Change the date, say postgraduate organisations

January 25, 2017
Resistance warrier Pemulwuy. Engraving by Samuel John Neele.

The Council of Australian Postgraduate Associations (CAPA) and The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Postgraduate Association (NATSIPA) support renaming January 26 as “Invasion Day”. The two organisations decided this on January 15.

They are encouraging a rethink of the meaning of "Australia day" on January 26 to support justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. They are also urging people to attend one of the many nationwide protests on January 26 (see below).

 “The 26th marks a dark day for the First Peoples of Australia and like the beginnings of all wars: it is not to be celebrated but commiserated,” said Peter Derbyshire, CAPA’s national president.

“There is still a lot of work to do in regards to closing the gap and changing the meaning of this date is a small but significant step that needs to be taken. CAPA will always stand with its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander counterparts,” Derbyshire said.

January 26 was chosen to mark the anniversary of the First Fleet landing in Sydney Harbour in 1788.

For the First Peoples of Australia, January 26 is a day of mourning the invasion and theft of their country, and the beginning of genocide against a peaceful people. The invasion led to the frontier wars, the erosion of First Peoples’ land ownership, dignity, health, education and a cultural genocide.

“2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum. Yet, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are facing more deaths in custody than ever before; our children are still being taken away and our lands stolen,” said NATSIPA president Sadie Heckenberg.

The pain of Invasion Day still persists in the psyche of this nation’s First Peoples. Therefore, CAPA and NATSIPA are strongly urging people to reinvestigate the meaning of January 26 and join one of the many peaceful Invasion Day events.

Canberra: Aboriginal Tent Embassy 10am–6pm

Sydney: The Block in Redfern 11am–3pm

Brisbane: Parliament House 10am–7pm

Melbourne: Parliament of Victoria 11am–2pm

Perth: City 1pm–4pm

Adelaide: Elder Park Adelaide 6pm–8pm

Hobart: Parliament House 11.15–1pm

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