The federal government has announced a multi-million dollar package to commemorate the arrival of the first boat people to Australia in 1770 – the same people who later invaded the country in 1788.
The money will go towards improving public understanding of the historical event of boat people scouting foreign lands ripe for invasion, Prime Minister Scott Morrison says.
Morrison said a “re-enactment” of boat person Captain James Cook’s journey would offer Australians insight into how “history is written by the victors”.
“That’ll be great for tourism and it will also be a great opportunity just to talk about ‘our’ history, of the view from the ship, and also to a lesser extent, the terrifying view from the shore ” he said.
“We’ve got great stories, including how aboriginal Australians were able to ascertain free childcare for the remainder of their children’s lives – it was a great initiative.”
The funding for the boat trip is part of a previously announced $48.7 million package to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the arrival of the first boat people.
“We will also spend $3 million on a monument at Botany Bay to honour our first boat person, Captain James Cook,” he said.
“We could have spent it on educating the public about the truth of aboriginal hardships resulting from the invasion, but that might unite the country and expose the ‘culture war’ as a political tool.”