House debates

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Statements by Members

Cairns: Captain Cook Statue

1:50 pm

Photo of Warren EntschWarren Entsch (Leichhardt, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise this afternoon to condemn the petition circulating in my community calling for the removal of the Captain James Cook statue on Sheridan Street. This is just another example of a noisy few trying to whitewash and rewrite our history with their change-culture mentality. But, unfortunately, they don't represent the views of the vast majority.

Ironically, these noisy few seem to conveniently forget or simply do not know the history of Cook's 1770 scientific voyage and its lasting impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as well as our nation as a whole. In fact it's widely accepted that the first recorded active reconciliation took place in Cooktown between the Bama people and Cook's Endeavourcrew. Bama man Harold Ludwick explained the significance of this encounter to the National Trust in Queensland. He said:

Cooktown shows a story of [the] humanity of our people, when they met with Captain Cook. They instigated meetings with Captain Cook … and it was that understanding from both cultures that made that ground zero for the birth of Australia.

Cooktown's Bama Aunty Alberta Hornsby added:

We can't change the past, we all have a history. But here in Cooktown we have chosen to show a balance.

I would suggest that there's an opportunity here for those noisy few who are trying to divide us that maybe they should take a leaf out of Aunty Alberta's book.