Woolworths boss defends decision not to stock Australia Day merchandise in 2024

The boss of Woolworths Australia has defended the supermarket chain's decision not to stock Australia Day merchandise this year.

The national holiday observed on January 26 marks the landing of the first fleet of British ships in Sydney harbour.

There are growing calls to change the date. 

Just days out from Australia's national holiday, there's furore and flare attacks on Woolworths following its decision not to stock holiday merchandise. 

"People want to go to Woolworths and shop. They don't want wokeness in aisle three," said Today Show host Karl Stefanovic.

"I completely disagree with that Karl," hit back Woolworths CEO Brad Banducci.

"Australia Day means different things to everyone. We want everyone to make their choice about how they mark Australia Day."

January 26 has been recognised as Australia Day for years and marks the date the British first colonised the country. But that colonisation meant massacres, land theft, stolen children and widespread oppression for First Nations people.

Many call the anniversary 'Invasion Day' and want the date moved.

"I'm totally in support of it. I think Australia Day is more like Invasion Day," one person said.

Many call the national holiday Invasion Day, marking the day British colonisation began.
Many call the national holiday Invasion Day, marking the day British colonisation began. Photo credit: Newshub.

Aussie cricket captain Pat Cummins has become the most recent voice adding to calls to change the day.

"I think we can probably find a more appropriate day to celebrate," Cummins said.

Cricket Australia went as far as not to mention it during the upcoming Gabba test.

"It's a tough day, it means different things to different people," Cummins said.

The Australian Open will ignore it, plus supermarket chain Aldi and pet stores will turn a blind eye too, while some day care centres label it 'Invasion Day' or 'Survival Day'. 

"The vast majority of Australians want Australia Day," said Nationals politician Barnaby Joyce.

Recent polls say 58 per cent don't want the date changed.

That shows Australia is a country very much divided on a day meant to celebrate unity.