasingly uncomfortable with the date and what it represents.
“The City has received significant feedback supporting the idea of reimagining our Australia Day celebrations from both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.”