53 years is long enough to wait for a National Day

Lynn MacLaren MLC – South Metropolitan Region – October 1, 2010

53 years after the foundation of the National Aboriginal Day Observance Committee, Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren has urged authorities to create a public holiday recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“In 1957 State and federal governments, Aboriginal organisations and church groups supported the formation of the then ‘NADOC’ and decided to move ‘Aborigines Day’ to July 2nd,” she said. “Yet today we still have to petition for this day to be properly celebrated.”

Ms MacLaren said it was interesting that while the nation took time out to mark the Queen’s birthday, the date of which changes from year to year and state to state, there was no public holiday to celebrate more than 50,000 years of culture in Australia.

“This day would give NAIDOC week the acknowledgement it deserves; would give it the gravity and respect warranted,” she said. “Not only is it recognising the oldest continuous cultures on Earth, it celebrates the survival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, culture and custom after more than two centuries of occupation.”

“There were policies followed aimed first at destroying the Aboriginal people, then at erasing their culture and languages – the survival of strong, proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures should be celebrated with a national public holiday.”