Steve Price has vented on The Project about changing the date of Australia Day, a debate he is “sick and tired” of.
“I think whether the date changes or not in the near future, the day is changing,” host Carrie Bickmore began.
“I feel like the movement is there. Only 29 per cent of people are actually doing anything on Australia Day.
“If you think of the huge things that used to be organised on Australia Day, I feel like they’re getting less and less. I feel like there’s movement in that direction.”
Pricey weighed in: “How sad is that, though, that we’re not as a nation able to have one day where we all celebrate about what a great country we live in?
“I mean, we have to find a date.”
The panellist went on to explain how we should be proud to be Australian, especially right now, and that we deserve one day to celebrate without controversy.
He continued: “I’m so sick and tired of this argument every year over the date. Let’s find a date, settle on it and celebrate that day as being Australians because we love living in this country. How would you like to be in Europe now, decimated by COVID? Look how great a country we are. We should be patting ourselves on the back.”
“Have you got a date?” asked Waleed Aly.
“No, that’s the problem! That is the problem,” said Price.
“And every person I ask and every debate I hear about this, no-one can come up with a sensible day.”
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“So who should decide that day?” Carrie questioned.
“Well, the nation,” he replied. “We should have a poll and we should work it out amongst ourselves and whatever day comes up out of that poll, then settle on it and do it.
“So that is interesting, so you are not wedded 26th?” asked Waleed.
“No, I’m not. I always have been but I’m not now because I’m so deflated by this argument every year. I want to wake up on Australia Day, put on a stupid hat, wave a flag and say it’s great to be Australian. That’s what I want to do.”
The debate around Australia Day and whether the date should be changed to better include Indigenous Australians has ramped up in recent years and now it seems prevailing attitudes towards the day have started to shift.
January 26, 1788, was the day Arthur Phillip arrived in Sydney Cove and founded the settler colony of NSW.
To many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people this is recognised as the day the dispossession and marginalisation of Indigenous Australians began and is affiliated with a long history of violence and trauma.
This is why holding Australia Day celebrations on January 26 is such a contentious issue and why there is an ongoing push to choose a different date.
Polls conducted by Essential Media each year since 2015 show there has been a steady decline in people celebrating Australia Day.
This year just 29 per cent of more than 1000 people surveyed said they would be doing something to mark the day, down from 34 per cent the previous year and 40 per cent in 2019.
Research shows an increasing number of people are now treating January 26 as just another public holiday.
Another six per cent said they were working on the day and 12 per cent said they didn’t know.