Posted on January 25 2018
Lord Mayor Martin Haese
Australia Day is a special time in the beautiful and diverse City of Adelaide. This diversity is no better expressed than during the Australia Day Multicultural Parade which fills our ceremonial boulevards with a rich display of colour, sound and smiling faces. We continue to celebrate with our friends, family and community on the banks of the Torrens where we enjoy many live music events and, later in the evening, fireworks.
I note that many column inches have already been dedicated to the topic of changing the date of Australia Day, with some of the loudest voices coming from the local government sector. I think this is unfortunate. As Lord Mayor of Adelaide, I believe that it is not the authority of local councils to decide the date of our national holiday, rather it is the domain of the Federal Government. And, I encourage the Federal Government to lead this community conversation. Meanwhile, I am focused on leading the state's capital city and performing the role of local government to the highest standard. One element of this is advancing a meaningful process of reconciliation between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal communities in Adelaide.
The City of Adelaide Reconciliation Committee is a strategic body which provides advice to Council in relation to reconciliation matters and was established over 15 years ago. Last year, the Committee advised Council to open a dialogue with the Australia Day Council of SA to explore ways for integrating appropriate Aboriginal protocols and processes into Australia Day activities and citizenship ceremonies within the City of Adelaide.
As Co-Chair of the Committee I was proud to advance this recommendation as by doing so, we can help ensure that all Australians, whether they be new citizens or have lived their entire lives here, have a better understanding of Aboriginal histories and cultures.
I am proud to lead a city which has blazed the trail for a number of worthy causes throughout its history, enhancing its inclusiveness and liveability. Not only was the City of Adelaide the first Council to be established in Australia, we were also the first city to provide women the vote, South Australia was the first state to decriminalise homosexuality and Adelaide was the first city to fly the Aboriginal flag. This strong leadership in community and cultural values contributes to our city being consistently ranked the fifth most liveable city in the world.
I deeply value our strong relationship with both our Aboriginal communities and the Australia Day Council of SA and appreciate the ongoing work we are doing to ensure our national holiday a day for all Australians. This year, over 80 community groups will showcase our country's diverse culture in a colourful parade in the heart of the city.
I welcome everyone to join me, weather permitting, at the free family-friendly Australia Day events in the City of Adelaide, such as the parade celebrating our cultural diversity, the concert in Elder Park and the spectacular fireworks. Wishing you a wonderful day.