After two years of Covid-related cancellations, 2023 was due to be the return of Melbourne's annual Australia Day parade. Instead, the Andrews Labor government has axed the parade, opting for an event in Federation Square focused on reflection and respect. The flag-raising ceremony at Government House and the gun salute at the Shrine of Remembrance will still be going forward.
The move to ditch the parade has been praised by Marcus Stewart, the co-chair of the First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria, as well as by senator Lidia Thorpe. "[Abolishing the parade] is progress, and that is the power of mobilising the masses tirelessly year in, year out," said Thorpe on Twitter.
As expected, not everyone was pleased with the decision. In a Facebook post, Victorian opposition leader John Pesutto described the move as "deeply disappointing," demanding an explanation for the decision and claiming that the parade is a "popular family event that both brought communities together and people into our CBD."
Nixing the parade may only be the beginning, as the City of Melbourne announced in September that it would be reviewing the ways our city celebrates January 26.