It’s not even midday on January 26 and Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already compared the struggles and literal genocide of First Nations people to the story of the convicts.
Rather than taking some time out of his busy day (which I can only assume includes watching the Cronulla Sharks and maybe fucking off to Hawaii) to talk to or support Indigenous Australians on such a traumatic day, Morrison sat down with 2GB radio to brush it all under the rug.
“One of the greatest overcomes of all of our peoples in this country have been our First Nations peoples,” he told 2GB Radio on Tuesday. (NOTE: First Nations people are not OUR First Nations people, they are not owned).
“They have had to overcome dispossession and they’ve had to overcome colonisation. They are a thriving, surviving community, the world’s oldest living culture.”
First Nations people have had to show incredible resilience and healing to deal with the ongoing traumas of colonisation and dispossession, but his comments don’t paint the full picture. This response makes it sound like Indigenous Australians are living a totally fair and equal life in 2021, which is simply not the truth.
White people in Australia (myself included) are still benefiting from the effects of colonisation to this day, and things will never improve as long as the leader of our nation continues to brush it under the rug.
As of 2020, Indigenous Australians were 17.3x more likely to be arrested than non-Indigenous people, and are still disproportionately more likely to die in police custody. So it’s more than a little insensitive to assert that they have simply “overcome” all of the hardships and racism we’ve dished out.
It’s all well and good to acknowledge the strength and resilience shown by Indigenous Australians, but it feels really shit to congratulate somebody for overcoming hurdles while continuing to place more in front of them.
But in addition to straight-up ignoring all of the very real problems First Nations people in this country face to this day, often with lethal consequences, Morrison has *again* compared their struggle to the convicts.
Last week, Morrison came under fire for asserting that January 26 “wasn’t particularly flash” for the convicts either. But if you thought he *maybe* regretted saying something so utterly ridiculous, think again because he doubled down on it today.
“I think this story of overcoming is one of if not the greatest Australian story, and it’s one that we can all combine together and acknowledge,” he said, again acting like First Nations people aren’t still facing racism and hardship as a result of the colonisation that white people continually benefit from.
“But whether it’s First Nations people, the convicts or the settlers that came, or the many who have since come and made us the most successful immigration country in the world today, all of these stories are important.”
Scott Morrison really did just “all lives matter” the colonisation conversation.
At this point, the leader of our country is blatantly brushing the truth under the rug. He’s not only choosing to ignore the genocide that was committed on our shores, but is also undermining the very real and sometimes lethal racism First Nations people deal with to this day.