Without an official announcement, the state of Victoria has canceled the annual Australia Day parade. A move that drew praise from representatives of Australia's First People, who described the procession as a "slap in the face" for Indigenous Australians who see January 26 as a day of mourning and survival. On the other hand, the opposition in the state of Victoria considered that the decision was disappointing, and requested an explanation from the government.
The Victorian government has not issued an official statement in this regard, but a spokesperson for it said that this day constitutes a sad history for the indigenous population, but the government will maintain other activities, such as popular gatherings "for reflection, respect, and celebration" in Federation Square, and will remain on The tradition of firing gunshots near the shrine of remembrance, and the air show.
"We recognize that Australia Day represents a day of mourning and reflection for some Victorians and a difficult time for First Peoples," a Victorian government spokesperson said in a statement.
One of the chairmen of the First Peoples Association of Victoria, Marcus Stewart, said canceling the parade was a small but positive step forward for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. "The show was a slap in the face and it was like putting salt on the wounds," he told SBS News. He added that the parade was a sign of the hurt and pain caused by colonialism.
Mr Stewart added: "We can now start a mature dialogue in this country about what the day looks like, so that we can all celebrate a day that brings us together and not divides us."
The move comes after the city of Melbourne announced last September that it would be reviewing how it celebrates January 26.
Last September, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that the federal government had no plans to change the date of the National Day on the twenty-sixth of January, at a time when the national debate continues about this day.
He said then: "Let us admit that the date of our nation's birth should proudly acknowledge that we did not begin in 1788, as indicated by the date of the twenty-sixth of January, we began at least 60,000 years ago, with the oldest continuous civilization on Earth, and this must be A source of pride for us.
The number of participants in the show has decreased over recent years, according to Melbourne Municipal Council statistics. In 2018, the number reached 72,000 participants, while it fell to 12,000 in 2019, and to 2,000 in 2020.
The show was canceled in 2021 due to the Covid pandemic, and it was not held in 2022, and last year's Acting Prime Minister, Jacinta Allan, said at the time that the failure to hold the show last year was not because of the pandemic, but because of what this day means to the indigenous people.
In contrast, "invasion day" rallies have gained more popularity and attracted more protesters in recent years, with thousands of Aboriginal people and their supporters marching in rallies in Melbourne and across the country to commemorate January 26th as a day of mourning and survival. .