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19 Easy Ways To End The Annual Australia Day Debate

January 26 represents a day of invasion for many First Nation people of Australia. Here are some dates that are more inclusive.

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1. Federation.

On January 1, 1901, Australia became the COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA. That seems like an important date, right?

The issue is, it’s the same day as New Years Day. So maybe we could move it a little to January 2 so we have two public holidays in a row? We do it with the Queens Birthday! Then we'd have two whole days to recover from New Years Eve. You’re welcome.

2. The 1967 Referendum.

When my parents were born, they weren’t counted in the census as citizens of Australia. They weren't even considered human, they were categorised as flora and flauna. On May 27, 1967 that changed with a referendum.

Now, they are counted as HUMAN BEINGS in this country. Something I take for granted every day.

If this country can't celebrate the day First Nation people were recognised as something other than animals, then when can we?

3. Warnie’s First Sex Scandal.

Maybe this should be a day of mourning, especially for the people who have to suffer Warnie's sexual advances. I don't actually know exactly what date the first sex scandal happened, but there are a few so we can take our pick.

Love him or hate him, noughties Warnie represented everything that makes Australia great; current thirsty insta-creep Warnie represents all that is not so great.

Only in Australia could someone like Shane Warne, a loud, smoking, dancing sportsman with a mullet, rise to such heights.

4. The day Federal Parliament opened.

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Relating back to Federation again, May 9 1901 also saw the establishment of the first federal parliament.

Back in 1901 there was big hoo-haa about it, with a royal procession and everything. Since then, federal parliament has cursed and blessed us with very amusing and at times offensive moments, and then there's the Paul Keating insults (see video).

5. The First Time Someone Put Beetroot On A Burger.

How good is beetroot on a burger? The way it makes your bun all purple and soggy. How it drips down onto your clothes and stains them. How it gives your delicious, greasy burger a distinctly sweet and earthy taste. That, my friends, IS the taste of Australia.

We came up with that… I think... But even if we didn’t, its the Australian way to claim that which is not really ours: like Russell Crowe and… the entire landmass of Australia.

6. The Day We Got Television.

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Australia's first broadcast was on Sunday September 16, 1956. And ever since then it's been nothing but good times on the old 'idiot box'. Whether it's local or global, where would we be without television!? TV is something that brings us all together. Everybody loves TV. EVERYBODY. Especially me.

I love you, TV. I love you so goddamn much.

7. At Skippy’s Birthday.

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‘Skippy, Skippy, the bush kangaroo’ The iconic tune rings familiar just reading it, doesn’t it? One of Australia’s most heavily exported shows, it only had three seasons but has lived on for decades. From the creepy kangaroo hand, the Skippy whistle, can you get anymore Australian than a pet Kangaroo that saves lives and solves crimes?

Skippy has done a lot for us and we should thank him for that. We should be celebrating Australia Day on his birthday, February 5. AND it’s only a week after the current Australia Day.

8. That Time Oprah Visited.

Via Harpo Studios / ei666shii.tumblr.com

Yes, Oprah isn't even Australian but every living, breathing thing loves Oprah and what she stands for. And that is: free shit, solid advice and book clubs. Go on, make an argument against those things, I dare you.. yeah. Yeah, you can’t.

We waited a long time and spent a lot of money to get Oprah to finally come to our shores. And she finally did... on December 9, 2010. And at her live show at the Sydney Opera House we watched as Hugh Jackman zip-lined into a wall. Ooops.

We owe Oprah so much. Let’s celebrate Australia Day on the day Oprah made all our dreams come true.

9. Ita Buttrose’s Birthday.

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Let's give due credit to Ita and make her birthday, January 17, a national holiday. In my house we call her 'Aunty Ita'. My mum and I once met her at a party and I've never seen Mum so excited.

Ita Buttrose is one classy lady. And accomplished. She does so much for us, such as giving us advice on manners and even doing a rap about it. And she has a lisp. And from a fellow lisp possessor, I think we need to celebrate lisps more. Instead of teasing people over them and trying to trick them into saying 'seashells' (THANKS DAD).

10. The Day Tony Abbott Ate An Onion.

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We once had a prime minister who ate a raw onion whole. And the whole world saw it. And then he had to eat another one to make the first one seem normal. Like, “Hey guys, I eat onions like they're apples all the time”.

I’m surprised he didn’t wheel out his family, dressed in white, to all eat onions together, sending a message of "This is what White People do".

Anyway, #NeverForget. If they ever have GIFs on dollar notes, please let’s make sure Tony Abbott eating an onion goes on the Australian $10.

