A list of public holidays in South Australia.
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Key Points
  • The amendment to the Public Holidays Bill 2023 in South Australia has copped criticism.
  • The Malinauskas government argues the changes are good for workers.
  • South Australians have gained a public holiday, effective from the start of next year.
The South Australian government has been labelled “un-Australian” for removing the names of national holidays such as Anzac Day and Christmas Day from its Public Holidays Bill 2023.
The update to the Holidays Act 1910, which passed on Wednesday, replaces these traditional holiday names with their dates, such as 25 April for Anzac Day.
The says the bill guarantees all holidays will be honoured.
It said the decision to outside Easter days which change yearly, was made to protect the penalty rates of workers.

So why is the change causing a stir?

SA government accused of ‘insulting veterans’

Opposition finance spokeswoman Heidi Girolamo labelled it a “suspicious” power move aimed at and offensive to Anzac Day.

“South Australians would be right in thinking that (Premier) Peter Malinauskas only needs that type of power if he has plans to possibly change January 26 as Australia Day,” she said.

“It’s also disrespectful to veterans who served and protected our country that Anzac Day is now defined as only April 25.”
A Sky News opinion column by former Liberal MP Nicolle Flint on Thursday also said referring to Anzac Day by the date was an “insult to our veterans”.

She said it was “un-Australian” and an attempt by Labor to “erase one of our most nationally significant days of commemoration”.

A list of public holidays in South Australia.

The public holiday dates as they appear in the passed Public Holidays Bill 2023.

South Australia’s Industrial Relations and Public Sector Minister Kyam Maher clarified that no major public holiday will change as they are legislated.

“It is enshrined in law. The Anzac Day Commemoration Act 2005 sets out that: “ANZAC Day means 25 April in any year,” he told SBS News.
“This is a desperate and deliberate beat up by the Liberal Party intent on playing politics with a national day of solemn remembrance.
“The amendment to the Holidays Act does not change the date of Australia Day, Christmas Day, Anzac Day, New Year’s Day or any other public holiday. In fact, it guarantees the dates of all of them, and ensures workers will receive penalty rates on all public holidays.”
SA RSL president Dave Petersen urged residents to “put down their flaming torches” on Facebook as he reiterated RSLs across the state are committed to commemorating Anzac Day.
“I remind members of the public and the wider community that Anzac Day will never change, never has, never will,” he told SBS News.

“We continue to commemorate April 25 and we encourage you to participate.”

So what public holidays can South Australians expect in 2024?

The introduction of Easter Sunday as a public holiday will mean the number of full-day public holidays in South Australia increases from 11 to 12 from 1 January 2024.

Despite the addition, residents still get one fewer public holiday than their Victorian, ACT or NT neighbours.

The recognition of Christmas Day as a public holiday, regardless of whether it falls on a weekend or not, will bring the state in line with the rest of Australia.

Maher said this closed a “loophole” for penalty rates, which saw workers not receive additional pay for working Christmas Day in 2021 under the former Liberal government.

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