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Senate supports motion calling on Prime Minister to withdraw his comments on slavery properly apologise and engage in a genuine process of truth telling about Australia’s history 

I am pleased that the Senate has supported the Greens motion acknowledging the true history of Australia which despite what the Prime Minister might say includes slavery, indentured labour and stolen wages. 
 
“The Prime Minister’s comments last week in regards to slavery were outrageous and I don’t believe he has properly apologised or engaged with the heart of the matter. 
 
“Rather than perpetuating false history of this nation, the Australian Government needs to make a concerted effort of truth telling for all Australians, including new Australians.
 
“It is a national shame that the broader community knows so little about First Nations history, culture and how this country was founded. 
 
“It is time we stopped pretending that meaningful change can happen in a system that is grounded in denial.
 
“Change is possible when you tell the truth, when you listen deeply and acknowledge and address the impacts that continue today. 
 
“The more truth is told, the more support for truth grows in this nation.”

 

The motion reads:
 

I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move –
That the Senate – 
a)    Notes that: 
i.    On Thursday June 11th the Prime Minster Scott Morrison said in a radio interview that “there was no slavery in Australia”.
b)    Acknowledges that:
i.    First Nations peoples worked on farms and pastoral stations for rations instead of wages. They were traded amongst settlers, with children being taken from their families and moved across the country to work
ii.    First Nations peoples wages were stolen 
iii.    First Nations peoples had restrictions placed on them such as restrictions on movement and choice for example people had to apply for permission to travel and what they could purchase and where they could live
iv.    First Nations peoples were subject to forced labour
v.    At least 60,000 South Sea islanders were taken to Australia from 1857 to 1908, where they worked largely in cotton, sugar and pastoral industries in a process named blackbirding.
vi.    There are many other examples of such abuse.
c)    calls on the Prime Minister to withdraw these comments, apologise and The Prime Minister’s comments last week in regards to slavery were outrageous and I don’t believe he has properly apologised or engaged with the heart of the matter. 

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Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180

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