Activist Gary Foley tells a crowd of up to 60,000 that ‘if we keep mobilising these numbers, governments cannot ignore us’
Melbourne’s Invasion Day rally begins on the steps of Parliament House on Spring Street, 500 metres from where the city council has blocked off the route of the official Australia Day parade.
The events start at the same time, and until a few years ago only one was accommodated. Before 2015, the Invasion Day rally was seen as just a group of hardcore activists; they didn’t register in the minds of the flag-waving crowd that turned out to watch the official proceedings.
26 January is steeped in the blood of violent dispossession and enduring trauma
Opponents to Australia Day are invariably criticised in two ways. The first is a favoured manoeuvre for establishment media pundits: claim the focus on 26 January is trivial while more pressing Indigenous issues are neglected. This routine is considered most effective if an Indigenous representative can be recruited to do the sowing. It adds conflict and sells copy, and assuages white guilt, but inadvertently, it also reveals the decrepitude of white Australia’s hearing.
A tweet by IndigenousX founder Luke Pearson captures the frustrations that blackfullas, and our allies who advocate for the advancement of Aboriginal affairs, feel when reproached with this scintillating logic year after year for daring to speak out about the insult of the rabid flag-waving on 26 January.
Indigenous affairs minister says the issue is ‘not something that comes up at all’ when he visits Aboriginal communities
The Indigenous Affairs minister, Nigel Scullion, says no Indigenous Australian has told him the date of Australia Day should be changed other than a single government adviser.
Speaking on the ABC’s AM program on Friday, Scullion was asked about comments this week from the government adviser Chris Sarra that the date was dividing the nation and ought to be changed.