During colonization, the native population declined dramatically through slavery and frontier wars.
By Aaron Sull, World Israel News
The targeting of historical statues and place names in the wake of the George Floyd shooting has become a global phenomenon.
On Wednesday, Australian MP Lidia Thorpe suggested the territories of Victoria and Queensland be renamed because of their links to British colonialism.
“Given we’re all talking about the colonial past and how everything’s named as a result of the invasion of this country, why wouldn’t we negotiate?” Thorpe told news.com.au.
“It may be that it stays the same. But why wouldn’t we put that on the table? Maybe we need to be making decisions, changing place names, state names, and anything else that causes harm.”
In 1851, Queen Victoria was honored by having a territory named after her, and similarly in 1859 Queensland was named in her honor after she gave the territory permission to separate itself from New South Wales.
The colonization of Australia began 18 years after British naval captain James Cook discovered the continent and claimed it for the monarchy in 1770. During colonization, the native population declined dramatically through slavery and frontier wars. Bounties were offered for dead aborigines.
Meanwhile, statues of Cook and other historical figures with alleged links to slavery are being defaced and toppled throughout the country, such as of John Batman, a bounty hunter in the 1820s who led massacres against aboriginals.
However, Prime Minister Scott Morrison defended Cook’s legacy by saying he had no links to slavery.
“When you’re talking about someone like Captain James Cook, in his time he was one of the most enlightened persons on these issues,” Morrison told Sydney’s 2GB radio station on Thursday.
“Australia when it was founded as a settlement, as New South Wales, was on the basis that there be no slavery. While slave ships continued to travel around the world when Australia was established, yes sure, it was a pretty brutal settlement… but there was no slavery in Australia,” he said.