National Museum of Australia accused of celebrating ‘White Australia Policy’

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A strange choice of words by the National Museum of Australia has got people questioning if they are celebrating the White Australia Policy.

#OnThisDay in 1901, the Immigration Restriction Act, which later became known as the White Australia Policy, became law. Migrate over to our Defining Moments website for more”. 

Those were the very casual words used by the NMA to highlight the anniversary of one of Australia’s darkest moments, the White Australia policy.

#OnThisDay in 1901, the Immigration Restriction Act, which later became known as the White Australia Policy, became law. Migrate over to our Defining Moments website for more: bit.ly/2wZUCoa #NMAmoments

Posted by National Museum of Australia on Friday, 22 December 2017

 

The post received a number of complaints by people questioning why this is being remembered, highlighted or possibly celebrated. The words ‘Defining Moments’ also have strong negative connotations after Tony Abbott made headlines in 2014 for labeling the arrival of the first fleet as a Defining Moment.

Honestly, whoever posted this, if there is a person whose role it is to run the social media/PR, they really need to be reprimanded for this post.

Objects like this absolutely have a place in our museums, and must be remembered, but has absolutely heinous crimes of the highest order.

The casual language of this post is fairly disgusting. Imagine if a German museum posted something about Nazi memorabilia in the same casual manner.

I am seriously worried that the person who made this post holds some fairly sinister views and is seeing how far they can push things with this post.

We did debate whether or not to run this story as a defining moment does not strictly have to relate to a positive event. However earlier this month it was revealed that a National Museum of Australia Council member was a big fan of Milo Yiannopoulos after she shared her selfie with the controversial commentator on social media just days after Yiannopoulos criticised Aboriginal art and culture.

So perhaps there is truth to the claims that the NMA is pushing the boundaries and flirting with outright racism of years gone by. Will the White Australia Policy be listed as one of Australia’s core values as well?

Let us know your thoughts on this in the comments below.

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