Fremantle Cans Oz Day Fireworks After Aboriginal Consultations. You Can Guess The Reaction


It’s the social media equivalent of walking into a room and throwing a dead cat on the table.

That was obviously the thinking behind Channel 9’s posting of a ‘story’ on its Facebook page earlier today, which consisted of a single picture and a one paragraph statement. No effort to inform, no link to an actual story… just a bit of good old fashion racial clickbaiting.

And here it is.


The issue relates to the decision by the Fremantle Council in Perth to cancel its annual fireworks display on January 26.

Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettit told ABC Perth that the primary consideration was around sensitivity to Aboriginal feelings about a national holiday marking the date of invasion and slaughter.

“The [fireworks]are fun, and they are much loved, and it was a pretty tough decision… but at the heart of it, it came down to some conversations quite a few of us had with local Aboriginal people in Fremantle,” Pettit said.

“For them there was a real sense that Australia Day is not a day of celebration for everybody, in fact, for them it is a day of sadness and in many ways, a day that marks the start of much of their dispossession.”

The ABC reported that “Mr Pettit said he anticipated the public reaction to the vote would be mixed.”

“Diversely, would be the polite way of putting it,” he said.

That turned out to be somewhat of an understatement.

The Channel 9 racial clickbait mentioned above has attracted more than 2,000 comments in just a few hours.

And while there’s a sprinkling of supportive comments throughout… things pretty much descended into the toxic social media soup that we’ve all come to expect.

This particular comment – one of the mildest – has had almost 1,700 likes in its own right.


The irony of mentioning ‘family’, ‘kids’ and ‘tradition’ appear to be lost on Ms Han.

This one sums up the more hysterical among the commenters.


And then there’s this one… our personal favourite. And it’s worth reading the replies (all the way to the end) if not to restore your faith in Australian humanity, then at least to see the capacity of an idiot to be blissfully unaware of her own breathtaking stupidity.


Chris Graham is the publisher and editor of New Matilda. He is the former founding managing editor of the National Indigenous Times and Tracker magazine. In more than three decades of journalism he's had his home and office raided by the Australian Federal Police; he's been arrested and briefly jailed in Israel; he's reported from a swag in Outback Australia on and off for years. Chris has worked across multiple mediums including print, radio and film. His proudest achievement is serving as an Associate producer on John Pilger's 2013 film Utopia. He's also won a few journalism awards along the way in both the US and Australia, including a Walkley Award, a Walkley High Commendation and two Human Rights Awards. Since late 2021, Chris has been battling various serious heart and lung conditions. He's begun the process of quietly planning a "gentle exit" after "tying up a few loose ends" in 2024 and 2025. So watch this space.