Council won’t enforce Morrison’s fashion police proposal

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Mayor of the Inner West Darcy Byrne has dismissed Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s proposed dress code at Citizenship Ceremonies.

Council is also currently reviewing its Australia Day activities and will engage with its community about how to make 26 January a more respectful and inclusive day for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

“Our Citizenship Ceremonies are very fashionable events,” said Byrne.

“People wear everything from saris to dashikis, so we certainly won’t be enforcing a dress code imposed by a Prime Minister who can’t even put his baseball cap on straight.

“Scott Morrison’s political career will be over within the next six months. If he thinks picking a fight with local councils over Citizenship Ceremonies constitutes national leadership then he might loose by an even greater margin than everyone is expecting,” he said.

Inner West Council’s Citizenship Ceremony and other events scheduled for 26 January this year will proceed as planned.

As part of a review of all events on the Inner West Council calendar, Officers will consult with Aboriginal people and the broader community about changing the nature of the activities on 26 January in future years.

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said Council will continue to hold a respectful Citizenship Ceremony on 26 January, but could hold a separate community festival in Marrickville during the summer season.

“For First Nations peoples, 26 January represents the beginning of invasion, dispossession, disease, stolen children and the deliberate elimination of language and culture,” he said.

“These are historical acts with very real contemporary consequences and as such, it is a difficult day for many Aboriginal people.

“It is sensible for us to consider how the nature of 26 January must change. It should be a day of commemoration and it is important that we talk to the community about what form they want the day to take,” he said.

In 2018, Council’s Australia Day event in Enmore Park included a solemn Citizenship Ceremony for 60 new Australian citizens and the presentation of the Citizen of the Year awards.

“Last year, I was also able to award Euphemia Bostock, a nationally renowned Aboriginal artist and community activist as our Senior Citizen of the Year.

“Auntie Phemie has been contributing to the Inner West since before she was even counted as a citizen in this country,” said Mayor Byrne.

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Page last updated: 15 Jan 2019