VICTORIAN Senator Bridget McKenzie, who has an office in Bendigo’s Hargreaves Mall, has backed a second Australia Day for Indigenous people, but stumbled when attempting to explain why the country celebrates the current Australia Day on January 26.
Senator McKenzie was making one of her regular appearances on Sky News on Tuesday when she was asked about Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s suggestion of making another national day instead of moving Australia Day.
She said she supported keeping the January 26 public holiday, but appeared to mix up what actually happened on January 26, 1788.
“The reality is that is when the course of our nation changed forever, when, you know, Captain Cook stepped ashore,” Senator McKenzie.
“From then on we’ve been an incredibly society, the best multicultural society in the world. In order to continue that trajectory, we need to actually work together.”
Captain James Cook stepped ashore in Botany Bay on April 29, 1770.
In fact, he had been dead almost nine years before Sir Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet arrived at Sydney Cove on January 26, 1788, after landing further up the coast several days earlier. The Colony of New South Wales was established two weeks later.
Senator McKenzie said “not all Indigenous Australians” were opposed to Australia Day on January 26 and described opponents as a “certain section of that community”.
“We are our best selves when we work together and beating ourselves up about our past won’t actually take us forward to be all that we can be in the 21st century and beyond,” she said.
Senator McKenzie was contacted for comment.
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