South Australia Premier Peter Malinauskas has pledged to amend his government’s Public Holiday Act 2023 to include Christmas Day, Anzac Day and Australia Day. They were omitted from the legislation which only included the calendar dates of those major public holidays, while specifically mentioning all the Easter public holidays from Good Friday to Easter Monday.
The state opposition attempted to reinstate the titles of the public holidays, but Labor MPs rejected their amendment. That upset RSL members and sparked a statewide outcry with critics claiming it was “un-Australian.” They said only Easter’s dependence on the lunar cycle saved it from also being abolished by the state.
South Australian Alex Antic observed that Labor explicitly rejected the amendment put forward by the opposition that would have seen the public holiday titles retained in the Act. “When the state Libs led by Nicola Centofanti and Heidi Girolamo MLC tried to put those names back in by way of amendments, they [Labor] said: Don’t be silly, we’re not doing that. You have to ask yourself the question: Why would they not allow those names to go back in?” Senator Antic told Sky News.
In an opinion column for Sky News, former federal Liberal MP Nicolle Flint noted that even the “most left-wing state Labor administrations in Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia haven’t gone as far as the ALP in the Festival State. You really have to wonder if South Australia is trying to outdo their interstate Labor mates in the battle to see who can destroy western civilisation most quickly,” she wrote.
The Act takes effect in the New Year after changes were made to the penalty entitlements of workers. The Premier insisted the government would restore the full titles of the public holidays when parliament resumes. Mr. Malinauskas told The Advertiser the government’s objective with the new bill was to fix issues with an act more than 100 years old and not to remove the titles of holidays.