Aboriginal model tells Aussies why they should NOT post Australia Day celebration photos on social media
- Fallon Gregory urged people to avoid posting Australia Day celebrations online
- Indigenous model says the gesture shows a lack of support and sensitivity
- January 26 marks the arrival of the first British fleet into Sydney Cove in 1788
An Aboriginal model has urged Aussies to refrain from posting photos of Australia Day celebrations on social media as it is ‘insensitive’ to the plight of First Nations people.
Millions of Australians flock to beaches, backyard BBQs, and pubs on January 26 with flags draped over their sun-soaked shoulders to mark the national public holiday.
But for the country’s first inhabitants, the date represents the beginning of the painful and devastating impact of colonisation on their culture since the first British fleet sailed into Sydney Cove in 1788.
Fallon Gregory, a proud Kija/Bardi and Nyul-Nyul woman from Western Australia, says that if people partake in prideful, open Australia Day celebrations, they should not post photos on social media.
‘It shows support and lack of sensitivity,’ she told news.com.au.
The mother-of-two said Aussies could show their support for Aboriginal people by instead sharing information on social media about why people shouldn’t celebrate Australia Day on that date, and by attending invasion day rallies.
‘If you’re wanting to show true pressure and support then showing up [at marches] to provide numbers, posting and going live from the marches and rallies is key,’ she said.
Fallon Gregory, a proud Kija/Bardi and Nyul-Nyul woman from Western Australia (pictured), is sharing information about how Australians can support First Nations people on January 26
She says Australians should not post pictures celebrating Australia Day on social media
Ms Gregory, who has a following of 27,000, has long been advocating changing the date to create a national day that can be inclusive of all Australians.
The movement has gained momentum in recent years, with thousands of protesters hitting the streets across the country on January 26 – renamed ‘Invasion Day’ by advocates – in support of the calendar shift.
Ms Gregory said she is passionate about educating Australians about how to be mindful and respectful about Aboriginal culture – but it is ‘tiring’.
Ms Gregory said sharing photos of Australia Day events and parties on social media is culturally insensitive towards First Nations people.
‘I’ve always spoken about my experiences as an Indigenous woman and the good and bad that comes with that,’ she told STM.
‘I knew I had this voice, and a following, and I needed to use that to bring attention and awareness to these kinds of matters.’
‘(But) personally, it’s very tiring to continuously, every year, have to come out and educate people on why we shouldn’t be celebrating Australia Day.’
The activist and influencer said she has been told be some people to ‘be grateful’ or ‘get over it’.
‘It’s very invalidating of our position and our voices, and our experience with colonisation, to say things like that,’ she said
‘To celebrate a day that isn’t inclusive of all Australians and call it Australia Day, is morally incorrect.’
Australia Day, held on the date British Royal Navy vessels raised a Union Jack at Sydney Cove, called Warrane by the Aboriginal people who fished and lived there, remains divisive among young and older generations.
Two women celebrate the national holiday on the back of a boat in the Gold Coast in January 2021
Australians celebrate the national holiday at Wave Break Island, on the Gold Coast, last year
A recent by Core Data found ‘a generational and gender divide among Australians over the significance of the day and its position in the calendar’.
The research consultancy asked whether people planned to celebrate, whether they supported moving the holiday to another date and how their opinions had changed in recent years.
Overall, 54 per cent of respondents said they planned to mark the occasion, with 30 per cent saying they would be celebrating the history and achievements of Australia and 15 per cent ‘just because it was a public holiday’.
More than two-thirds of respondents aged 26 and under say they won’t be celebrating on January 26, with just over 30 per cent saying they will.
But more than 80 per cent of them support moving the date for the sake of improving relations with the Indigenous population, as do more than 70 per cent of those aged 27 to 41.
Support for change dropped among older respondents, with just over 30 per cent of those 56 to 75 and 25 per cent of those older supporting a change in date.
People carry placards as thousands of people attend an Australia Day protest in Melbourne in
Opinions were more evenly split among 42- to 55-year-olds but the majority still supported keeping the holiday on its current date.
There were also less significant discrepancies in gender.
Ms Gregory said she is passionate about educating Australians about how to be mindful and respectful about Aboriginal culture
Men were less likely to support changing the date or having a holiday to reflect on Australian and Aboriginal history than women and were more likely to celebrate Australia Day.
CoreData says ‘the political overtones’ attached to the day and its meaning have ‘given younger Australians pause to think’.
About 40 per cent of the youngest surveyed group and 30 per cent of the next oldest category said their opinions had changed in recent years ‘due to their perceptions of the political meaning of the day’.
In contrast, fewer than 10 per cent of the two oldest categories have adjusted their view.
Warriors of the Aboriginal Resistance, described as ‘a collective of young Aboriginal people committed to the cause of decolonisation’ announced on Friday it would not be organising a protest on the day it marks as Invasion Day due to the pandemic.
It will be the first time since 2015 the group hasn’t organised the protest march in Melbourne.
‘We want to be on the street fighting for our people but the time isn’t now,’ the organisation said, directing people to an online event instead.
A recent survey by Core Data found ‘a generational and gender divide among Australians over the significance of the day and its position in the calendar’.