Wednesday, 6 September 2017
Monument to Captain James Cook
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(ii) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples had lived in Australia for at least 65,000 years before the arrival of Captain Cook; and
(b) supports discussions with Aboriginal communities to seek their advice regarding whether the monument should be corrected to better reflect Captain Cook's role in Australia's history.
The coalition government acknowledges the history and contribution of Indigenous Australians to our nation. Monuments like the statue of Captain James Cook are also part of our history, and we should respect and preserve them. The coalition government is proud of our nation's rich history. We will not support motions that attempt to rewrite this history. We won't change the flag, nor will we shift Australia Day and nor will we be tearing down statues.
I would like to indicate that Labor will support this motion today; however, we would like to note that we do have concerns with the prescriptive language that is contained in part (b) of this motion as it stands. We would like to put on the record that Labor value truth-telling in the reconciliation process, but we also acknowledge that words alone will not close the gap, end Indigenous disadvantage or bring about a more prosperous future for Indigenous Australians. The best use of our time and energy is focusing on the future and on a better deal for jobs, housing, health and justice for the First Australians, not on statues.