This year's controversial Australia Day citizenship ceremony has been laid to rest after councillors agreed future events would return to the traditional January 26 date.
The unanimous decision was made after MidCoast Council mayor, Claire Pontin apologised for the date change without consulting councillors, and a notice of motion put forward by Jeremy Miller asking for clarification for future ceremonies.
Speaking at the February ordinary meeting last Wednesday, Cr Miller said until 2023 council had always held a citizenship ceremony on Australia Day.
"This continued the long-held tradition followed by the councils before merger."
However, in 2023 a decision was made without input from all councillors to hold the ceremony on another date, he said.
Addressing councillors, Cr Pontin put forward her sincere apologises for not consulting them before making the decision on the ceremony.
"I do work hard to keep political issues off the agenda and my decision on the matter was not consistent with that stance," she said.
"Clearly there are mixed views around the council table and it was not a decision for me to take alone so I am apologising and I recognise the difficult position I put on councillors."
Troy Fowler said he believed the matter could have been dealt with 'better'.
"I think there was an opportunity for us as an elected body to sit down and talk about this before bringing the beliefs of the state and federal into council," he said.
Cr Fowler said he was concerned state and federal government issues had been creeping into council discussions during the last couple of years.
"We need to get on with the job at hand which is our community," he said.
"I would also like to say that I have worked with the mayor for seven years and I do find this out of character.
I would also like to say that I have worked with the mayor for seven years and I do find this out of character.- Troy Fowler
"As an elected party member, and the mayor being an elected party member from opposite sides I can honestly say over the last seven years the mayor and I have taken our hats off when coming into this meeting and making the decisions for our community."
Deputy mayor, Alan Tickle applauded the mayor's admission.
"Not everyone would show that integrity, admit a mistake and admit in hindsight they may have gone in a different direction, owned up to that and on top of that apologised."
However, Peter Epov demanded a public apology.
"Several days ago I wrote to the mayor advising her to make a public apology to the community," Cr Epov said.
"She did not respond to that email," he said.
"I am disappointed that she didn't take the opportunity to apologise to the general public today."
David West supported the mayor's method of apology.
"You made a public apology to the people of the MidCoast Council," Cr West said.
"You owned up to the mistake before Cr Epov sent you an email.
"Just to think he has commanded that you apologise as a result of what he says is irrelevant."
Dheera Smith, who became an Australia citizen in the early 1990s, described the ceremony as a special day.
"I am one of the only people on this council who has been a naturalised citizen and gone through an Australia Day citizenship ceremony," Cr Smith said.
She said for members of the community who had taken part in the ceremony it was a special moment, and not about politics.
If the government does change the date of Australia Day we will take advice from our newly formed Aboriginal reference group for ways we might celebrate in the future, Cr Smith said.
"I do commended this but I am saying to the people who are intending on getting their citizenship in our LGA that every day is Australia Day if you're getting your citizenship."