HUNDREDS descended on Tasmania's Parliament House this afternoon with a short, sharp message for the state and federal governments: "Change the date".
The crowds gathered shortly before noon, standing for a minute silence at the top of the hour to pay respect to Aborigines past and present.
Launceston Aboriginal elder Phillip Beeton then laid a floral wreath at the steps of the sandstone building.
Placards, banners, flags and clothing of those gathered depicted "Invasion Day" plastered across the words "Australia Day".
Greens leader Kim Booth addressed the crowd, calling on Premier Will Hodgman to enter negotiations with Tasmania's Aboriginal community to progress the signing of a treaty.
Mr Booth said he was bitterly disappointed the Premier rejected calls to support changing the date of Australia Day in the name of reconciliation.
Mr Hodgman today acknowledged the concerns of some in the Aboriginal community, but said he could not support a date change.
‘‘This does not in any way lessen our intention to pursue a number of reforms to advance reconciliation including supporting constitutional recognition and consulting on the draft World Heritage Area management plan,’’ Mr Hodgman said.
Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre state secretary Trudy Maluga said Australia could never truly be a nation until Australia Day's date changed from January 26.
Aboriginal leader Michael Mansell echoed her calls, saying that holding the national celebration on January 26 caused division and exclusion, not unity.
Mr Mansell put forward a number of alternative dates, vowing not to give up the Aboriginal community's annual fight until the date is changed.
MORE TO COME