Melbourne Council Scraps Australia Day

Mayor Amanda Stone defends the City of Yarra's Australia Day decision

The Prime Minister says he is deeply disappointed by the decision, and is accusing the council of breaching its duties.

Four of Yarra Council's nine councillors identify as Green, including the mayor Amanda Stone, according to The Greens Victoria website.

The move angered the Turnbull government, which this afternoon stripped the power of Yarra Council officers to hold a citizenship ceremony at any time of the year.

However, Cr Antonio said he found the Federal Government's handling of Yarra City Council's decision to move the date "unusual".

'Yarra council is using a day that should unite Australians to divide Australians.

"An attack on Australia Day is a repudiation of the values the day celebrates: freedom, a fair go, mateship and diversity". "The people who are opposed to what we are doing identify with Australia Day as part of their own identity and feel that we are interfering and taking something away".

The Department of Immigration and Border Protection will also step in to hold ceremonies within Yarra council if needed, including on Australia Day next year.

Assistant Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke also weighed in, saying the government would not allow the council to politicise citizenship.

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"I've grown up with January 26, but if there is a change, the place for that debate is in the federal sphere".

Mr Turnbull's outrage was shared by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews who called the council's decision "unnecessary".

Speaking on Sydney radio, Mr Abbott lashed the decision by the left-leaning Yarra Council in Melbourne's inner north-east as the latest example of a "larger war on our way of life", comparing it to Safe Schools, political correctness and the same-sex marriage debate.

Mr Turnbull said he acknowledged the day was "complex for many indigenous Australians", but the "overwhelming majority" of Australians believed the date should not change.

He told ABC Radio Melbourne that if the Yarra Council wanted to advance an argument about Australia Day they should have done so without referencing citizenship ceremonies. "Why would we want to celebrate the day our culture was destroyed?"

"It is regrettable that Yarra Council has proceeded with this course of action".

Mr. Jolly said the Indigenous community had approached the council to discuss the possibility of moving celebrations to another day.

"I think it's a bit of an overreaction", Ms Stone said of the federal government's move. "We begin with a welcome to country and an acknowledgment of country, and we celebrate our multicultural nation; we celebrate the oldest continuous human culture on earth, of our First Australians, just as we celebrate the youngest baby in the newest citizen's arms".

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