National News

Another Melbourne council dumps Aust Day

A third Melbourne council which voted to dump Australia Day says the government shouldn't strip it of the right to hold citizenship ceremonies.

Moreland City Council on Wednesday night voted to drop all references to January 26 as Australia Day out of respect for Aboriginal people.

But Moreland will continue holding its official citizenship ceremony on January 26 after a motion to move it was voted down in June.

Mayor Helen Davidson said she hoped this meant Canberra would not strip council of its right to hold citizenship ceremonies, as it did to fellow Melbourne councils Yarra and Darebin after they voted not to hold ceremonies on January 26.

"We hope the commonwealth will note the position that Moreland has taken, which is substantially different from that taken by Darebin and Yarra councils," Ms Davidson said in a statement on Thursday.

"It would be unfortunate for the minister to strip us of our role in conducting citizenship ceremonies."

Moreland Socialist Alliance councillor Sue Bolton said hosting ceremonies and events on January 26 was "grossly insensitive" to aboriginal people.

"It would be like celebrating the Nazi holocaust," she told the meeting.

The decision to dump the date was not unanimous among councillors, with independent John Kavanagh and Labor's Oscar Yildiz speaking against the move.

Moreland is dominated by Greens, Labor and independent councillors.

"For us to reject this day, really means rejecting our own ancestry and customs," Mr Yildiz told 3AW on Thursday.

"I think this is a whole bunch of councillors making a political statement."

Assistant immigration minister Alex Hawke criticised Moreland's decision.

"The Turnbull government strongly condemns comparisons of Australia Day with the Nazi Holocaust as deeply offensive to all Australians," he said in a statement.

"Already we have stripped councils of the right to administer citizenship where they have violated the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code.

"The government will consider (the) Moreland motion, and the nature of the public debate and consider further action as appropriate."

The code says events "must not be used as forums for political, partisan or religious expression".

© AAP 2017

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