On January 24, Victorian Liberal opposition leader Matthew Guy said “unpatriotic councils” that do not use January 26 to celebrate would be sacked. He was specifically threatening the Moreland, Darebin and Yarra councils, which have shifted celebrations and citizenship ceremonies away from January 26.
Meriki Onus, a Gunditjmara and Gunnai woman, a co-founder of the Warriors of Aboriginal Resistance (WAR), criticised Guy’s approach, telling Green Left Weekly Radio: “That is dictatorship. Those councils were elected and they made decisions to make political and social statements. To threaten them should be a concern for all of us. We have to remove and abolish anything that represents Australian nationalism.”
Asked what she thought about Australia Day, Onus said: “Australia day is a day of collective mourning for me, my family and my community. It is a day when war was declared on our people. It has affected my family and community and it’s my whole reality.”
“We want to abolish the day altogether. We do not want another day. No day is acceptable — until we right all the wrongs we will continue to protest.
“Australian nationalism is dangerous not just for the Aboriginal people but also for people of colour and refugees.”