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Australia Day Name Change Hoax Targets Prime Minister Gillard

Vitriolic and abusive social media comments claim that Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is set to change the name of Australia Day to "Citizens Day" in an attempt to pander to migrant groups.

Brief Analysis
The claims in the messages are utter nonsense. The Gillard government is not about to change the name of Australia Day to "Citizens Day" or anything else. Nor have any future plans for such a change been announced. The claims in these messages are outright lies. The posts are derived from earlier - and equally false - messages that began circulating in 2009 and predate Gillard's prime ministership. These shameful, sexist and violent comments - some of which even call for the assassination of the Prime Minister should such a change occur - have no place in any informed political debate and do nothing more than expose those making such comments as ill informed, "red-neck" misogynists with no real grasp of the Australian political landscape.

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Last updated: November 2, 2012
First published: November 2, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer

Gillard wants to change Australia Day to Citizens day!! F****** ranga b**** burn, burn burn!!!

if Julia Gillard changes Australia day to citizens day im moving out of this f****** country..

If Julia Gillard thinks she's f******* changing Australia Day to citizens day I will f****** riot daily.

If Julia Gillard changes Australia Day to Citizens day, i promise you i will J.F.K her ASS!

Julia Gillard is actually considering changing australia Day to Citizens day, you ARE F****** Kidding Me????????

Cant believe they changed Australia day to ''Citizens day'' I hate you julia gillard :)))))))

Australia day to "citizens" day...GET F******! Gillard ur not even a proper Australian. U can get on the boat with the rest of "them" (who apparently are offended) and f*** off! We are all perfectly happy here without you and we MUCH better off before u came along anyway.

Detailed Analysis

Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons/MystifyMe Concert Photography (Troy)

Julia Gillard is NOT about to change the name of Australia Day to "Citizens Day"
Rumours are again spreading via social media posts that the Australian Government is about to change the name of Australia Day to "Citizens Day" so as not to offend migrant or minority groups. Such rumours have resurfaced regularly in recent years, and tend to gain momentum as Australia Day - 26th January - draws near. The rumours have even spawned various Facebook pages calling for a reversal of the decision. The current crop of such messages are especially vitriolic and claim that it is current Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard who is orchestrating the proposed name change.

However, the claims in the messages have no factual basis whatsoever. The Gillard government is not going to change the name of Australia Day to "Citizens Day" or any other name. There are no future plans to make such a change. The current versions of the rumour were apparently derived from similar - and equally false - claims that began circulating back in 2009. The original version may have been fueled in part by comments by Indigenous leader Mick Dodson, who received the Australian of the Year award in 2009. In his acceptance speech, Professor Dodson called for Australia Day to be moved to a different date, because of the current date's potential to isolate indigenous citizens.

However, then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd quickly ruled out such a change noting via a spokesperson that "the Government has no plans to and will not be changing the date of Australia Day or the name of Australia Day." And no such name change has since been suggested.

Thus, the rumours are without foundation and Australians have no need for concern about any impending change to our national day.

An especially worrying aspect of the latest crop of these rumours is the often violent, sexist, racist and abusive nature of the messages that perpetrate them. Many call for violent retaliation should such a name change take place. Some even call for attacks or assassination attempts against the Prime Minister herself. And many of the messages resort to base, personal attacks against the gender and appearance of Prime Minister Gillard. Those who pen such poisonous missives apparently believe that they are displaying patriotism by "protecting" Australia Day. But, in reality, the ill-informed, hate-filled misogynists who create such messages are anything but patriotic. The comments are untrue, unfair and ultimately un-Australian and their perpetrators do nothing more than damage Australia's reputation in the eyes of the international community. Such comments have no positive role to play in any informed or resonable political discussion, regardless of political viewpoint.

While many Australians may have genuine concerns about the current government's policies, spreading misinformation, calling for violence against political leaders and resorting to personal attack and juvenile name calling will do nothing whatsoever to address such concerns.

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Happy Citizens Day! Sorry, ‘Australia Day’…
Australia Day sparks brawl

Last updated: November 2, 2012
First published: November 2, 2012
Article written by Brett M. Christensen
About Brett Christensen and Hoax-Slayer