Politics

Scott Morrison Will Spend $50 Million On A Memorial To Captain Cook

Morrison says the monument will be "sensitive and beautiful".

Treasurer Scott Morrison will allocate $50 million of taxpayer money to the redevelopment of the Meeting Place Precinct in Botany Bay, Sydney, including $3 million on a new monument to Captain James Cook.

According to The Australian, the redevelopment of the Captain James Cook memorial will include a new visitors centre, cafe, exhibition space and ferry wharves as well as an “aquatic monument” to Cook that will be completed ahead of the 250th anniversary of the first encounter between Cook and Australia’s first peoples on April 29, 1770.

Morrison, whose electorate of Cook includes the precinct, told the paper that the redevelopment would deliver “a place of commemoration and recognition and understanding of two cultures, and the incredible Captain Cook”.

“It’s important these things aren’t ignored or relegated, that they’re acknowledged for their significance,” said Morrison. “We can do that in a way today which is very sensitive to the many other parts of this story.”

“You don’t have to go back and change things that were written in the past.”

The announcement comes as Australia continues to grapple with its violent colonial history. In August 2017, statues of Captain Cook and former NSW governor Lachlan Macquarie in Sydney’s Hyde Park were spray-painted with the words “change the date” and “no pride in genocide”. More recently, a statue of Cook in Melbourne was covered with pink paint ahead of this year’s Australia Day celebrations.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has said that such incidents are part of “a deeply disturbing and totalitarian campaign to not just challenge our history but to deny it and obliterate it”.

But Morrison insists this new monument will be “sensitive and beautiful”.

“The way we intend to implement it would be in a sensitive way, but one that in no way stepped back from acknowledging the nat­ional significance of that day ­almost 250 years ago.”

“It is when that next chapter of Australia’s ancient story began being written and that’s the most modern part of that story… it’s taken us to the incredible country we are today.”

Feature image via Wikimedia