AUSTRALIA Day celebrations in Wodonga have been labelled cringeworthy with councillor Danny Lowe criticised for his clothing and presentation.
Wodonga real estate agent Des Lonergan took aim at the council's January 26 citizenship ceremony at Les Stone Park in comments from the floor at a meeting of the city's Ratepayers Association.
"I thought there was a degree of cringe and it’s happened before, where I think some of the councillors go along there and are obviously practising their would-be comedy routines and I think they go flat," Mr Lonergan said.
“Cr Lowe sought to make light of some of the people who were being welcomed to Australia and made citizens of Australia.
“I know the names were difficult but I think to foreshadow that you’re going to bugger it up; I thought was in pretty poor taste.
“I thought his outfit lacked a little bit of dignity and respect.
“Now that may be the fact that I’m getting on in years, but surely (he could have had) a decent outfit rather than a bloody hat you might see on the paddy fields of Vietnam and a coloured shirt and a pair of shorts.
“To me that’s not council stuff or local government stuff.”
Cr Lowe suggested he and Mr Lonergan were "in two different eras".
"Des is a very well respected man and I respect Des very much, but fashion is an individual statement," Cr Lowe said.
"What is poor fashion in some people's eyes is good fashion in other people's eyes."
Cr Lowe said he apologised to new citizens in advance if he mispronounced their names and he had rehearsed them.
"I got thanked by a lot of people on the day, they thought I spoke very well and they liked the light-heartedness of the day," he said.
"There's obviously a lot of prestige about the day but they're (council) are trying to keep the day casual as far as attire goes.
"We'll take all the comments on board and we'll have a review of Australia Day and how it went down and we'll look for things we can improve on."
His relaxed clobber contrasted with the mayors of Albury and Wangaratta who wore shirts and ties.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison last month called for thongs and boardshorts to be banned from Australia Day citizenship ceremonies.