January 26 ‘The Best Available Day to Celebrate Australia Day’, Tony Abbott Claims

Former prime minister Tony Abbott says January 26 should be accepted as Australia’s national day.

The Australian Greens are campaigning for the date of Australia Day to be changed.

Greens leader Richard Di Natale believes it’s time Australia stops papering over an issue which, he says, has been divisive and painful for so many for 200 years.

However, Mr Abbott says there are 364 other days a year for the Greens to be politically correct.

“Why can’t they just accept that January 26 is the best available day to celebrate all that’s good about life in Australia,” he tweeted.

Senator Di Natale joked there should be a national holiday when Mr Abbott retired from parliament.

“That would bring the country together in a way like few other national days.”

Neither Labor nor the government endorse a date change, which has been adopted by a number of local councils.

Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce says the government is focused on making the nation stronger, not arguing that “Lachlan Macquarie and Captain Cook were bad buggers”.

Indigenous leaders have been pushing for the change in recent years, saying January 26 marks the date the First Fleet landed in Sydney Cove in 1788, marking the beginning of British colonisation.