Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 08 Hansard (Wednesday, 21 September 2022) . . Page.. 2680 ..
should be commemorated. Those historical figures who rose to prominence for their work in the colonisation of this land need not be further commemorated and acclaimed. The place in Australian history of colonisers is fixed. But the decision on who we wish to commemorate must be an expression of our values today.
Currently, when the minister is determining the name of a public place or geographical feature, the minister must have regard to certain matters, among which include the names of persons famous in Australian exploration, navigation, pioneering, colonisation, administration, politics, education, science or letters.
I believe that replacing the word “colonisation” with “reconciliation” is a small change but an important and meaningful one. This change will allow the minister to consider a broader range of esteemed Australians when determining a public place name. It will place prominence on selecting for public commemoration those who have been pivotal to the ongoing process of reconciliation. Again, I thank Dr Paterson for bringing this to the attention of the Assembly. I commend this bill to the Assembly and encourage all members to support it.
MS LAWDER (Brindabella) (4.14): I rise today to speak in support of this amendment bill. The bill updates the Public Place Names Act 1989 to replace the word “colonisation” with “reconciliation”. Under the Public Place Names Act 1999 the minister may determine the name of a public place that is territory land. In making such a determination, the minister must have regard to certain matters, among which include, at section 4(2)(a), the names of persons famous in Australian exploration, navigation, pioneering, colonisation, administration, politics, education, science or letters.
Replacing the term “colonisation” with “reconciliation” is a small, simple change yet one that will have a meaningful impact for our community. It does not disadvantage anyone or put any particular group above another, but this simple and important change in language better reflects the Canberra community’s attitudes. This change will allow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to see more members of their community recognised in the street names and public place names of the ACT. The Canberra Liberals are pleased to support this amendment bill today, and I thank Dr Paterson for bringing it to this Assembly.
MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Families and Community Services and Minister for Health) (4.16): I am pleased to speak today in support of Dr Paterson’s bill. I commend her on her work to bring it to this place and on her engagement with the Elected Body in the process.
Dr Paterson’s bill represents a simple change to the Public Place Names Act—omit “colonisation”; substitute “reconciliation”. This one-word amendment goes to the heart of an issue which is being grappled with across the post-colonial world, often referred to colourfully by the media as the statue laws or monument laws.
There are complex questions that underpin the monument laws. How do we appropriately record our shared history in the public realm? How do we adapt our national identity to confront the dispossession, injustice and racism interwoven