After the recent removal of statues in the US and a debate about statues in Australia that ended as quick as Pauline Hanson could say Burqa, the Australian government is now looking to protect the colonial criminals they choose to honour by implementing harsh new laws.
The proposed laws could see statue vandals being sent to jail for between three to five times longer than people who murder Aboriginal people. Under the new laws proposed by the Turnbull government, monuments over 100 years old would be registered under the heritage act and acts of vandalism would be punishable by prison terms of up to 7 years and fines up to $87,000.
These punishments dwindle in comparison to the 6 month home detention order that was given to a meth user who ran over and killed 8 year old Jack Sultan Page. Punishment would also be worse than the 2-3 year jail term handed out to Elijah Doughty’s killer. When comparing these new punishments to those responsible for black deaths in custody, there is no comparison at all. There has never been a single police officer or prison officer charged and sentenced for the murder of an Indigenous man or woman in Australia. That startling fact comes with around 350 black deaths in custody since 1991 and not one conviction. (Please prove us wrong on this)
The Turnbull government has made a big mistake by trying to use the heritage act to bring in these new changes. This move exposes yet another form of racial inequality in Australia. Currently under the heritage act, the government turns a blind eye to the destruction of registered scared sites. Acts of vandalism and illegal mining; go on today without any media attention. The government has even begun to de-register Aboriginal sacred sites from the heritage act to open them up for mining. This was one of the demands Clinton Pryor handed down to the Government last week in Canberra, but for now we have little hope for change.
Each day Australia’s apartheid is becoming more and more clear. Hopefully with increased international attention, we will see more international pressure for change to happen in Australia. Do you remember that South Africa’s apartheid didn’t end until international sanctions were imposed and a truth and reconciliation commission was created? Where is the pressure on Australia? Just yesterday the UN released yet another scathing report on the government in response to the way we are treated in our own country. These reports are powerless if other countries sit back in silence. I guess you all want what is in our land.
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