Australia Day: Greens WA senator says they’ll continue to push for date change at local government level

WA Greens senator Rachel Siewert.
WA Greens senator Rachel Siewert.

GREENS say “progressive” councillors will be used to push for a new Australia Day in WA despite many mayors rejecting political interference from the Eastern States-launched campaign of Federal Green leader Richard Di Natale.

“While Senator Di Natale’s comments were made with councillors on the east coast in mind , where councillors are often more open about their political afflictions, we do know that there are progressive councillors in WA that support changing the date of Australia Day,” WA Greens Senator Rachel Siewert told the Western Suburbs Weekly.

Among known Green members are councillors Dan Loden and Jonathan Hallett at the City of Vincent, and Cr Giorgia Johnson at the City of Bayswater, but Sen Siewert did not answer which council would be the next to propose moving the national day.

Last week, her leader said he would use 100 councillors who are members of his party to work to make the change.

Two years ago, Fremantle Council was the first local government in the country to make the alteration when it acknowledged the hurt felt by some Aboriginal people by the celebrations marking the arrival of the First Fleet in NSW in 1788, and cancelled its annual fireworks.

The Green’s national push may also provoke the culture of no direct political affiliations in councils in WA, and a spokeswoman said the WA Local Government Association considered councillors should represent their communities instead.

Claremont Mayor Jock Barker said Aboriginal people would be better served having their living standard improved, while other councils including South Perth, Gosnells and Serpentine-Jarrah dale have made the statement they are sticking with January 26

Asked why councillors elected for local duties should take on a national issue, Sen Siewert said they should support communities while also discussing issues such as Australia Day “so everyone can feel included when celebrating our wonderful country”.

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