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Labor MPs must explain their failure to protect Australia Day

Local federal Labor MPs Richard Marles and Libby Coker are failing to protect Australia Day, fuelling division across our community.

In a decision which divides not unites our country, the Albanese government has changed the rules to allow local councils to cancel citizenship ceremonies on our national day.

Corio MP Richard Marles and Corangamite MP Libby Coker must explain their failure to safeguard the significance of Australia Day.

Surf Coast Shire and the City of Greater Geelong are among more than 80 councils across the country which have cancelled Australia Day citizenship ceremonies.

Greater Geelong council will refuse to refer to 26 January as Australia Day and has vowed to lobby the Albanese government to change the date.

After council received only 952 survey responses of support (0.34 per cent of Geelong’s population), I acknowledge Cr Eddy Kontelj’s attempt several weeks ago to review the decision.

Surf Coast Shire will fly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags at half-mast, arguing celebratory events are not appropriate because “26 January is not a day of celebration for First Nations People”.

Australia Day is a significant day of national unity and pride including for the thousands of Australians who become citizens on this day.

The undermining of Australia Day is all part of Labor’s covert plan to change the date.

In 2018, Libby Coker, as a Surf Coast councillor and Labor candidate, said “We need to look at changing the date”.

In 2019, she declined to support the former Coalition government’s requirement that all councils must hold citizenship ceremonies on our national day.

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