Reinstate fireworks display in Fremantle on Australia Day 2017
Australia Day fireworks on the 26th January have been cancelled in the city of Fremantle following a vote from council members who believe that the display is culturally insensitive to indigenous Australians.
The City of Fremantle councillors voted 9-2 to cancel the fireworks display on Australia Day also recommended an alternative family-friendly event to celebrate nationalism for all Australians on a different date.
The event at Fremantle's Fishing Boat Harbour typically draws crowds of 50,000 on Australia Day.
The Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitts believes that: “there has been a growing movement that January 26 is increasingly becoming a day that is ‘not for all Australians’. For many Aboriginal Australians, it is indeed a day of sadness and dispossession.”
Australia Day marks the anniversary of when the First Fleet and its commander Captain Arthur Phillip arrived in Australia from Britain, raising the flag of Great Britain over Sydney Cove.
It has also been known by some colloquially, as Invasion Day for Indigenous Australians. It’s even sometimes referred to as Survival Day. In The Australian newspaper this week, Whadjuk Noongar custodian, Corina Abraham stated that Australia Day was “a day that signifies death and anger, when our lands were stolen”.
Despite, some support from local business and locals in Fremantle to axe the fireworks, this decision potentially could cause more division. It is questionable whether this is really about cultural sensitivity and inclusiveness or it is just political correctness gone too far?
As Australians, we cannot re-write history. Surely, there are ways in which we can be inclusive and include all Australians on Australia Day, such as by making special recognition of the important, fundamental role our Indigenous land owners have in the building of our nation. Both Indigenous Australians and our immigrant population make this country diverse and unique which is something for which we can be proud.
It is concerning that the decision of the Fremantle City Council may also have a knock-on effect if the planned cancellation goes ahead. Other council’s areas such as nearby City of Cockburn's Mayor Logan Howlett have said they also may cancel their fireworks on Australia Day.
Please sign this petition now to request that the fireworks display be reinstated on the 26th of January, Australia Day. We believe that the council and community can work together to find ways to make this event include all Australians as we celebrate our cultural diversity and the special value of our Ingenious Australians.