Culture

Australia Was “Unsettled” Before 1788, According To Tony Abbott

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, everybody.

In a speech to The Australian-Melbourne Institute last night, Tony Abbott continued his stellar run of not-being-a-terrible-human by claiming Australia was “unsettled” before European colonisation and that sending a bunch of convicts halfway around the world was a form of “foreign investment”.

“As a general principle we support foreign investment. Always have and always will … Our country is unimaginable without foreign investment. I guess our country owes its existence to a form of foreign investment by the British government in the then unsettled or, um, scarcely-settled, Great South Land,” Abbott said, presumably before breaking into Rule, Britannia and driving a dumptruck through the Tent Embassy

Even if you give Abbott the benefit of the doubt, Australia was not “scarcely settled” when the British arrived — according to the government’s own info, Aboriginal people have been here for a minimum of 50,000 years, living in over 500 nations and speaking roughly 700 languages. Between 300,000 and 1,000,000 people lived in Australia before the First Fleet arrived and declared that no one actually lived there and all those people walking around were optical illusions or something.

indigi_map

Nope, nothing to see here. (Source: ABC.)

Getting back on the terra nullius bandwagon is a bit of a weird move for a Prime Minister who promised to spend his first week as PM in a remote Indigenous community before the election, before remembering he had a house party on or whatever and changing it to a week a year. This is the same guy who said he would be “a Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. The first, I imagine, that we have ever had.”

Wait, but not —

Yeah, but what he meant was —

Alright, never mind.

Feature image via ABC.net.au.