Singer-songwriter Dan Sultan has called for the date of Australia Day to be moved during heated discussions with politicians on the ABC‘s Q&A programme, saying that the day has “always been racist”, and is “a day of mourning” for many Australians.
“I personally think an Australia Day is a great idea. I don’t think it should be on that day,” Sultan told the Q&A audience last night.
“I think we should recognise 26th January for what it is, which is a day that started the ongoing genocide of our people. I think there are many days throughout our history that includes everybody, and I think it’s important that a day called ‘Australia Day’ includes all Australians.
“The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t include us, it excludes us, and it excludes anyone who has any type of sympathy or empathy towards our story which is a hell of a lot of Australians. To call it ‘Australia Day’ is wrong.”
Sultan also hit back at Attorney-General George Brandis after he suggested that Australia Day should include reflections on Australia’s “darker passages”.
“There’s still Aboriginal deaths in custody at an alarming rate,” Sultan said. “There’s still an alarming rate of suicide amongst teenagers in Aboriginal communities, it’s an ongoing genocide. For people to say it was in the past, it’s not, it’s here now, today.”
Sultan later traded views with Tasmanian MP Jacqui Lambie, who called for the date of Australia Day to remain, and also had another heated interaction with Brandis about Aboriginal people being ignored in public life. Watch clips from Sultan’s Q&A appearance, below.
Sultan, who featured on A.B. Original’s huge single ‘January 26’, will embark on a national tour in September for his new album Killer.