Australia Day should be on the last Friday in January to boost productivity and address the “invasion day” debate, former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer says.
Mr Fischer proposes a floating Australia Day instead of the fixed January 26 date, which marks the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788.
“It is tied to the date of the arrival way back then. It’s time we had a look at it,” Mr Fischer told AAP on Saturday.
He said changing the date would help address the concerns of people he said were fixated on “invasion day” – which many mark as the date English oppression of Aboriginal Australians began.
He also said moving the date would help businesses, which could then plan on a long weekend every January.
“This would boost productivity by reducing the number of sickies which inevitably occur when Australia Day is on a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday,” Mr Fischer said.
Under his plan, Australia Day in 2017 would fall on January 27.
Mr Fischer raised the idea of changing Australia Day in a speech at the Tamar Valley Writers Festival in Launceston and said his comments caused a stir among the crowd.
He said the proposed change should be debated at a Council of Australian Governments meeting.
The former ambassador to the Vatican also said Easter should be fixed each year.