Linda Burney has labelled January 26 as "painful" for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
STOPPING short of calling for Australia Day to be moved, Federal Labor frontbencher Linda Burney has labelled January 26 as "painful" for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Wiradjuri woman, who was the State MP for Canterbury before becoming the first Indigenous woman elected to the House of Representatives, believes Australia Day will not be changed in the foreseeable future.
"I don't see the date of Australia Day changing any time soon, and I don't propose changing it," Ms Burney said.
"But I do think that we should use this day as an opportunity to reflect on the pain of the past as well as on how we can improve the lives of First Australians."
The Federal MP for Barton said she was pushing within the Labor party for a new national public holiday recognising Australia's Indigenous peoples.
"I have previously proposed an additional public holiday to acknowledge First Australians, and I stand by that," Ms Burney said.
"There is much for us to celebrate about this great country.
"But you cannot ignore the fact that the date of January 26 is problematic. It marks the usurpation of Aboriginal sovereignty.
"I'm not sure this ought to be the most defining moment in our nation's history."
Meanwhile Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has responded to the debate, saying "a free country debates its history, it does not deny it".
"On Australia Day, we come together and celebrate our nation and all of our history as we look forward to our future together," he said.
"And that's why it's right that our Australia Day ceremonies begin with a Welcome to Country, as we honour our first Australians and conclude with a citizenship ceremony welcoming our newest Australian citizens."