It’s the day we all like to kick back, sink a few beers and listen to Triple J’s Hottest 100 – Australia Day.
Like the essence of Christmas, the true meaning of Australia Day has been concealed in a celebratory facade in light of something which is truly horrific.
Try explaining a culture war over the date of the Hottest 100 to someone from outside the country when 1. it hasn't always been on Australia Day and 2. Australia Day hasn't always been on Australia Day either.
— Bernard Keane (@BernardKeane) November 27, 2017
This socialistic problem is a culture war which has millions baffled and confused. It prompted a public vote to decide whether the date of the Hottest 100 should be moved.
After 65,000 people voted in the nationwide survey, results showed 60% voted in favour of changing the date, while 29% said they did not support the change. A second poll of more than 700 18-to-30-year-olds validated the results – 55% said the Hottest 100 should move. It would be right to say younger generations are quite nonchalant about the appropriateness of holding the countdown on a day that marks the beginning of British invasion and colonisation.
Program director Ollie Wards noted 25% of the younger survey respondents didn’t care either way, another testament to the bigger issue of Aboriginal rights and history which is always so swiftly swept under the rug in these debates. ‘A great time in Australian History’ not only resonates with great oppression but also violence and horrific circumstances which should not be relieved. For so many, Australia Day is a day to mourn those lost during colonisation, and right now, celebrating this day appears to be extremely disrespectful.
The decision to change the date was supported by both sides on social media, with more backing the decision then opposing it.
“We all agreed that the Hottest 100 shouldn’t be part of a debate about the day it’s on,” a statement from Triple J said. “The only debate should be about the songs.”
So great @triplej is moving #Hottest100!Wish it was done earlier – Aboriginal artists and listeners have been pushing the move for YEARS! Will fall on Jan 26 2018 so they'll have to be proactive in rebrand. Ultimately #AustraliaDay needs to be moved entirely! #ChangeTheDate
— Nakkiah Lui (@nakkiahlui) November 27, 2017
Thanks to @triplej for standing in solidarity with those of us who want a better date to listen to the Hottest 100! Let’s hope this creates more momentum for big and meaningful change in the future 💪🏽 #TripleJ #Hottest100 #change #AustraliaDay
— Emma Pegrum (@emma_pegrum) November 27, 2017
“It does go for eight hours, so hopefully you can get amongst it,” he said. “To those who said this was political correctness gone mad, we are trying to do this to stop the Hottest 100 being a part of a political discussion and political debate.”
Triple J’s survey followed a period of consultation with Indigenous and non-Indigenous musicians, groups and other community leaders and representative bodies about Australia Day and the implications of holding the music countdown on that date.
The station said as a public broadcaster it did not take a view in the debate, but the Hottest 100 had increasingly become a symbol of Australia Day, despite having no official connection.
“The Hottest 100 wasn’t created as an Australia Day celebration. It was created to celebrate your favourite songs of the past year. It should be an event that everyone can enjoy together – for both the musicians whose songs make it in and for everyone listening in Australia and around the world,” the statement said.
The decision was also met with some criticism and backlash.
— RN Breakfast (@RNBreakfast) November 27, 2017
Federal Communications Minister Mitch Fifield was taken back by the decision to move the Hottest 100, criticising the ABC for “buying into this debate.”
“Australia Day is our national day. The ABC should honour it and not mess with the Hottest 100,” he said.
In its statement, Triple J said the Hottest 100 was not connected to Australia Day, and moving it would free the station up to “to celebrate Australia Day as its own event too”.
It honestly should not matter what day this countdown falls on, Triple J is correct in saying that it is a celebration of music, not of British colonisation. The Hottest 100 pre-2005 wasn’t even on Australia day. We should be meeting this day with transparency instead of disguising it with celebration, alcohol and (most importantly) music.