The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples has urged triple j and the ABC to stand firm in the face of pressure against the radio station’s decision to move its Hottest 100 countdown from Australia Day to the following day.
“For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, Australia Day represents oppression and dispossession,” Congress co-chair Jackie Huggins said.
“Triple j is to be congratulated for taking a principled stand that seeks to include all citizens in a celebration of our nation on a more neutral date.”
She said Congress regarded triple j’s decision as an important step towards reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and non-Indigenous Australians.
Triple J made the announcement on Monday.
“In recent years the Hottest 100 has become a symbol in the debate about Australia Day,” the station said in a statement on its website.
“The Hottest 100 wasn’t created as an Australia Day celebration.
“It was created to celebrate your favourite songs of the past year.
“It should be an event that everyone can enjoy together — for both the musicians whose songs make it in and for everyone listening in Australia and around the world.”
Communications Minister Mitch Fifield is demanding that triple j reverse its decision.
“There are a relatively small number of people who have an issue with the fact that Australia Day is celebrated on January 26,” Mr Fifield told ABC’s News Breakfast.
“I already have made my view clear to the ABC.
“And I’ll be asking the Board of the ABC, who have the ultimate programming and editorial responsibility, to reconsider this.”
A statement from the ABC Board said the decision to move the date of the countdown would benefit everyone.