Thursday, 14 February 2019
Cook, Captain James
That the Senate—
(i) was commissioned in 1768 as Commander of the Endeavour for the first of three globe spanning Pacific voyages,
(ii) of particular note, and on his first voyage, observed the 1769 transit of Venus across the Sun, sailed to and mapped the coastline of New Zealand, and on 19 April 1770 reached the south eastern coast of what was to be later known as Australia – the first recorded encounter of a European on the eastern Australian coastline,
(iii) proceeded to map the eastern coastline of Australia, which was vital for the expeditions that followed, and
(iv) was renowned for his superior seamanship, his navigation and cartography skills, his modesty, and for the loyalty he elicited from his crew;
(c) further notes that, in an era of great explorers and navigators, Captain Cook was first amongst equals; and
(d) commemorates on this day, the 240th anniversary of Captain James Cook's death, the life of Captain Cook, the significant legacy of scientific and geographical knowledge that he left following his passing, and the significant role he played laying the groundwork for the establishment of our great nation.
While this motion outlines some of the work and some of the life of Captain James Cook, it doesn't outline other areas of his activities and, in particular, those activities that caused distress and continue to cause distress to a number of people. For that reason we cannot support a motion that includes the line 'the significant role he played laying the groundwork for the establishment of our great nation', because that is contested by a large number of particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Question agreed to.