Saturday, January 28th, 2023

Australia news live: Invasion Day protests under way; pro-Russian tennis fans quizzed by police | Australia Day

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Paul Karp

Paul Karp

‘Disappointed’: Tom Calma rejects Lidia Thorpe sovereignty before voice stance

The senior Australian of the year, co-chair of the Indigenous voice co-design group, Tom Calma, has accused the federal Greens of “dilly-dallying” on their position on the voice.

Asked about Greens senator Lidia Thorpe’s position that she’ll only vote for the voice if she’s satisfied First Nations’ sovereignty isn’t ceded, Calma said:

[I’m] disappointed. For a couple of reasons: if we look at the United Nations declaration of Indigenous peoples … says nothing in the declaration undermines the authority of the state, the country’s government, in Australia we did not cede ownership of Australia, regrettably it was determined by the British on the day that terra nullius existed in Australia, which was overturned in 1992 through the Mabo high court decision … whilst we haven’t ceded … we haven’t progressed that matter.

For Calma, the questions are separate. He said:

It’s important that we as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have an opportunity to be able to contribute to policies that impact us, and programs and legislation – and that’s the first step. And we’ll go down and address the other matters, truth-telling is already progressing, treaty, although some states already looking at treaties within their own jurisdictions. So, I feel a bit offended when we’re starting to determine that the support or determination of whether to support a voice is predetermined by whether you address some of the other issues in Indigenous affairs. As I said in my speech last night, they can co-exist, these approaches. If you support the priciple of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people having input into policy and legislation, that’s what you should support – it shouldn’t be predicated on whether other things are happening.”

I acknowledge our painful past & commit to supporting the Voice to Parliament’, Sitou says

The Labor member for Reid, Sally Sitou, has taken to Twitter to share how the meaning of Australia Day has changed throughout her life.

My parents would share stories about how they fled Laos and found refuge in Australia. They told me about the warm welcome and support they received when they got here and how grateful they are to be Australian citizens.

As I got older still, I started to recognise that for First Nations people this day is a challenging day. It was the day that marked the start of a period when they were dispossessed of their land, traditions, culture and family. Now, Australia Day is an opportunity for me to give thanks to this country which has given me and my family so much.

It’s also a day where I acknowledge our painful past & commit to supporting the Voice to Parliament. Because it’s time. It’s time to celebrate the culture of Australia’s First Nations people, acknowledge their rightful place as the traditional and first custodians of this land.

We ought to enshrine their voice in our Constitution and it’s time for us to finally listen to First Nations people and let them have a say over the policies and decisions that affect them.

Whatever this day means for you, it’s important to remember we are all Australians, from those who can trace their ancestry back thousands of years to those who become citizens today. We all have a contribution to make to this wonderful country we call home.

This is the 85th anniversary of First Nations peoples and others gathering to mark the Day of Mourning which first took place in 1938.

Festivities in Sydney already began at dawn, with a projection on the Opera House by Kamilaroi woman and artist Rhonda Sampson acknowledging the role of women around the waters of Sydney Cove before Captain Arthur Phillip’s 1788 arrival.

The Andrews government in Victoria has cancelled the annual street parade through Melbourne, choosing to focus on local gatherings, AAP reports.

You can read more about the message of the Day of Mourning from Wesley Enoch:

Medical students call for systemic reform this Invasion Day

The Australian Medical Students Association (Amsa) is calling for an end to the celebration of January 26, saying it is “a day that memorialises the colonisation and dispossession of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land, peoples and communities”.

Amsa says increasing epidemiological literature provides evidence for racism as a significant determinant directly affecting both physical health and mental health outcomes, and so the continued celebration of Invasion Day only functions to further perpetuate the psychological distress experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Isobella Kruger, a Kombumerri and Ngugi woman and co-chair of Amsa Indigenous says:

Viewing colonisation as an isolated event of the past is simultaneously an oversimplification of our history and a means of avoiding responsibility and accountability by refusing to acknowledge the ongoing systemic racism and intergenerational harms perpetrated against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Tish Sivagnanan, the president of AMSA, says:

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to face significant disparities in health access and outcomes today. These outcomes, especially in the context of mental health and well-being, continue to be exacerbated by systemic, social and interpersonal racism and discrimination that permeates Australian society.

Amsa is calling on the federal government to:

  • publicly acknowledge the harms of celebrating Invasion Day and take action to change this public holiday.

