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Calls to include ‘Australia Day’ on Wanneroo Jan 26 event

Wanneroo councillor Linda Aitken will tonight move a motion to include the words ‘Australia Day’ on the marketing material for the Wanneroo Festival which will be held on January 26.

Wanneroo hosts the country’s largest citizenship ceremony on the morning of Australia Day and will next year host a multicultural festival on the afternoon of Australia Day. Cr Aitken is concerned because no references to Australia Day are on any material promoting the event which has been billed as the ‘Wanneroo Festival’.

“We’re one nation, and we need to celebrate our nation,” Cr Aitken told Gareth Parker.

“We can’t be frightened of using the words Australia Day for fear of being offended or offending someone. We need to be proud about our nation.”

But chair of the council’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group Dennis Simmons says – with a Citizenship Ceremony held in the morning – the afternoon’s festival should be a multicultural celebration.

“The problem with Australia Day is that it’s not inclusive of the First Nations people so for us to promote it that way wouldn’t include us as well and we want to include everyone.”

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