Clarence City Council recognises that January 26 or ‘Australia Day’ means different things to different people. On 24 April 2023, council adopted a report through our Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group (RAPWG) which recommended moving community events and citizenship ceremonies away from being held on January 26 as a formal mark of respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our community.
The report to council followed notification by the Department of Home Affairs of an amendment to the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code (the Code) allowing the option of holding citizenship ceremonies on the three days prior or three days after Australia Day rather than previously only allowing these ceremonies to take place on ‘Australia Day’.
With the Federal government mandate lifted, January 26 has become a complex date and narrative for many Local Government Authorities to balance with its constituents (as it continues to be a public holiday) and growing unease for a day which for some in our community is not a day of celebration.
Within the local context of Tasmania, several Local Government Authorities have already endorsed a move away from holding citizenship ceremonies on 26 January, and there is growing national debate to change the date.
As such, as recommended by our RAPWG, Clarence City Council will not be hosting any citizenship ceremonies or community events on January 26 in 2024.
Clarence City Council’s decision is underpinned by our commitment towards truth-telling, truth-listening and shared learning through the development of our first Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan, which is being facilitated by its RAPWG.
Clarence City Council is proud of our rich history and inclusive, vibrant city.
For those interested in learning more about the origins of Australia Day, below is a link to an article. In addition, for those wishing to connect with and show support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on January 26 and into the future, please get in touch with our friendly team.
Ketchell, M, The Conversation, ‘Australia Day wasn’t always January 26, but it was always an issue’
24 April 2023 – Report to council – contained within Council Meeting Agenda, Monday 24 April 2023 (Item 8.4.2 Citizenship And Awards Ceremonies 2024 Onwards, Page 54)