Victorian press conference begins
In Victoria, Covid-19 commander Jeroen Weimar is speaking in Frankston.
He said 35 Covid deaths were recorded on Wednesday, the highest single daily figure in some time.
Today I’m afraid is a significant day. We’ve now reported 35 deaths in the last 24 hours, those have been taken over a number of days in the preceding period but that’s the highest single day number that we’ve reported in the entire pandemic and our thoughts and condolences are with all our families and friends of those 35 Victorians who have passed away with Covid in the last few days. It is again a somber milestone that we should all reflect on.
Weimar did not have further details on the age or vaccination status of those who died.
Victoria recorded 59 fatalities on 4 September, 2020, though the majority of the deaths were from previous months.
Hema Henry has been working as a registered nurse in western NSW for five years and today became an Australian citizen.
“I wanted to experience life in regional Australia. I really love it, I love the quietness and the people are very welcoming, friendly and open,” Henry said.
Henry participated in a cultural smoking ceremony led by Wiradjuri elder Ralph Naden, which is the first time the ceremony has been part of Australia Day celebrations in Gilgandra.
Kylie Louie, a Wiradjuri woman who won a sports achievement award at the ceremony for her contribution to the local Pink Panthers club, said it was her first time ever participating in an Indigenous smoking ceremony.
“It cleansed the mind and I could feel it straight away,” Louie said. “I’ll always remember who I am and where I come from and recognise my culture which I love.”
Support for changing the date of Australia Day growing, survey shows
Australians could be warming to the idea of changing the date of Australia Day to recognise Indigenous peoples, or keeping 26 January but establishing a separate day for that purpose, according to the Guardian Essential poll.
The latest survey of 1,028 voters finds 57% of respondents would either support changing the day or keeping the traditional date with another day to better acknowledge and respect the continuous occupation of First Nations people – which is a four-point shift from attitudes in 2021.
Australia Day is controversial because 26 January marks the day the first fleet arrived in Sydney cove in 1788 – beginning the process of Indigenous dispossession.
As well as evolving community attitudes about the date, the latest Guardian Essential poll suggests a shift in mindset about the current lived reality for Indigenous Australians.
You can read the full report below: