(CNN)The day before Australia celebrated its national day Friday, a statue of British explorer James Cook in Melbourne was vandalized, covered with pink paint and the words "No pride."
The arguments for and against Australia Day on January 26
Cook is often credited as the first European to discover Australia.
Every year Australia Day, held on January 26, is the focus of huge controversy and debate.
While many Australians see it as a chance to celebrate the country's lifestyle, culture and achievements, typically through barbeques and public events, the date is not a happy one for Australia's Indigenous people.
On the 26th of January 1788, Governor Arthur Phillip raised the British flag at Sydney Cove, beginning the long destruction of Indigenous people and their culture. In recent years there has been a call by left-wing groups to move the date to a less controversial day.
But the conservative Liberal National Coalition government has criticized any suggestion of a potential change of date, including Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
Polling has given conflicting results on how Australians actually feel about Australia Day.
A poll commissioned by progressive think tank Australia Institute found 56% didn't care when the national day was held, while a separate poll from conservative group the Institute of Public Affairs resulted in 70% support for keeping Australia Day on January 26.
Is it time for Australia to move its national day of celebration? Two prominent Australians weigh in on the debate.
'It's time to change the date'
Increased momentum around changing the date of Australia Day reflects a growing sense that January 26 is symbolic of the Australia we used to be, not the Australia we hope to become.
Recent moves to promote changing the date of our national day are informed by the fact that many Australians - both Indigenous and non-Indigenous - feel they cannot celebrate on January 26, because that date marks the commencement of a long history of dispossession and trauma for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
We've changed the date before -- in fact, January 26 has only been a national public holiday since 1994 -- and must do so again if we want to achieve a national day that uni