Over the past 20 years, Triple J’s Hottest 100 has been an Australia Day tradition. Right next to BBQs, beer, mini Australian flags and a peeling sunburn. The January 26th event was the time of year to reflect on the previous year of music, perhaps discover some new Aussie artists getting a platform to showcase their work and highlight the chart toppers who probably don’t care that they ranked in the Top 10.
However, due to the recent press and support for the Australia Day date to be changed to something a little less violent, Triple J announced the Hottest 100 will return next year on January 27th, 2018. And to top that off they also announced a Hottest 200 countdown for January 28th, 2018. Featuring all the tracks that didn’t make the cut. Triple J, counting down the B-sides of the music charts.
A survey was conducted by the station to gage their listener’s opinion on the subject and after 64,990 responses were received, 60% voted supporting the date change out of respect for Indigenous Australians. And to further affirm the result, a second survey with 759 18-30 year olds who had listened to Triple J at some point, also voted in favour of the change. 55% yes, 24% no and 22% had bigger fish to fry, like listen to Fitzy and Wippa.
In the press release, Triple J also pointed out the Hottest 100 has not always been an Australia Day ritual. The first countdown aired on March 5th, 1989 and didn’t play on Australia Day until 1998. In 2004 the chart moved to January 25th out of the blue as well.
So, for all the back and forth debate and coverage this issue has gotten, there is some pretty interesting evidence that a large portion of (most likely) young Australians would support a new home for Australia Day. Even if the stats are just for an FM radio station.
For a date that’s been labelled ‘Invasion Day’ by many in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, it may go a long way in improving a torn relationship. A date that’s inclusive for all Australians to celebrate, regardless of race or skin colour. After all, 2.8% of a our population is Indigenous or Torres Strait Islander.
It’s a simple ideal to strive for, whether or not our Government will take the steps to debate the issue is another hurdle. The last thing people want is another plebiscite to find a resolution.
But, is this something that takes priority over the other problems the Indigenous community face? A well documented abuse of illicit drugs and alcohol as well as domestic violence have been a long running plague for the community.
Regardless, it’s clear this blemish on Australia Day won’t diminish anytime soon. This isn’t history you can brush under the rug and hope nobody reads the Wiki on Australia Day. The past is taught in school curriculums, debates begin every year and politicians remain divided on a subject filled with death and destruction of a civilization.
Perspective is a good virtue to have in situations like this. Triple J showed it.