Rally mourns invasion, calls to change the date

January 30, 2015
Aboriginal leader Michael Mansell speaking at the rally on January 26. Photo: Shaine Stephen.

Several hundred Aboriginal community members and their supporters gathered on Hobart parliament house lawns to mark Invasion Day on January 26. There was a one minute silence observed whilst a wreath was slowly walked down two rows of those who gathered and placed on the steps to parliament house.

People were welcomed to country and reminded that the Aboriginal people do not recognise today as Australia Day, that they do not celebrate this day, and that their land was stolen, that they will never give up and will never go away.

Aboriginal leader Michael Mansell spoke about how Australia is the only country that celebrates a day when a country was invaded. He asked how immigrants can feel part of a nation when the day marks the coming of one race displacing another — it is not a basis for unity, it is a basis for division. He said the day is "race based and based on a white Australia policy".

Tasmanian Greens leader Kim Booth told the crowd he “stands in solidarity with with the people here today". He called for the date to be changed, and said the Greens are committed to a formal treaty between the Tasmanian government and the Tasmanian Aboriginal community.

Human rights lawyer Greg Barnes said he is "appalled that the day excludes the Aboriginal community … until the day is changed we can never move forward".

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