Tim Smith’s Op Ed On Victoria’s Treaty Bill Is The Worst Thing You’ll Read All Day
"The statement "always was, always will be, Aboriginal land", is wrong and I find it personally offensive."
Victorian Liberal MP Tim Smith has penned an opinion piece in today’s Herald Sun, in which he asserts the phrase “always was, always will be, Aboriginal land” is offensive, and pushes the idea that we shouldn’t have to make amends for the atrocities committed by those who colonised this land.
In an opinion piece entitled ‘Mistakes of the 1830s are not for us to bear’, Smith — who recently resigned as shadow attorney general after crashing his car into a family home while nearly three times over the legal blood-alcohol limit — boldly claims that “divisive tokenism” is undermining Australia’s unity.
The piece comes after Smith vowed to cross the floor in protest of the Coalition’s support of Victorian Labor’s Treaty Authority Bill. In a speech to Victorian Parliament earlier this week, Smith claimed paying reparations to First Nations Victorians “sets up a profoundly concerning precedent”.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, Smith also asserted that he finds “the description of the settlement of Victoria as an “invasion,” historically inaccurate and offensive” and that the land belongs to everyone.
I find phrases like “always was, always will be, Aboriginal land,” highly offensive. Australia belongs to all of us, black and white alike.
— Tim Smith MP (@TimSmithMP) June 22, 2022
Smith has now echoed similar sentiments in a lengthy opinion piece in the Herald Sun, in which he largely focuses on the initial atrocities associated with colonisation, and not those like deaths in custody, systemic racism and the continued inequality that we still see to this day.
“The statement “always was, always will be, Aboriginal land”, is wrong and I find it personally offensive,” said Smith. “This land belongs to all Australians, black and white alike, and divisive tokenism like the Andrews government’s Treaty further undermines Australia’s unity.”
Throughout the op-ed, Smith also paraphrased Nelson Mandela.
“Australia belongs to all who live in it, black and white alike, and it’s fundamentally illiberal to treat any racial group within our society any differently to anyone else,” said Smith — paraphrasing Mandela. “I am opposed to a treaty because you can’t enter into a treaty with your own fellow citizens.
“I am proud of my country. I am proud of what we as Australians have achieved together,” said Smith. “Australia is not without fault, no country is.”
In his closing argument, Smith stressed that Australia — a country with a long and documented history of human rights violations, genocide, war crimes and a plethora of other really awful things that we, largely, take no real accountability for — is more good than bad.
“We must teach our children that this country of ours is far more good than bad, and there is so much more that unites us than divides us, black and white together, as citizens of this great Commonwealth of ours,” said Smith, continuing to ignore the issues that plague people in this country who were not born affluent, white men.