Melbourne council to stop celebrating Australia Day

An Australian council will stop celebrating the national holiday in 2018.
An Australian council will stop celebrating the national holiday in 2018. Photo credit: Getty

An Australia council has decided to end its relationship with the country's national holiday in support of its indigenous community members.

The Yarra City Council in Melbourne will stop celebrating the January 26th Australia holiday beginning in 2018 after councillors voted on the issue on Tuesday night.

Australia Day marks the anniversary in which the British first arrived in 1788 and claimed sovereignty over Australia, a day some Australians, particularly indigenous people don't believe in.

The council has come under serious criticism from Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull who said the council's attack on Australia Day is dividing the population.

"The council is using a day that should unite Australians to divide Australians," he said.

"I recognise Australia Day, and its history is complex for many Indigenous Australians but the overwhelming majority of Australians believe the 26th of January is the day and should remain our national day."

Nine television presenter Karl Stefanovic has put his support behind changing the date Australia celebrates its national holiday.

On Wednesday morning Stefanovic said he'd changed his mind on the debate.

"If we are to truly follow through with the apology and move forwards together hand-in-hand, arm-in-arm, then I believe it must change," Stefanovic said.

Mr Stefanovic suggested moving Australia to January 1 to "combine New Years with another party".

The Yarra City councillors voted unanimously to denounce the national holiday despite pressure from the federal government.

The council also said they'd stop holding citizen ceremonies on Australia Day, it is quite possible that they could lose the authorisation to host citizen ceremonies altogether by Thursday.

All clauses of the hearing passed un-amended despite fierce submissions that said the council didn't consult the community enough.