Anthony Albanese says Australians need to “stop looking for areas in which we can be outraged” as a storm brews over a decision by Cricket Australia over the national holiday.
The sporting organisation will reportedly not make reference to Australia Day during the Gabba Test match on Friday in Brisbane, when the home side takes on the West Indies.
Instead, Australia Day is set to be acknowledged “in passing” by a ground announcer, CODE Sports has reported.
A Welcome to Country ceremony will kick off the first day of the Test on Thursday.
NSW Premier Chris Minns was quick to denounce the body’s decision, saying “they should mention it”.
The Prime Minister, however, called for Australians to rise above outrage culture.
“We need to come together,” he told Sky News.
Australian Open tennis organisers will also err away from commemorating January 26 for the second year in a row.
Speaking more broadly about what Australia Day means to him, Mr Albanese said it was an “important day for all Australians” and that he would be participating in events, but recognised it was a day “when we reflect on who we are as a nation”.
“Where we give through as well to how we can continue to make (this country) even greater in the future. We (reflect on) the fullness of our history, that includes First Nations people, 65,000 years of sharing this great continent with the oldest continuous culture on earth,” he said.
“January 26 commemorates the founding of the colony in New South Wales, but also in recent times, of course multicultural Australia as well.
“Citizenship ceremonies (are) always at the at the forefront on Australia Day and they’ll take place around Australia people pledging their allegiance to Australia and to our values and our democratic traditions. That is really important.”
Earlier, Mr Minns questioned Cricket Australia’s decision, saying it was “extremely strange”.
“This is a day for us all to celebrate with your family and friends, recognise that we live in the greatest country on Earth. I definitely will be doing that,” he told 2GB.
Mr Minns urged both sporting bodies to “revisit the decision”.
Asked whether he thought the date of Australia Day would change “at some point”, Mr Minns said he “didn’t anticipate that in the short run” and Australians should celebrate the national day.
“The idea that you would take a national day away from any country, particularly Australia, is a strange one,” he said.
“We should, right now, (be) trying to pull each other together, and this is the day that we’ve set aside to celebrate what it means to live in the greatest country on Earth.”
Cricket Australia’s decision comes after consultation with the sport’s Indigenous advisory committee NATSICAC and follows criticism from star cricketer Ashleigh Gardner that a Test match was scheduled for January 26.
“I just don’t understand why this one day of the year – which is a day of mourning, which doesn’t have a very good history of what happened on that day, that there needs to be cricket,” she told NewsCorp’s Sports Newsroom in May last year.
“I see sport as a celebration and entertainment and an event you want to go to. Why does there need to be something that represents something that’s quite morbid.”
Supermarket giant Woolworths was also recently criticised for its decision to pull Australia Day merchandise from stores due to a “gradual decline” in sales, and a respect to the “broader discussion about January 26”.