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Call to change Australia Day to Jan 1st

Australia Day should be moved from January 26 to January 1 to better reflect the founding of the Commonwealth, Centenary of Federation Queensland chairman Ross Fitzgerald said.

Professor Fitzgerald, a noted historian, said Australia became a nation on January 1, 1901, when six independent British colonies became the Commonwealth of Australia.

"January 1 is therefore the most appropriate day to celebrate Australia Day," Professor Fitzgerald said.

"Symbols and symbolic dates are crucially important."

He said that for indigenous people January 26 commemorated the invasion of their country, while for the rest of the population it marked the founding of the colony of New South Wales.

"In terms of celebrating a united Australia, January 26 is entirely inappropriate," Prof Fitzgerald said.

"From next year onwards, Australia Day should be moved to January 1."

He said he felt certain most local government leaders and all thinking Australians would support the change.