January 26 is a day that divides Australia.
For some, it’s a fun public holiday where you get to drink beer, have a barbecue or watch some fireworks.
But for many Indigenous people and their allies, it symbolizes the day when they became dispossessed of their land, culture and lifestyle – and it’s therefore not a day of celebration, but a day of “invasion.”
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While many Australians are happy to hit the beach, fire up the barbie or get on the beers, a growing groundswell of people believe Australia Day should be changed from January 26 to a different day – one which doesn’t cause such pain for our nation’s firstpeople.
And celebrities have begun weighing in on the subject, too, marking out their side of the fence as the debate continues to rage.
So, who are some of the high-profile people speaking out on the subject?
Jesinta Franklin, who is married to Indigenous football player Lance ‘Buddy’ Franklin, has always been vocal about her desire to see the date changed.
On Tuesday, she took to Instagram, calling January 26 a “hurtful day” for Indigenous Australians.
“There’s no excuse for anyone in this country not to know why tomorrow, 26th January, is a hurtful day to celebrate ‘Australia Day’,” she wrote.
“If you are still unaware, I have linked some useful slides that I hope you take the time to read.”
She shared another slide which reads: “26th of January is not a celebration for all Australians and is a date that marked the beginning of the genocide and massacres of the Indigenous population, the confiscation of their ancestral lands and banning of their culture.”
TV host Osher Gunsberg has also made his feelings clear by handing his Instagram account over to Indigenous academic Amy Thunig for the day.
She uploaded a video explaining what she wanted people to know about the divisive day.
“I want to be able to make sure if someone asks you whose lands you’re standing on, you’re able to answer confidently and comfortably,” she says.
Osher also penned a few of his own thoughts.
“I’m an immigrant, a citizen, and I love this country with all of my heart,” he wrote.
“The life this nation has given me and my family wouldn’t have happened anywhere else on this planet.
“And just because life here is excellent for most of us doesn’t mean it can’t be excellent for all of us.
“We can do better. We have to do better. I feel that starts with learning about where we are, and how we got to now.”
Noongar-Yamatji woman Brooke Blurton was the first Indigenous star of reality TV show The Bachelorette.
She has spoken out on numerous occasions on why she thinks the date of Australia Day should be changed.
On Tuesday she shared a number of videos and photographs on the subject to Instagram and also referenced the recent “freeing” of the Aboriginal flag for public use.
“January 26th It’s political, it’s personal, it’s collective and it’s one of the most horrific days for our nation,” she wrote.
“Show up on the right side of history and truth.
“Tomorrow is a big day for us.
“A day of anxiousness, pain, mourning.
“Self care is priority tonight.”
Beloved New Zealand actor Sam Neill is practically an honorary Australian, and he has also shared his thoughts on changing the date.
Taking to Instagram on Wednesday, the 74-year-old jurassic-park star posted a picture of the Indigenous flag.
“ThisDay. Well every nation needs a national day I guess. A time to come together and reflect,” he wrote.
‘But January 26?
“After 65 thousand years of history, they choose to commemorate a day about 250 years ago, when the British unceremoniously dumped a bunch of whitefella convicts on what is now Sydney.
“And I completely understand how offensive that can be if you’re Indigenous. Given what followed.
“No wonder some call #AustraliaDay #InvasionDay.”
Miss Universe Australia 2020, Maria Thattil, has also shared her thoughts on the day.
Like Sam Neill, she also shared a picture of the Indigenous flag, and another with the words: “Just a reminder, we don’t celebrate genocide.”
“It’s a privilege to live on First Nations land,” she wrote.
“But of all the days to celebrate it, today marks the beginning of trauma, oppression, violence and genocide.
“It is not the day to celebrate.
“It’s a day to speak up.”