A movement to change the date of Australia Day is gaining momentum.
Mundine told CNN he wants a day that all Australians can commemorate.
“(One) for all Australians, whether it be recent arrivals or people who have been here for thousands of years, to come together to celebrate the achievements of the country,” he said.
Several celebrities have come out in favor of the change, and the hashtag #ChangeTheDate has gained traction on social media.
The West Australian city of Fremantle even decided in 2017 to move their celebratory fireworks to January 28, two days after Australia Day.
But it isn’t a simple debate — Tom Calma, co-chairman of NGO Reconciliation Australia, said it would be better to educate young Australians about both the good and bad aspects of January 26, rather than choose another date.
“There’s a place for recognizing that we have been dispossessed but having an alternate day isn’t going to change that,” he said.
“Maybe the argument is we change the meaning of the 26th of January to one that is more inclusive and people can get engaged with, celebrating Australia as a continent, as an entity in itself.”
Deputy Australian Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce told the ABC people anyone who wanted to move the date were “miserable, gutted people.”
“I wish they would crawl under a rock and hide for a little bit,” he said.
Despite growing support for the idea, Bongiorno doesn’t think it will happen anytime soon.
“I can’t see it disappearing or being moved or anything along those lines. Australia doesn’t have an obvious founding moment,” he said.
“I suspect the 26th of January will survive and you know, the debate and criticism around it, I see that as part of a healthy democracy.”