Subjects: Vandalism attacks on Captain Cook statue/ Burke and Wills memorial; Australia Day
I mentioned a couple of times, we had this email this morning about a vandal attack on the Captain Cook statue down at St Kilda, painted pink.
And then we got the tip, 'no pride' painted across it, somebody told me 'genocide' as well, but I have not actually confirmed that.
David called soon after; he had seen the vandal attack on the Burke and Wills memorial down near the zoo, the word 'stolen' on that.
Photographs of both on the 3AW website 3aw.com.au.
The Federal Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs has called in. Not happy. Alan Tudge, good morning.
Good morning, Neil.
Not pleased. What do you reckon?
No, I think it is a disgrace, to be honest, Neil. These people are trashing our national heritage by doing what they are doing, and they are achieving nothing in the process.
If anything, they are just going to breed resentment against them by destroying pieces of our history.
You cannot rewrite our history, and we are leading up to Australia Day tomorrow and it is a day where it should be a day where we come together, unite behind who we are as Australians and celebrate everything that is great about this country.
But we are not coming together, are we? The division is greater this year than I can remember any other year.
I am disappointed about particularly the Greens, who kicked off this campaign to change the date, and through their process they have created divisions in our society.
And I think that if you start a campaign like this, it leads to criminals like we have seen today, who start to deface statues in our communities.
I want Australia Day to be a great unifying day for our country. It has been for many decades now, and this is, I believe, the greatest country in the world, where we have so much to celebrate.
We can celebrate our Indigenous heritage, we celebrate our British foundations, and of course, we celebrate our modern multicultural character and all the things which go with that.
I think most Australians agree and most Australians will be singing from the rooftops everything that is great about this country tomorrow.
You reckon the Greens have created an environment where this sort of thing happens?
I certainly think that their campaign, and it has been implicitly supported by some members of the Labor Party as well, has created a more divisive environment this time around, when of course people can have their views on any aspect of Australia, and they can criticise parts of Australia. That is part of who we are, being a robust democracy.
But on Australia Day of all days, it is actually the day where we come together and we celebrate and talk about our values and talk about our history and really come together and celebrate who we are.
I was talking to our acting Lord Mayor earlier, and they, certainly, at Melbourne City Council, were supportive of Australia Day.
He said something being discussed around the traps was the idea of having some sort of early morning ceremony, not dawn, but a morning ceremony for Aboriginal people to go and make a point about our history, about what has happened, and then going from that to join an Australia Day march to try and bring people together.
Do you reckon that's worth exploring?
At every single formal ceremony, Neil, tomorrow there will be a recognition and a celebration of our Indigenous heritage.
That is a part of every single formal ceremony; albeit a number of citizenship ceremonies tomorrow conferring citizenship onto hundreds of new Australians, and there will be an acknowledgment of country, the flag with the Indigenous flag will undoubtedly fly.
It is a key part of Australia Day already, and as it should be, because it is in part what makes us unique is the fact that we do have an Indigenous heritage and that culture is the oldest continuous culture in the world.
What do you think about Matthew Guy's promise to sack councils that attempt to ban Australia Day?
I think it is a reasonable proposition and it is consistent with what we have been saying federally, because we want local councils to conduct citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day, because it is the most popular day of the year for migrants to become citizens.
Tomorrow, about 13,000 people will become a citizen of this country; I will be at the Melbourne City Council officiating there tomorrow.
And if they do not want to conduct those citizenship ceremonies, for whatever ideological reason, then we want someone else to conduct it so that new migrants can become citizens on Australia Day.
Thank you for your time, Alan Tudge, the Federal Minister for Citizenship.
Of course, these vandal attacks, if they were caught, they could be charged with vandalism. Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, Alan Tudge.