Page 2679 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 21 September 2022
If this Assembly does see fit to pass this bill, as I am confident it will, we can move further in a small way not just in removing “colonisation” from the Public Place Names Act but in changing how we reflect on it overall, reflecting on the fact that it has been a very painful process for the First Nations people, and understanding the true history of our nation.
In that sense, I notice that this week there is to be a new show debuting on SBS tonight that explores the frontier wars in Australia. I think the program is called Australia’s longest war. From the advertisements I have seen, it looks like a very interesting series. It explores how the process of colonisation took place in Australia and the significant dispossession and the loss of life, those sorts of matters. It is certainly one I will be having a look at.
It is very interesting that when I was taught history as a young student these issues were never discussed. We learned about all sorts of European history and various other history, but we were not taught a lot of history about Indigenous Australia, or how the process of British arrival in Australia rolled out over time, beyond things like the Eureka stockade. So this is all part of our ongoing journey towards true reconciliation in this country, but also developing a deeper understanding of the history of this place.
We need to celebrate, as is proposed in this bill, those who have played a part in reconciliation. This is a much better word to suggest in prioritising the naming of places after the people who have done a lot to build connection between the many cultures that now call Australia home, those who have made an effort to recognise and understand the full history of this country, not just selected versions of it.
These are challenging debates, but what is really healthy in the way that we are moving forward is that we are starting to explore other elements of Australia’s history and developing a broader understanding of what that is and what it means for us, as a country, going forward. The Greens are very pleased to support Dr Paterson’s bill today. We think that this is an important development in how we name and commemorate things in Canberra’s place names. Thank you very much.
MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (4.12): Thank you to Dr Paterson for bringing this important bill before the Assembly. The Indigenous people of Australia, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, were dispossessed of their land by a colonising power. This is the undeniable history of these ancient lands and our young nation. It is important to acknowledge that this dispossession was violent and that the effects of this dispossession resonate throughout our society to this day.
If you walk through the towns and cities of Australia, Canberra included, it is impossible to miss the many streets, statues and other public works that are named in commemoration of those who colonised these lands. Rightly, for many First Nations peoples these figures and their commemoration evoke painful responses.
In my opinion, the decision before us is a straightforward one: those that have sought to bring Australians together, to provide our nation with a path of reconciliation,