Another council will STOP holding Australia Day celebrations

Another council will STOP holding Australia Day celebrations and instead replace it with a day of mourning

A Melbourne council will cease hosting citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day, instead acknowledging it as a day of mourning.

Merri-bek Council in Melbourne’s north will host the mourning ceremony on January 26, to acknowledge the experiences of Indigenous Australians.

Merri-bek Council in Melbourne's north will no longer host citizenship ceremonies on January 26

 Merri-bek Council in Melbourne’s north will no longer host citizenship ceremonies on January 26

Merri-bek Council is the third Melbourne council to discontinue Australia Day citizenship ceremonies, after the Yarra and Darebin councils did the same in 2017.

 Merri-bek Council is the third Melbourne council to discontinue Australia Day citizenship ceremonies, after the Yarra and Darebin councils did the same in 2017.

‘The very idea that we celebrate, hold parties and welcome new people to this country on this day is pretty shameful,’ Councillor James Conlan told a local council meeting on Wednesday night.

‘In a deeply twisted irony… the council asks First Nations elders to conduct their culturally significant Welcome to Country ceremony on a day that signifies their own disposition.’

A few councillors opposed the motion, raising concerns that scrapping the Australia Day citizenship ceremonies would prevent the council from hosting ceremonies at other times of the year.

‘We’ve seen councils across the city be stripped of their rights,’ Councillor Helen Davidson told the meeting.

‘It’s a monumental occasion and I’m not prepared to lose that.’

But the motion was ultimately carried by one vote, to loud applause from the public gallery.

Merri-bek Council is the third Melbourne council to discontinue Australia Day citizenship ceremonies, after the Yarra and Darebin councils did the same in 2017.

Those two councils are now not allowed to host citizenship ceremonies at any time of the year, following an order from the then-coalition federal government.

The Melbourne City Council in September also voted to advocate the federal government to change the date of Australia Day.

Citizenship ceremonies will still happen in the city on January 26 but council will also support efforts to acknowledge First Nations perspectives of the day.

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