Councillor Don Palmer Providing Local Leadership & Working for You

You may be asking why no Unley Australia Day event next year. And that’s fair enough.

As reported in the media, Unley Council has decided not to run an event on Australia Day 2024. In so doing we have alienated some in our community. The truth is, on this topic, we were always going to alienate some in our community.

Why? Because of the public debate in recent times regarding the hurt it may be doing to our First Nations people.

The Australian community and (I suggest by default) the Unley community are divided over holding Australia Day events. Given this, it was always going to be that members of the Council too would demonstrate evidence of this.

Many in our community have told us we should not be engaged in making such a decision and we should hold the event anyway. Several have also challenged why we did not consult our community.

The fact of the matter is the Federal Government has placed the need to consider whether we do or don’t squarely on our shoulders. This I have explained in my blog post of 8 August. That blog also addresses my take on why we would not necessarily consult our community.

For reasons similar to my Citizenship Ceremony decision, I voted for no Unley Australia Day event next year.

That said and being a pragmatist, I did not vote according to an ideology. In so doing I was aware that I would be voting in concert with those voting based on one ideology and against those who might be voting with the opposing ideology.

My view is that our recent Australia Day events have not been well attended. Indeed, one could suggest, poorly attended.

They have been coupled with the citizenship ceremony in the past. The attendees in the past have invariably been only the new citizens and their families. Not exactly an invitation to stage one this year in isolation, noting we will have a small offering to our new citizens as we do at other citizenship ceremonies during the year.

Further, any such event would be on the back of our TDU and gourmet gala events one week prior. These two combined vents take much resourcing for our staff. This would put them under unnecessary pressure to include this event. Finally, there will be other “major” events available for people to attend around Adelaide should they wish to.

A big call then I would suggest to expect a significant attendance to an Australia Day event. Combined, all good reasons therefore to not stage an event.

I apologise to anyone offended by this.