Jacinta Price slams decision to scrap Australia Day Gala in UK

Ms Price encouraged Aussies to celebrate the country together on January 26th.

Jacinta Nampijinpa Price has strongly criticized the Federal Government, urging the reinstatement of a cancelled Australia Day event in England. The outspoken Senator called on Australian High Commissioner Stephen Smith to reverse the decision to cancel the Australia Day Gala, organized by the Australia Day Foundation for scholarships.

The event, aimed at funding scholarships for Australians studying in the UK, was reportedly canceled due to sensitivities for some Australians. A spokesperson for Mr. Smith later mentioned that the decision was made with respect to proposing an alternative night for the high-profile event.

Ms. Price labeled the decision as "unAustralian" and questioned Mr. Smith's authority to unilaterally make such a symbolic decision. She expressed her concerns, stating, “I would like to understand where Mr. Smith thinks he can make this determination all by himself. Who gave him permission to do so? I think it is a putdown to put an end to any celebrations of Australia Day."

Ms. Price encouraged Australians to come together and celebrate the country on January 26th.

"I think we have to get back to being proud of what it means to be Australian in this lucky country and appreciate what we do have," said Ms. Price, urging the Prime Minister to overturn the cancellation of the Australia Day Gala. She described the actions as uncalled for and unAustralian.

Ms. Price also referenced the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum, suggesting that its result indicated Australians' desire to return to celebrating Australia Day. She claimed that Yes campaigners were out of touch with everyday Australians who voted against the Voice because they didn't want the country to be divided along racial lines.

"Everyday Australians were sick of being called racist or being told they were on the wrong side of history if they voted no. They said yes to a united Australia where we recognize each and every one of us as Australian citizens equal, regardless of race, gender, or any other label. It's just a pity there are still some supporters of the Voice who can't come to terms with that," she added.

Peter Dutton also called for Australia's highest-ranking British diplomat to apologize after moving the Australia Day fundraising event in the UK.

"How can we have a high commissioner who is ashamed of Australia Day? Australia Day is a celebration of our history and our heritage," stated Mr. Dutton. He expressed concern about having a high commissioner who seemingly disapproves of Australia Day, emphasizing that the event is an opportunity to celebrate the nation's history and heritage.

Mr. Dutton asserted that he speaks for the majority of Australians who take pride in their country, recognizing both the history of Indigenous heritage and white settlement. He emphasized the need for more celebration of this history.

The choice of January 26 as Australia Day, commemorating the First Fleet's landing at Sydney Cove in 1788, is a day of mourning for Indigenous communities, often referred to as Invasion Day or Survival Day by some campaigners. While a YouGov survey in 2022 indicated that 56 percent of over 2000 participants favored keeping the date unchanged, nearly half of those under 35 supported a changed date.