Australia Day Fremantle: Mayor claims victory despite citizenship ceremony backdown

In a controversial move that has divided many, Fremantle council in the state of Western Australia cancelled its Australia Day festivities to respect Aboriginal sensitivities.

In New Zealand, Waitangi Day has always been divisive, and increasingly, some Australians are considering today's celebration of Australia Day an affront to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, some of whom consider it Invasion Day.

Celebrating the Sydneysiders' day could nearly be called un-South Australian ... okay, we jest.

Dr Pettitt said the biggest success to come out of the controversy was a change in attitudes, especially a "maturing" in understanding over why January 26 was not a day of celebration for Aboriginal Australians.

The clashes follow the growing debate around the date and meaning of Australia Day.

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Dozens of people were involved in the violent outbursts at the Invasion Day protest in central Sydney.

For many groups of people, it is a national day of mourning instead of celebration, and rallies and demonstrations against it are held all over the country.

Invasion Day protests also took place in other major capital cities, and outside Parliament House, where hundreds gathered to call for an Aboriginal treaty.

However, not everyone sees Australia Day as positive: it actually has a very controversial background, and there are a lot of reasons why it's perhaps not the best day to honour.

Starvation of Indigenous in Australia.

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Many believe celebrating on January 26 is insensitive and offensive. On a local radio show, Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce said that the demands to change the date were "political correctness gone mad". "They don't like Christmas, they don't like Australia Day, they're just miserable ... and I wish they'd crawl under a rock and hide for a little bit".

Ellen Wharton-Kirke of Manly, New South Wales proposed a day on which all Australians could sell memorabilia to raise money for the soldiers then fighting at Gallipoli and elsewhere in the Great War.

But there is government resistance to any date change.

Now, it is formally marked with the announcement of the Australian of the Year - for 2017, the biomolecular scientist Alan Mackay-Sim - and a series of concerts, public events, and citizenship ceremonies.

Tens of thousands joined the march calling for the date of Australia Day - January 26 - to be changed as it celebrates the arrival of white settlers and the beginning of injustices suffered by the country's disadvantaged Aborigines.

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When Indigenous Australians were asked to associate three words with Australia Day, the top three most used words were invasion, survival and murder.

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