Zali Steggall Statement on Australia Day 2022

25 January 2022

The 26th of January provokes a range of emotions for many within our community as we grapple with all that this day represents.

We must not forget that the 26th of January marks the commencement of European colonisation of this land. It also represents the commencement of violence, disempowerment and displacement of our Indigenous communities – creating sorrow, discrimination and hardship that has continued for generations.

While it is true that changing the date of Australia Day will not change our history, I believe that the conversation about changing the date needs to be had in a structured way with leadership from the Prime Minister. Without this, we are sure to have the same debate each year about whether the 26th of January unites or divides the nation.

The theme for this year’s Australia Day is 'Reflect, Respect and Celebrate' which reframes the way we deal with our national day. In the past the focus has been too heavily on celebration. Like many other significant days on our calendar, the day should start with reflection - on how this land was claimed, and the price paid by First Australians.

In Warringah, we must reflect on the fact that our very own Manly Cove is the place where Captain Phillip first set foot on Australian soil and for many in our Indigenous community this is where the song lines were first broken.

We should reflect on and celebrate the fact that in Australia we have over 65,000 years of history that is still being uncovered and explored. There is much to learn from our First Nations.

This Australia Day, I encourage everyone in Warringah to take some time to explore our diverse history and learn something new about our Indigenous culture. There are a variety of ways to pay our respects and celebrate Indigenous culture including:
- Attending the ceremony for the start of 'Ride with Aboriginal Peoples' at Manly Memorial on West Esplanade at 6.45am
- Participating in 'Ride with Aboriginal Peoples' from Manly to Church Point -
- Visiting Unsettled at the Australian Museum to see the untold history of Australia -
- Visiting the Indigenous rock carvings on the Spit to Manly Walk
For other events please see

I also encourage everyone to reflect, respect and celebrate the diversity of modern Australia and embrace the many cultures which contribute to the richness of our society today. Many think of Australia as a young country, but we have inherited the histories of so many nations - through those who were here before us, and those who have arrived since.