As the debate over Australia's historical monuments continues to rage, Labor leader Bill Shorten has advocating balancing history - by adding additional plaques.
In what Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull labelled a "cowardly criminal act" reminiscent of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, the statues of Captain James Cook and former Governor Lachlan Macquarie were vandalised over the weekend.
Between 2.25am and 3.15am on Saturday, the phrases "change the date" and "no pride in genocide" were spray painted across the Hyde Park monuments, in Sydney.
While not condoning the act, Mr Shorten said Australia needed to address how it has treated its indigenous people since European settlement - and post scripts to its historical monuments was one visible way.
"An additional plaque on Captain Cook's statue is fine by me," he said.
"I am not proud of the way they have been treated since 1770 and we need to close the gap.
"You know, for the people who want to have that argument, they do this country a disservice. Let's own our history, the good and the bad and the ugly.
"Let's own the fact that we are a very lucky country and have done very well but First Australians haven't shared the success that many other Australians have enjoyed."
The vandalism of the statues set a match to an already fiery debate, most recently sparked by indigenous Stan Grant's questioning of the inscription on the statue of Captain Cook that says he "discovered this territory in 1770".
Scientists have dated indigenous history in Australia as going back at least 65,000 years.
In the wake of America's debate on how to deal with its Confederacy history, Mr Grant queried the inscriptions and messages found on Australia's historical statues, while making it clear he did not advocate tearing them down.
Mr Grant criticised the vandalism as counter-productive and damaging.
"People who do that, they actually reflect badly, not just on themselves, but if they actually care about Indigenous people and our cause, they are the ones who damage us," he said.
"It's ridiculous. You know, we should all be able to come to this properly and conduct ourselves legally and respectfully."
"If you look at the history of the Aboriginal struggle in Australia, the history of it, has been peaceful. Indigenous people have conducted themselves with dignity, and peace and honour and have sought a way to be part of this country."
The vandalism comes as the debate surrounding changing the date of Australia Day builds momentum, with the Turnbull government stripping councils of their rights to host citizenship ceremonies, after local representatives voted to stop holding ceremonies on January 26, out of respect for indigenous people.
Assistant Immigration Minister Alex Hawke banned the councils on the grounds they had politicised the ceremonies.
Advocates of changing the date argue it would help heal wounds first made when Cook, then a lieutenant, came across the east coast of Australia in April 1770, and despite witnessing and interacting with indigenous people, declared Australia to be "terra nullius", or no one's land.
That erroneous declaration gave Britain the right, under international law at the time, to claim the land for itself.
January 26 commemorates the date in 1788 Captain Arthur Phillip landed in Sydney Cove with the First Fleet. It wasn't until 1935 that all Australian states and territories agreed to have the date marked as Australia Day, although the holiday was taken on the Monday closest to the date. In 1994, that changed again, with the holiday moved to January 26, no matter which day of the week it falls on.
It's not the first time vandalism has hit monuments commemorating Australia Day and its figures - the National Capital Authority was forced to cover the plaque honouring the 2014 Australian of the Year, indigenous footballer and anti-racism campaigner Adam Goodes, with perspex, after it was vandalised.
Of the nearly 60 plaques on the Australians of the Year Walk along the Lake Burley Griffin foreshore in Canberra, it was the only one that required protecting.
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