200 rally for date change in Hobart

ABOUT 200 people gathered on the lawns of Parliament House in Hobart today to call for the date of Australia Day to be changed.

Tasmanian Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Robin Banks, Greens politicians, motorcycle club members and non-aboriginal Tasmanians joined members of the Tasmanian Aboriginal community in protest against celebrating January 26, the date of colonisation, as Australia's national day.

Tasmanian elder Jimmy Everett said today marked the invasion of Aboriginal lands by British settlers, and the beginning of ``rape and murder'' of the Aboriginal people.

``We see an invasion being celebrated,'' Mr Everett said.

``It's time for us to reflect on where we are now.''

Talk also turned to Australian of the Year Adam Goodes, who has said celebrating Australia Day makes him feel uncomfortable but has not called for a change of date.

Mr Goodes is the eighth Indigenous Australian to receive the title, but some, like Aboriginal Community Council spokesman Michael Mansell, said his appointment was a political diversion to attract attention away from conversations around the date.

None of the speakers said Mr Goodes should have refused the award, but many expressed doubt that he would be able to change anything.

``Would the Palestinians accept an Israeli of the Year award?'' Tasmanian Aboriginal Council spokeswoman Nala Mansell said.

THE TASMANIAN Greens chose today to announce their policy for a treaty between the Tasmanian government and Tasmanian Aborigines, to be developed in consultation with the Aboriginal community.

Premier Lara Giddings said treaties were a national issue between the Australian Government and all Australian Indigenous Peoples, but that the Tasmanian Government supported the constitutional recognition of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.

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