TRIPLE J has followed Freo’s lead and moved its iconic Hottest 100 countdown from Australia Day.
The government-funded youth radio station has held the countdown on Australia Day since 1998, but says it never intended it to be linked to the national day, and it should be an event everyone can enjoy.
The Hottest 100 will now be announced on the fourth weekend of January, which next year falls on January 27.
Fremantle council made headlines last year when it abandoned its traditional Australia Day fireworks celebrations and had a One Day festival on January 28 instead.
Fremantle mayor Brad Pettitt says he is looking forward to the second One Day festival next year and is proud the port city pushed the Australia Day conversation into the national spotlight
“It is good that Australia is having the conversation about what is a national day in which all Australians, including first Australians, can celebrate together,” he says.
“It is a challenging conversation, but it doesn’t need to be a divisive one.
“January 26 will always be burdened as a day that has a strong negative meaning for many Aboriginal people, and try as hard as previous governments have, this can’t be glossed over and it’s time to find a better day. “Freo and Triple J’s moves are small steps in that direction.”
In a press release, Triple J stated that as a public broadcaster representing all Australians, it doesn’t have a view in the complex debate but is responding to its audience’s wishes, 64,990 of whom responded to a survey on the Hottest 100’s date change.
Sixty per cent wanted the Hottest 100 to be moved from Australia Day with 30 per cent in opposition, and one per cent who didn’t care.
But Tangney federal Liberal MP Ben Morton says the date change is political correctness gone mad.
“Australia Day is our national day and a day for everyone,” he says.
“I encourage anyone who wants to wear their Aussie flag shorts, green and gold caps and their thongs to still get together for an Australia Day barbecue and celebrate our national day.
“Just because Triple J doesn’t want to, doesn’t mean we can’t.”
Mr Morton says the Fremantle council is not a leader.
“They need to stop looking for national headlines and focus on their local community, on picking up the rubbish, fixing pot holes and providing service value to their ratepayers.”
While Mr Morton says Triple J is dividing Australians, Noongar elder Sealin Garlett says the date change shows respect to Aboriginal Australians and creates a feeling of inclusiveness for everyone.
“I like the notion of identifying the sensitivity of the date,” he says.
“I like the feelings of the Aboriginal people being heard.”
Mr Garlett says Australia Day is a tricky one for him, and he doesn’t take his children to the celebrations.
The Whadjuk Ballardong man says he commends Triple J for its bravery.
“This is about saying to the whole community, ‘Look, we are going to let this stand for where we are, where we are going, and who we want to be part of that journey’”.
“Changing celebrations to a different date is an awakening for the whole community to walk with us.”
by MOLLY SCHMIDT