Many supporters of keeping Australia Day on January 26 cite tradition as a reason to maintain the status quo.

But as historian Benjamin T. Jones from Central Queensland University writes today, Australia Day hasn’t always been marked on January 26.

For example, Australia Day was marked on July 30 in 1915 as a fundraising effort for the first world war, and was celebrated in late July every year for the rest of the war.

In fact, Australia Day only officially became a public holiday on January 26 across the nation in 1994.

Protests on January 26 are also not new. In 1938, First Nations people declared January 26 a “day of mourning”. And on that day in 1988, over 40,000 people marched in Sydney calling for Indigenous land rights - the largest protests since the Vietnam Moratorium demonstrations in the early 1970s.

As we head into another year of debate and division over the date of our national holiday, Jones writes that “it’s important to recognise Australia Day has not always been celebrated on January 26, and the meaning of the date has long been contested”.

And Professor of Indigenous Studies Bronwyn Carlson writes today she’s tired of the same old debate that rears its head in January every year.

She says the conflict over a date obscures the discussions we should be having: about truth, about treaty, and about the ongoing suffering many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples still endure.

Liam Petterson

Deputy Politics Editor

Australia Day hasn’t always been on January 26, but it has always been an issue

Benjamin T. Jones, CQUniversity Australia

Australia Day has not always been celebrated on January 26, and the meaning of the date has been contested historically and today.

‘Change the date’ debates about January 26 distract from the truth telling Australia needs to do

Bronwyn Carlson, Macquarie University

January 26 brings debate about whether the day of invasion should be celebrated. People seem to ignore it was just the beginning of the oppression of Indigenous peoples.

Alcohol bans and law and order responses to crime in Alice Springs haven’t worked in the past, and won’t work now

Thalia Anthony, University of Technology Sydney; Vanessa Napaltjari Davis, Australian National University

Whenever there is talk of a “crime wave” in Indigenous communities, the response has always been paternalistic and harsh. The evidence shows it doesn’t work.

Body image campaigner Taryn Brumfitt is 2023 Australian of the Year

Michelle Grattan, University of Canberra

The four recipients “share a common bond – using their life experience as a power for good, helping others around them and making the world a better place

Should Australia let Kanye West in?

Mary Crock, University of Sydney

Character grounds have long been cited as a reason for denying visas to visit Australia. And politics is usually just beneath the surface.

With inflation still rising, the RBA will almost certainly lift interest rates in February

Isaac Gross, Monash University

Interest rates are almost certain to rise again in February, after the latest Consumer Price Index figures showing inflation hitting a record high of 7.8% in 2022.

One of these underrated animals should be Australia’s 2032 Olympic mascot. Which would you choose?

Euan Ritchie, Deakin University

From a ‘worm’ that shoots deadly slime from its head, to a blind marsupial mole that ‘swims’ underground, let’s take a look at three leading candidates (plus 13 special mentions).

‘Have I just joined another cult?’: Daniella grew up in The Family, then joined the army – where she experienced toxic control, again

Martine Kropkowski, The University of Queensland

Daniella Mestyanek Young grew up in the Children of God cult, also known as The Family. She escaped aged 15, then joined the US army after college – and recognised similar systems of toxic control.

These 5 spectacular impact craters on Earth highlight our planet’s wild history

Helen Brand, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation

Meteor impacts are an inevitable part of being a rocky planet in space. The craters they leave behind are a window into the tumultuous history of Earth.

Typical mass shooters are in their 20s and 30s – suspects in California’s latest killings are far from that average

Jillian Peterson, Hamline University ; James Densley, Metropolitan State University

Mass shooters over the age of 60 are rare, but often differ from younger gunmen in motives and actions prior to their attack.

Why do cats and dogs get the zoomies?

Susan Hazel, University of Adelaide; Ana Goncalves Costa, University of Adelaide; Julia Henning, University of Adelaide

A proposed scientific name is frenetic random activity periods (FRAPs). In rabbits, these high activity periods are called ‘binkies’. But many cat and dog-owners simply call them ‘zoomies’.

Arts + Culture

Health + Medicine

Science + Technology

Environment + Energy


Featured jobs

View all
Emerging Media
Melbourne VIC, Australia • Full Time
The Conversation AU
Melbourne VIC, Australia • Full Time
The Conversation Indonesia
Jakarta, Indonesia • Contract
List your job

Featured Events, Courses & Podcasts

View all
Politics with Michelle Grattan Podcast

1 February 2023 - 25 November 2029 •

Advanced Project Management

13 - 14 February 2023 •

Applying Behavioural Science to Create Change

20 February - 1 May 2023 • Melbourne

Promote your event or course

​Contact us here to list your job, or here to list your event, course or podcast.

For sponsorship opportunities, email us here