26 January 2021

Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty speaks to the media at Wodonga Council’s Australia Day celebration at The Cube.

Tim Quilty attends as guest of Wodonga Council to celebrate Australia Day

Liberal Democrats Member for Northern Victoria Tim Quilty celebrated Australia Day today as a guest of Wodonga Council on an uncharacteristically damp January morning.

The weather outside may have been wet and grey but that did nothing to diminish the warmth of the welcome shown by the guests to all the new Australian citizens and Australia Day award winners.

“It was an enjoyable morning and I am pleased to have been invited because Australia Day is such an important part of our story,” Mr Quilty, a former Wodonga councillor, said.

“It also allows us to recognise community members who have made such great contributions, and this year’s Citizen of the Year, Lindsay Hanchett, is no exception.

“He is probably best known for co-ordinating the Wodonga Carols by Candlelight, which he has helped to develop into one of the city’s premier events.

“It is people like Lindsay, who are prepared to work so hard for the benefit of others, who make regional life so much more rewarding.

“Today’s event, despite being hampered by COVID restrictions, was a great success and I’d like to congratulate Wodonga Council for organising such an enjoyable ceremony, incorporating a virtual edition for people at home.”

Mr Quilty said he is happy for everybody to observe their day in whatever way they choose.

“This day is full of meaning for everybody who lives in Australia and I believe it is entirely up to the individual to mark the day the way they see fit,” Mr Quilty said.

“Call it Australia Day, call it Invasion Day, celebrate it or mark it with solemnity – it is not up to politicians to tell people what to do on January 26.

“Personally, I do not support calls to change the date, and as a family today we will take the opportunity to celebrate Australia and everything it stands for, as we always do. There are certainly things in our past to be ashamed of, but there are also many things to be proud of.”

Mr Quilty said that if in the future, as a country, we can reach a final settlement that allows all Australians to be proud of a shared identity, a date change could be part of that – but that would require everyone to genuinely want to put the conflict behind us, rather than continuing to pursue it for divisive purposes.

“We cannot change history, we cannot possibly hope to undo the harm which has been done, but what we can do is approach the matter with maturity and with a willingness to make compromises,” Mr Quilty said.

“This is what agreement is based on, a willingness to find common ground.

“We all work, rest and play on the same enormous island, and we should be able in the 21st century to unite and move forward together.”

For more information, contact Graham Springett | 0408 208819