Hemsworth calls for Aus Day date change

‘Stand together’: Chris Hemsworth speaks out on Australia Day
Hollywood heavyweight and Byron Bay resident Chris Hemsworth has spoken out on Australia Day, saying “changing the date is the first step”.

Aussie actor Chris Hemsworth has spoken out on Australia Day, saying he thinks the national holiday should be moved.

The Hollywood actor, 36, and resident of Byron Bay posted to his almost 40 million Instagram followers, sharing his view that January 26 marks a day of “such pain, sorrow and deep loss” for First Nations people.

“What if we made this day about reflection and respect for the oldest surviving civilisation, how they may be feeling and come together with solidarity, love and empathy,” Hemsworth asked in the post that’s been liked more than 480,000 times.

“We should stand together united in our commitment to reconciliation. Changing the date is the first step.

“No one loses anything but a lot of people benefit greatly. Love you all.”

Hemsworth has said he wants the date of Australia Day changed.

His views were supported in comments by actors Daniel McPherson and Luke Mitchell, ex-NRL player Chris Walker, Marie Claire magazine and photographer Peter Yan.

The Change the Date movement has steadily gathered momentum in Australia in recent years, with tens of thousands of noisy Aussies attending rallies in capital cities each Australia Day.

Opponents of the national holiday view January 26 as a day of national mourning.

An Invasion Day protest was held at Sydney’s Hyde Park on Sunday with reports suggesting between 50,000 and 65,000 people attended.

January 26 is officially recognised as Australia Day, a public holiday to celebrate the origins of the modern nation and is commemorated with fireworks, concerts and citizenship ceremonies.

However, the date is a time of mourning for indigenous Australians, who have inhabited the land for 65,000 years and view the arrival of British settlers in 1788 as heralding two centuries years of pain and suffering.

The holiday was only formally established as a nationwide celebration in 1994. This year, non-indigenous Australians were asked to give reparations in the form of a donation to the #PayTheRent campaign.

Melbourne rally organiser Lidia Thorpe, a former Victoria state government politician, drew attention to the plight of Aboriginal families who had to pay for the funerals of relatives who died in custody.

“It’s 2020 and we’re still trying to raise money to bury our people. So we’re asking people to pay the rent, you’re on stolen land,” she said.

“It’s time to reparate for the mass injustice that we’ve had as first people of this country.” Chants of “Always was, always will be, Aboriginal land” rang out as large crowds marched through the city.

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