Politics

Scott Morrison Is Spending $7 Million To Send A Replica Of Captain Cook’s Ship Around Australia

Scott Morrison is Captain Cooked.

Scott Morrison announceds $6.7 million to send replica of Captain Cook's ship around the country.

In 2020, it’ll be the 250 year anniversary of Captain Cook reaching Australia and screwing everything up. Scott Morrison has announced today that the government will mark the occasion by spending $6.7 million dollars to send a replica of Cook’s ship, the Endeavour, to sail around the country for 14 months.

And here we thought this government was about stopping the boats.

Morrison justified the expense, as well as the 14 months the ship will spend travelling around the country, because “that voyage is the reason Australia is what it is today and it’s important we take the opportunity to reflect on it”.

In a way, he’s right — Cook’s voyage to map the east coast of Australia kicked off the British invasion and settlement of Indigenous land, which had far-reaching, often devastating consequences worth reflecting on.

Reflection is very different to cheerfully sending a ship to circumnavigate the country to “honour” James Cook, though. Not only is the move baffling, expensive, and offensive, it’s also factually incorrect — Scott Morrison’s been on the radio this morning spruiking what he calls a “re-enactment” of Cook’s voyage, but Cook never circumnavigated Australia. Matthew Flinders, quite famously, was the one who did that.

Regrettably, the $7 million dollar boat journey is only the beginning. The government will also spend a cool $5.45 million dollars on the Cooktown 2020 Festival, also in honour of Captain Cook. Both of these projects are part of a $48.7 million dollar package marking the anniversary, though apparently some of that money will help “preserve and celebrate Indigenous culture”.