Baily Smith, Western Bulldogs, Australia Day date change debate opinion

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Western Bulldogs star Bailey Smith has weighed in on the Australia Day date change debate, calling for the celebration to be moved from January 26.

Australia Day marks the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788 and the beginning of the European colonisation of Australia – because of this, the day is not one of festivity for Indigenous Australians but of mourning.

Posting an Instagram story on Wednesday, Smith shared a post from First Nations advocacy organisation Talk Black detailing scheduled “Invasion Day” protests.

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“Be mindful of how [you’re] spending tomorrow and show empathy towards our First Nations people,” he wrote.

“Change the f—ing date.”

The Geelong Football Club also posted a “reflection” on January 26 on their social media platforms.

“On January 26, we stand in solidarity with First Nations people and we listen deeply and reflect,” the club said in a statement on Wednesday.

“We recognise this day is also a day that marks citizenship for new Australians.

“We are committed to moving forward with openness and togetherness for our shared history, our spirit and our people, on a date that represents all Australians.”

Several clubs told The Age they had plans to make statements regarding January 26 on Thursday.

Earlier this week, Australian cricketer Ashleigh Gardner called out Cricket Australia for scheduling an international fixture on January 26.

Gardner, who is a proud Indigenous Australian, took to social media on Sunday to denounce the decision to play a match on a date that commemorates “the beginning of genocide, massacres and dispossession”.

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