Australia Day Debate Heats Up


The Australia Day debate has reached new heights as two Melbourne councils vote to scrap Australia Day celebrations and Triple J contemplates moving the Hottest 100.

The move comes following the decision by Yarra and Darebin Council to dump Australia Day titles on events held on January 26.

Yarra Council elected to refer to the day as ‘January 26’ and Darebin Council chose ‘Darebin Community Awards’ day.

The councils’ actions, however, have been met with harsh criticism from both the public and the Australian Government with both councils being stripped of holding citizenship ceremonies on that day.

Darebin and Yarra Council, however, are not the first in Australia to challenge or scrap Australia Day celebrations.

Last year, popular ABC-funded radio station, Triple J told listeners that the date of the annual ‘Hottest 100’ countdown could be moved from Australia Day – but in the end left it on January 26.

Last month the radio station put the question to the public allowing them to express their views and opinions on the current Hottest 100 date.


“And now we need to hear from you – triple j’s audience. You are the people who vote, listen to and celebrate the Hottest 100.  We want your thoughts on how you feel about triple j, the Hottest 100, and holding the Hottest 100 on Australia Day, January 26.”

Triple J partnered with the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME) for the 2016 Hottest 100.

In a statement released by Triple J in 2016 Founder and CEO of AIME, Jack Manning-Bancroft, said:

“Australia Day represents pain and mourning for many Australians, including our first Australians. It also represents immense pride for many Aussies, reflecting on how far we’ve come. The past has been written. What I love about triple j and the Hottest 100 is that we have a chance to speak to millions of Australians and provide a platform to shape a narrative for the future filled with colour, joy and love of our difference.”

In common with Yarra and Darebin Council’s decision to scrap Australia Day celebrations, the date change suggestion has been met with mixed reviews from listeners. Some of Triple J’s listeners expressed strong opinions. 

Triple J has made no announcement regarding the countdown’s future since.

Strong opinions were also expressed about the move by local councils. Speaking to the Age, Assistant Immigration Minister Alex Hawke said councils were warned about “politicising citizenship ceremonies”.

Darebin Mayor and Greens councillor Kim Le Cerf defended the decision, however.

Speaking to Neil Mitchell on 3AW Le Cerf said January 26 should be a day where all Australian’s can feel apart of the day.

“I don’t think celebrating on January 26th is inclusive, it unnecessarily excludes the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community”.

The report detailing the council’s meeting regarding Australia Day recorded an “overwhelming support” for change on Australia Day.

“Recent community engagement demonstrates an overwhelming support for Council to take a leadership role in how Australia Day can be more inclusive, bringing people together in the spirit of respect and recognition. One of the strongest themes to emerge from the recent community engagement was Council’s important role in celebrating and acknowledging the achievements of all of its citizens, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders”.

Survey Results – City of Darebin August 21 Australia Day Meeting Minutes: Appendix E

81 individuals took part in the survey although the city has a recorded population of 155,022.

Read full meeting minutes here



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