Thomas Keneally

Australia's leading Irish figure, the author of "Schindler's List," Thomas Keneally, is feuding with his niece, the  Premier of New South Wales Kristina Keneally, about removing the Union Jack from the Australian flag — and when Australia Day is celebrated.

Kristina Keneally is quite willing to keep the Union Jack on the flag. Thomas Kenneally, who led the fight to have Australia become a republic, says it should be removed.

Now they are feuding over Australia Day, which is today, Jan. 26, which celebrates the arrival of the British in Sydney harbor in 1788.

She believes the day marking the First Fleet's arrival at Sydney Cove is an integral part of the nation's identity.

"Australia Day is part and parcel of our nation's identity ... it's part of our national celebration, and I'm pretty sure that the community is very comfortable having Australia Day in January," U.S.-born Kristina Keneally said.

Thomas Keneally told reporters it was "worth debating" whether to move Australia Day to another date.

"On Australia Day, I believe most reasonable Australians now admit that the descent of European people upon Australia brought bewilderment and pain for the Eora people of the Sydney basin," the author told an Australia Day function on Sunday.

Many aboriginals mark Jan. 26 as "invasion day" or "colonization day."

Kristina Keneally said she wanted to keep Australia's flag and anthem, which both pay tribute to the British.

"Whilst I'm a republican and do believe that Australia should ultimately become a republic, I don't believe there is a call from within the community to change the flag today."