A DAY after Scott Morrison called a council's decision to move Australia Day "indulgent self-loathing", the Prime Minister has instead suggested a "special day" be set aside to recognise indigenous people.
Speaking to The Daily Telegraph yesterday, Mr Morrison called for a separate day to acknowledge the 60,000 years of indigenous history instead of a replacement to Australia Day.
The PM stripped Byron Shire Council of its authority to conduct citizenship ceremonies earlier this week after the northern NSW council announced plans to shift the date to January 25.
A number of Melbourne councils were stripped of their right to conduct citizenship ceremonies last year after they said they would stop holding them on January 26.
As reported byThe Northern Star, Mayor Simon Richardson put a motion forward last week, proposing the date change. In the meeting, Mr Richardson said "no one wants Australia Day on the 26th".
"I believe Byron … has an opportunity to help the nation make the transition away from the historical problem of this date," he said.
Mr Richardson said the celebrations on January 26 caused pain in a section of the community and questioned whether the values of a fair go and mateship were being reflected.
"Is it true mateship to willingly, wilfully and continually celebrate what rightfully is great to be an Australian on a day that some Australians are pained by?" the Greens mayor said.
He said the Prime Minister's response was understandable but he found the remark about "modern Australia" interesting.
"I thought we were actually celebrating Australia Day, not 'modern' Australia Day," he said.
Via Twitter, Mr Morrison said the council's decision was "indulgent self-loathing".
In recent years, calls have grown to move the date of Australia Day.
Invasion Day rallies, led by indigenous Australians, are increasingly attended by hundreds of people with others referring to it as a day of mourning.
Triple J also made the decision to move its Hottest 100 countdown to January 27 this year, a move that was applauded by its thousands of listeners.
Radio host Steve Price slammed the PM's suggestion on 2GB this morning, saying there was already a number of "special days" in place to recognise indigenous Australians.
"You would've thought that might do," Price said.
"To have a separate Australia Day is just divisive. It divides people.
"Why come up with this cockamoni (sic). We're all Australians … we have one day why can't we settle it and move on."