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home / archives / 1973 / 31st January

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The meaning of Australia Day.

Australia Day is traditionally a public holiday in the middle of the Summer season which in 1973 was criticized for excessive party atmosphere rather than concentration on the roots of national citizenship. The date is chosen as that of the founding of the first white settlement in 1788. In 2009 it is called by different names: Anniversary Day, Foundation Day, or Invasion Day. Names which have come about through the different viewpoints as Australian Society has developed and matured.

Al Grassby, Federal Labor Immigration Minister in the Whitlam government, contributed to a major shift in the Australian view. He is often called 'the father of multiculturalism' and stated: "My concept of a society able to sustain growth and change without disintegration is a society based on equal opportunity for all - a goal which no right-thinking person could dispute, but the striving for which has led traditionally to some of the deepest conflicts within society".