11. The Day of the First 'People's Walk for Reconciliation'.

Via nswreconciliation.org.au

On May 28, 2000, more than 250,000 people showed up to walk across the Harbour Bridge in Sydney to show their support for reconciliation between Aboriginal and Non-Aboriginal people. It became one of the biggest political demonstrations in Australian history. On that day, Australians practiced inclusiveness and support and walking in groups. This is the Australia we should celebrate.

12. The Day Kevin Rudd Said Sorry.

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On February 13, 2008, then prime minister Kevin Rudd acknowledged that the Stolen Generation took place in Australia and said SORRY.

As many a cliche goes, "sorry" can be the hardest thing to say. If Australia is going to move into a better future, we need to acknowledge the past and try to right the wrongs of past injustices. We could celebrate a step we took in doing just that. We could celebrate and remember.

13. The Day Cathy Freeman Won Gold.

Dean Lewins / AAPIMAGE

On September 25, 2000, Cathy Freeman won the Gold Medal for the 400m at the Olympics in Sydney. She wore the green and gold bodysuit, and red, black and yellow runners. At the end, she held up both the Aboriginal and Australian flag. Cathy is a legend.

Cath also dated Joel Edgeton. I know nothing about their relationship, but I do know, in some alternate universe, Cathy Freeman and Joel Edgerton are currently the Posh and Becks of Australia (except reversed, Cath is Becks and Joel is Posh).

14. When Vegemite Was Invented.

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On October 25, 1923, Australia was blessed with the goodness of concentrated yeast. Vegemite on toast is an Austalian tradition. It's bloody delicious and we all have our own ways of eating. I like it with lots of butter and not too toasted bread. My mum likes it with avo. My BF says he likes it on "well done" toast (what a wanky way to say burnt toast). How do you like yours?

15. The Day when Eddie Gilbert Bowled Out Don Bradman.

Via nla.gov.au

This isn't about celebrating the dismissal of Bradman. It's about celebrating an underdog. Australia loves an underdog. But to even say Eddie Gilbert is one of original underdogs in Australian sporting history is in an understatement.

Part of the Stolen Generation and still bound by protection laws as a player, Eddie Gilbert was the fastest bowler Don Bradman ever faced. When Eddie Gilbert played cricket, black and white traditions combined as Eddie worked the ball like he was throwing a boomerang.

16. The Day Optus Hired Dan.

You want to be racist or a big old jerk on social media? Nope, old mate Dan isn't having it. His approach is warm but stern. He takes no crap, but he remains friendly and calm in the face of xenophobic hostility.

I mean, Optus ended up pulling some of their ads in Arabic... but still... Dan practiced the values we should all embody in hopes of moving into a more inclusive, kinder Australia.

17. Mabo Day.

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Okay, so we already have a campaign to make Mabo Day (June 3) a national holiday. And this is pretty controversial, but how about just replacing Australia Day with Mabo Day?

Mabo Day commemorates Eddie Koiki Mabo, a Torres Strait Island man, who fought for recognition of the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional owners by taking Australia to the High Court. On June 3, 1992. the historic Mabo decision was made which overturned 'terra nullius' and recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had rights to the land before the British arrived.

At the very least, Mabo Day should be a public holiday. Oh wait, you disagree? SO YOU HATE PUBLIC HOLIDAYS, DO YOU?!

18. When the Tent Embassy Went Up.

This is the same day as Australia Day already, January 26, but for entirely different reasons.

On January 26 , 1972 four Aboriginal men, Michael Anderson, Billy Craigie, Tony Coorey and Bertie Williams, set out on a 'Diplomatic Mission' to Canberra and established the Aboriginal Embassy by planting an umbrella on the lawn of Parliament House.

Starting out as a protest against land rights, the Tent Embassy has had a tumultuous history and has become a powerful symbol for Aboriginal people around Australia. For many it represents the dispossession and disempowerment of Aboriginal people in their own homes.

19. ANY DAY BUT JANUARY 26?!?!?!

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January 26 is always going to be a contentious date. It represents many different things to many different people, but to a portion of the Australian population, it's a celebration of the loss and trauma that their families suffered over the past two and half centuries. It celebrates a bloody and violent juggernaut in the lives of many; not just Aboriginal people, but the trauma of the convicts who were torn from their homes to come here. Its hard to look back at the past, but unless we acknowledge it and stop playing pretend, can we ever move forward?

Let's not be jerks. Let's be visionaries. Let's change the date.

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