  • actively seek and follow guidance from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities and organisations regarding all policy decisions affecting them.

  • switch the Closing the Gap initiative from a deficit-based outcome system to a strengths-based one to actively support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and their autonomy and strengths.

Indigenous voice to parliament ‘historic opportunity’ to put Australian values to work, PM says

The prime minister, Anthony Albanese, has shared a video message wishing “each and every one of you a very happy Australia Day”.

Albanese used the message to encourage Australians to embrace the Indigenous voice to parliament, saying it is an opportunity to put national values to work.

Today, at ceremonies around our nation, people young and old, born under every flag and drawn from every faith and tradition will pledge their loyalty to our nation, our people, and the democratic beliefs that we share in choosing Australia as their home.

These newest citizens are embracing the values and qualities we hold dear: our belief in opportunity for all the respect we have for hard work, the optimism that drives our aspiration and the Australian instinct for fairness, decency, care and respect for each other.

Australians across our great nation uphold these qualities every day, and later this year, every Australian will have the historic opportunity to put these values to work by answering the gracious, patient call of the Uluru statement from the heart and voting to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our nation’s birth certificate, the constitution, celebrating the unique privilege we have to share this island continent with the world’s oldest continuous culture, that should be a source of pride for us all.

Guide to Invasion Day rallies

Indigenous communities and allies will come together to mark Invasion Day, or Survival Day, with marches, smoking ceremonies and gatherings planned across the country on today.

Many Australians are already taking to social media this morning to express solidarity with First Nations people whose land was never ceded.

Human Rights Watch researcher Sophie McNeil encouraged Australians on social media to “Get up. Stand up. Show up” attending rallies.

My colleague Mostafa Rachwani has put together a list of events and gatherings in major cities around Australia:

Australian of the year says children’s body image is a ‘paediatric health emergency’

Morning! Natasha May on deck with you.

Taryn Brumfitt, body image activist and director, has been named Australian of the Year, at a ceremony in Canberra last night.

Brumfitt is the founder of the global Body Image Movement, which has brought together leaders, advocates and experts to spark conversation about body image.

She’s told ABC Radio this morning that the movement’s focus is currently “firmly” on kids.

I’m describing this as a paediatric health emergency for our kids.

In particular, we know that 77% of Australian young adults report body image distress. This has doubled since 2009.

We also know that adolescents who are experiencing body dissatisfaction that 24 times more likely to be depressed and experience anxiety.

So I’m just really grateful that we can take this conversation from hashtag loving body to this is actually really important to get right.

Albanese appeals to national interest in voice debate

Anthony Albanese has told critics of the voice to parliament campaign that his “door is always open” as he attempts to build support for a referendum win by appealing to the national interest of opponents.

“The leaders of other major parties, and indeed minor parties, including the Greens political party – this is a moment for them as well. Will they seize the opportunity to unite the nation and to take us forward as one?”

Indigenous leaders have said his suggestion of a total alcohol ban for Alice Springs would not fix the town’s social problems and that more fundamental problems such as the legacy of colonisation needed to addressed.


Martin Farrer

Martin Farrer

Good morning and welcome to our rolling news coverage of what is expected to be a lively Australia Day public holiday marked with a series of Invasion Day protests. I’m Martin Farrer and I’ll bring you the big overnight stories before my colleague Natasha May takes over.

Taryn Brumfitt, a body image activist from South Australia, who directed a documentary about women’s body loathing and her path to accepting her own skin, has been named the 2023 Australian of the Year. “It is not our life’s purpose to be at war with our body,” she told the awards ceremony in Canberra last night. The 2023 Senior Australian of the Year was named as the Kungarakan elder and human rights campaigner Prof Tom Calma. Calma, 69, is currently the co-chair of Reconciliation Australia and chancellor of the University of Canberra.

Invasion Day and Survival Day protests are already under way, with dawn ceremonies in many locations to mark the arrival of white settlers. There will be events all day, including the annual protest in Belmore Park in Sydney and Brisbane’s annual Invasion Day rally at Queens Gardens.

Several spectators at the Australian Open are being questioned by Victoria police after they unveiled flags in support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and then threatened security guards following the quarter-final match between Andrey Rublev of Russia and Novak Djokovic. The nine-times champion won his game easily to progress to the semi-finals, but during the game a spectator revealed a T-shirt with a large Z on the front – the symbol of the Russian military. Afterwards, some fans unfurled Russian flags and images of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

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