A bid by a suburban Adelaide council to acknowledge Australia Day as the day of European invasion and shift the traditional celebrations is “garbage” and “social engineering”, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says.
The Marion Council will consider a motion next month from Councillor Bruce Hull seeking to recognise the feelings of indigenous Australians.
But Mr Joyce has suggested the council stick to “rubbish and roads”.
“Every time a council decides their job is not to look after rubbish and roads but some social engineering for our nation, it is just garbage,” he told reporters in Adelaide on Monday.
Mr Hull will put a motion to council to abolish citizenship ceremonies on January 26 as a mark of respect to indigenous people, many of whom view that date as “invasion day”.
The councillor’s motion follows similar moves in two Victorian councils earlier this month which voted to shift citizenship ceremonies from January 26.
The moves by the Yarra City and Darebin councils were condemned by the federal government which has stopped them from holding any citizenship ceremonies.
Marion Council Mayor Kris Hanna said he was unsure if councils were the appropriate forum for a debate about Australia Day.
“If there is to be this debate it really needs to take place on the national stage,” he Hanna said.
The council which holds around ten citizenship ceremonies a year for 800 people conducts three ceremonies on January 26 and the mayor said he was unsure if Mr Hull’s motion would receive the support required to bring it before council for a vote.
“I’m not really sure that there will be a majority in the city of Marion council that will support this going ahead.”