Laurie unfazed by date

NEWLY crowned Australian of the Year Mick Dodson's call for renewed “conversation” regarding the date of Australia Day has been met with mixed reaction from local indigenous identity, Kenneth Laurie.

Mr Dodson said celebrating January 26 “isolated” indigenous people and the arrival of the first fleet was “the day on which our world came crashing down”.

Mr Laurie said the issue was a “timely debate” but he and the Clarence Valley indigenous community were “not hung up” about the outcome.

“It's not discussed all that much to my knowledge,” he said.

Mr Laurie said Australia Day should be celebrated by all Australians regardless of the date.

“Those people who were naturalised today ... they're Australians, we're all Australians,” he said.

“That needs to be celebrated.”

Mr Laurie, a 'role model for all communities' was nominated for the Citizen of the Year award at the Clarence Valley Council's Australia Day awards yesterday.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd refused to enter discussions about a possible date change, offering a “simple, respectful but straightforward no”.



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