'Changing Captain Cook statue could lead to riots': Sunrise debates calls to 'end historical lies'

Calls to change inscriptions on key Australian statues, including the Captain Cook monument in Sydney's Hyde, have sparked a heated debate with suggestions such a move would leave to riots.

 

Indigenous broadcaster Stan Grant is calling for inaccuracies in Australia’s history to end, starting with an inscription on a Captain Cook statue in Sydney's Hyde Park that reads: "Discovered this territory in 1770.”

Mr Grant told The Australian, “Americans are tearing down the monuments to hate, but we remain oblivious to ours”.

“Captain Cook is part of our story but he didn’t discover Australia. That has been a very damaging lie for Aboriginal people,” he said.

Indigenous broadcaster Stan Grant wants the inscription changed on the Captain Cook statue in Sydney's Hyde Park. Source: Sunrise

Sunrise co-host Samantha Armytage said tensions, which had been “boiling for a while” in the US started because of the decision to remove confederate statues from Charlottesville.

Talking Lifestyle Radio Network’s Tim Webster was concerned with what children were being taught in school about Australia’s history.

“We could have been Portuguese. The French were here with Philip at that time,” he said.

“We could have been French, we could have been anything. It just so happens that Captain Cook went back to England and said, what a great place for a colony.”

The Sunrise panel agreed telling 'both stories' was the best way to go. Source: Sunrise

Mr Webster suggested telling “both stories” instead of “rewriting history”.

The suggestion follows Darebin and Yarra council's decision to scrap Australia Day.

Commentator Cath Webber agreed with “having an acknowledgement of both” but said Mr Grant raised some good points.

Ms Armytage cautioned changing statues could lead to riots similar to the ones in Charlottesville. Source: Sunrise

“I think in Stan Grant's article he says that there is a fair bit of apathy in Australia which is why he has raised this,” she said.

“At the same time, the problem with history is that horrible things happen. Rewriting it, it comes a bit like a Wikipedia page.

“It’s a definitional debate to me over the word ‘discover’.”

For more 'Hot Topic' discussions, tune in to Sunrise from 5am on weekdays.

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