Watch Ziggy Ramo, Emma Donovan and Troy Cassar-Daley perform for NITV’s Sunrise Ceremony

"Australia Day to me is a symptom of a root issue, that occupancy was acknowledged but ownership wasn't," said Ramo

Ziggy Ramo, Emma Donovan and Troy Cassar-Daley performed as part of NITV’s annual Sunrise Ceremony earlier today, taking place on Yugambeh country on the Gold Coast.

The two-hour, First Nations-led special featured a range of panel discussions between Indigenous, non-Indigenous and multicultural voices, reflecting on Australia’s “past, present and future” to mark January 26 – the date commonly known as Australia Day, but also referred to as Survival Day or Invasion Day.

In addition to performing his 2021 single ‘Little Things’ – which interpolates Paul Kelly and Kev Carmody‘s 1991 collaboration ‘From Little Things, Big Things Grow’ – Ramo spoke as a panellist about the date and self-determination.


“Australia Day to me is a symptom of a root issue, that occupancy was acknowledged but ownership wasn’t. And when that happened, it removed our humanity,” the Wik and Solomon Islander songwriter said.

“I want self determination and ownership moving forward, and I also think that needs to happen with the wider Australia. Ownership of the truth. We know it and it’s time to own it.”

Watch Ramo perform ‘Little Things’ below:

In a caption alongside the video, Ramo wrote that while changing the date of so-called “Australia Day” is a symbolic action, he hopes it would “demonstrate that we as humans have come to an understanding” that we must confront the country’s “colonial truth”.

“We must reinstate human rights to all peoples of this country. That starts by recognising Original People’s right to ownership, not occupancy. Sovereignty was never ceded. This system doesn’t serve, it was designed to oppress,” he continued.


“It is not broken, it is working how it was intended. To deny this is wilful ignorance. Sending all my love and energy to all Original Peoples. Always was, always will be.”

During the event, Bundjalung musician Cassar-Daley also performed ‘Shadows On The Hill’. Donovan, a Gumbaynggirr and Yamatji singer-songwriter, performed the late Aunty Ruby Hunter‘s ‘Yarian Mi Tji’.

Cassar-Daley and Donovan closed out the event with a rendition of Goanna‘s 1982 song ‘Solid Rock’. You can watch all those performances, along with the panel discussions via SBS On Demand.

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