Scott Morrison isn’t exactly known for his truthful or accurate statements at the best of times, but boy did he drop an awful clanger that reinforced his daggy “hopeless idiot” image after publicly saying that slavery has never been a thing in Australia.
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Appearing on 2GB (via The Guardian) to talk about a number of topics, including the Black Lives Matter rallies he really didn’t want people to attend but did anyway, Scott Morrison went on a random tangent about British colonisation and the arrival of the First and Second Fleets.
But the kicker was when Scotty declared with utmost confidence that Australia never, ever dabbled in something as horrendous as slavery.
“Australia, when it was founded as a settlement, as New South Wales, was on the basis that there’d be no slavery. And while slave ships continued to travel around the world, when Australia was established yes, sure, it was a pretty brutal settlement.
“My forefathers and foremothers were on the First and Second Fleets. It was a pretty brutal place, but there was no slavery in Australia.”
Never mind the fact that Australia was literally built on a foundation of slavery – the First and Second Fleets were comprised of convicts, who were slaves in all but name.
Scott Morrison also somehow forgot the horrific treatment and racism inflicted on the Indigenous Australian people by their European oppressors, who from nearly the beginning until the 1960s forced them into unpaid labour and separated children from their families.
That’s not even talking about the brutal massacres that went down over the course of Australia’s dark history.
Let’s also not forget Australia’s dabbling in the insidious practice of blackbirding, which involved colonists coercing or kidnapping Pacific Islanders and transporting them back to NSW or Queensland to work on plantations. It was a practice so horrendous that unmarked mass graves are still being found today.
Hell, slavery still exists in Australia even today, it’s just evolved from people with chains around their necks doing unpaid labour on plantations to things like human trafficking, domestic servitude and forced marriage.
Like how Australia likes to pretend racism isn’t part of its DNA, just because the term “slavery” was never tossed around willy nilly like in America doesn’t mean it didn’t happen in Australia, Scott Morrison.
Unsurprisingly, Scotty’s bold “Australia never had no slavery” claim was condemned pretty quickly, with the most notable rebuttal coming from Aboriginal Australian author and historian, Bruce Pascoe, who says (via The SMH):
“When you capture people, and put chains around their necks, and make them walk 300 kilometres and then set them to work on cattle stations, what’s that called? That’s what happened in Western Australia and in the [Northern] Territory and in Queensland.
“It doesn’t matter what you call it. It’s brutality and I think a lot of Australia are in denial about the real history of the country.”
Just a tip, Scott Morrison, maybe stick to marketing or perhaps read a history textbook before publicly saying things like “there was no slavery in Australia”, because that’s only something a hopeless idiot would do and you sure as hell don’t want to come off like that.
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