An indigenous town councillor from Alice Springs says activists who want to change Australia Day are emotional and need to grow up.
Jacinta Price is the face of a campaign to keep the national day on January 26, to commemorate the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788.
The daughter of a former Northern Territory government minister claims activists want to change Australia Day because they are ‘offended’ by the British landing at Sydney’s Botany Bay.
‘If people feel angry, do we encourage people to act on that impulse of anger? If people have anger management issues, we tell them to get help to deal with that particular emotion because it’s their responsibility,’ she told the ABC’s The Drum program.
‘It’s not the rest of us to change to suit that person’s emotion.
‘I just would like us to grow up as a nation a little bit and be more responsible in that regard, responsible for our own feelings.’
The councillor from central Australia has teamed up with former federal Labor leader Mark Latham as part of a ‘Save the Date’ television campaign.
She accused Australia Day activists of being obsessed with what happened 230 years ago while indigenous people in remote communities lived in abject poverty.
‘It’s a choice to be offended. I don’t think people feel pain as a result of this,’ she said.
‘The people living in pain and crisis are living it silently in remote communities of Australia and they’re being completely disregarded.
‘Their issues are being placed to the side because other people have claimed offence and claimed pain. It’s an emotion they claim to feel.’
The new television ad features an Orwellian future where Australia Day is moved and hidden cameras monitor anyone who secretly celebrates the arrival of the First Fleet.
It shows a young girl handing an Australia Day card to her mother.
Alarmed, the woman takes the card to a shredder in the kitchen of the family home and destroys it.
In other scenes, two elderly men at a nursing home hide an Australian flag, and wave it at an authoritarian nurse behind her back, while a woman buying chops pretends she isn’t commemorating 1788.
Mr Latham said the campaign ad was right to compare the campaign to change Australia Day with George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
‘In an environment where you’ve got so much political correctness, I think the Big Brother approach, a dystopian theme, is very appropriate,’ he told reporters on Wednesday, adding the ‘bludgers’ who wanted to change the date would still have the day off.
Ms Price says in the campaign ad that not all indigenous people felt they were victims of Australia’s history, with critics describing Australia Day as ‘Invasion Day’.
Five local councils across Australia have already voted to abstain from celebrating Australia Day on January 26 while Triple-J has moved its Hottest 100 countdown following a poll of its listeners.
‘If we change the date, there will be another demand,’ Ms Price told the ABC.
‘Once these particular issues gather momentum it’s just gone ridiculous.’