Nationals Senator Reckons Jan 26 Was When Captain Cook Landed (It Wasn’t)

So it seems that Canberra has spun the oft-used wheel of obfuscating media topics and once again it’s landed on “Australia Day.” Ever since Byron Shire Council announced it would be moving its official Australia Day observances away from January 26th in order to use the day for solemn reflection of the suffering inflicted upon First Nations people by white settlers, conservative politicians have been doing their absolute block over this supposedly ancient and sacred day that has only been universally observed since 1994.

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Byron Shire announced the plans to move Australia Day ceremonies to January 25, leaving the 26th free to mark “the day the cultural decimation and denigration of the First Australians began.” In response, the Morrison Government swiftly ripped away the council’s right to hold official citizenship ceremonies and began its usual front-foot response of suggesting Indigenous Australians should more or less pipe down about the whole thing.

But of all the wild justification for keeping heads firmly implanted in sand, Nationals deputy leader Senator Bridget McKenzie has just about the most genius one of all, suggesting that January 26th is observed as such because it was the day Captain James Cook first stepped foot on Australian soil.

Before you all go rushing for your history books, let us save you the trouble:

It was not.

The reality is that is when the course of our nation changed forever. When Captain Cook stepped ashore. And from then on we’ve built an incredibly successful society, the best multicultural society in the world.

I mean, by the time the First Fleet arrived on January 26 1788 Cook had only been dead for a casual 9 years, but if there’s one thing we’ve learned about the Coalition’s modern-day operations it’s that you should never let a pesky thing like “the actual truth” get in the way of using fear as bait to fish for votes.