Black Lives Matter protests have led to a push to remove or alter monuments of Australia’s Colonia figures, following the removal of statues of slave traders overseas.
More than 70 statues across the UK are under threat from the ‘Topple The Racists’s campaign, with the debate now underway across Victoria as to how the memorials for Captain James Cook, Angus McMillan and John Batman should be handled.
Lidia Thorpe, Victoria’s first female Aboriginal MP, said it was time to reopen the public discussion.
“I don’t want to go around smashing statues down, I don’t think that’s the answer,” she said. “We need to see it as an opportunity to reconcile our past and grow as a nation by telling the whole truth.“Angus McMillan is celebrated and is seen to be a hero.
“What isn’t being told is he’s also been responsible for the mass murder of Gunnai people. As a Gunnai woman that’s hurtful.”
A St Kilda memorial to Cook and another that honors Burke And Wills were defaced in 2018.
Roads Minister Jaala Pulford, speaking on behalf of the state government said ‘It’s being mindful that there might be some monuments that are offensive to some members of the community.’’
“Those are serious questions that require very thoughtful consideration.”