Australian PM rebuffs Aborigine call for new national holiday

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SYDNEY (AFP) — Australia’s prime minister Monday rejected calls from an indigenous rights activist, awarded the country’s top honour, for the national holiday to be moved out of respect for his people.

Mick Dodson, on Sunday named the 2009 Australian of the Year, said he almost decided not to accept the award because he felt the national day — celebrated annually on January 26 to mark the arrival of white settlers in 1788 — was seen by many Aborigines as “the day on which our world came crashing down.”

But Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, who last year made a historic apology to indigenous Australians for the injustices committed by white settlers, refused to entertain the notion


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