15 June 2020



SUBJECT: Defacing of statues

DAVID KOCH, SUNRISE: Joining me now Labor Senator for the Northern Territory, Malarndirri McCarthy. Senator, thanks for joining us.


KOCH: What are your thoughts about these statues that have been defaced? In the UK theyve even had to box up Winston Churchill and he beat the Nazis!

MCCARTHY: Well clearly it shows theres incredible passion right around the world, Kochie. But I personally don't think its a very good idea at all. I mean clearly there are issues with particular statues whether its around Australia or around the world. And what Id like to see more of is more certainly First Nations history and statues around. And I'd love to see more of that. I mean I walked around Canberra yesterday at Lake Burley Griffin and trying to look at all the different statues and I thought it would be great to see one of Faith Bandler and she led our 1967 referendum.

KOCH: Yeah thats a really good point. Instead of defacing ones you dont agree with, push for statues of people that you

MCCARTHY: That you want!

KOCH: think have historical significance.

MCCARTHY: Yeah put people that you want to see. If you look at the Hyde Park one, right, and you see the, certainly theres the Captain Cook statue there, but if you also travel, walk around Hyde Park, theres also Tony Alberts statues of the ANZAC tributes and Tony did that as recognition of First Nations people who served in the world wars. So you've got those four bullets and the shells on the ground. And theyre sort of an indication of the soldiers that went away and never came back and this was done by an Aboriginal person who wanted to also respect the black diggers.

KOCH: Acknowledging our history, the good and the bad part of it, is sort of chronicling who we are and how we got here. Should it be re-written or do you think the mistakes really have to stay there and be highlighted?

MCCARTHY: Well I just think theres half the history thats just not being told, Kochie. So its not about re-writing history, its about bringing up into the space the equality of first Nations peoples history. I mean I come from Borroloola in the Gulf of Carpentaria in the Northern Territory and our history of the four language groups there is enormously strong and proud and Id love to see more of that, not to eradicate the non-indigenous history. Its about bringing up the stories that were always here.

KOCH: I work in Barangaroo in Sydney and the way she has, her history is being told throughout that whole precinct is a great example of that.

MCCARTHY: Absolutely, I mean what a warrior, what an amazing, inspiring woman for all women, you know.

KOCH: Exactly. What other parts of the statue debate, do you see it calming down now?

MCCARTHY: Look, I think that really the statues were probably more of a distraction to what the deeper issues are. Certainly for people I talk to here in Australia. The high incarceration rates, the high removal of First Nations children from their families. These are really the heartfelt issues, so I do believe we will get back more onto that and I think

KOCH: Which is a good thing.

MCCARTHY: Theres certainly good steps being made and lots of discussion around tackling that a lot sooner rather than later.

KOCH: Absolutely. Senator. great to have you on. Thank for joining us.

MCCARTHY: Thank Kochie. Thank you.