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Surf Coast Australia Day celebrations must be saved

Surf Coast Shire must abandon its proposal to cancel Australia Day celebrations which would see the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island flags fly at half-mast and community events run by the Anglesea and Torquay Lions abandoned.

Council’s proposal, to be considered by councillors tonight (see p844 of agenda), treats Surf Coast residents with contempt.  The council is also proposing to advocate for an end to citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day which is a federal government requirement for any council wishing to conduct such ceremonies.

Council’s proposal is reminiscent of the extreme attempts by Corangamite MP Libby Coker, a former Surf Coast councillor, to change the date of Australia Day.  In 2018, Ms Coker said “We do need to look at changing the date”.

At a time when our community needs hope and unity, these proposals fuel community dissent and division.

Australia Day is a time for all Australians to reflect, respect and celebrate whilst reflecting on our achievements and past including our wrongs against indigenous Australians.  It is a time to unite, not divide.

During the pandemic, we have already bore the brunt of so many cancelled events. The Surf Coast community should not have to put up with this deliberate attempt to wreck our national day of celebration.

28 September 2021

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