Nationals MP Gets Australia Day History Wrong

While arguing against calls for Australia Day to be moved from January 26th, deputy Nationals leader Bridget McKenzie made a pretty significant blunder on the topic. 

"The reality is that is when the course of our nation changed forever. When Captain Cook stepped ashore," Senator McKenzie told Sky News on Tuesday.

"And from then on, we've built an incredibly successful society, best multicultural society in the world."

In actual reality, Captain James Cook died nine years before January 26th, 1788, so it is unlikely he was doing much shore stepping.

The date marks the arrival of the First Fleet in Sydney Cove under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip. On this day, Phillip raised the Union Jack and proclaimed British Sovereignty over the eastern half of what would become Australia.

This wasn't even the first time the First Fleet had arrived in Australia. An entire week before, some time between the 18th and 20th of January, the fleet arrived at Botany Bay only to find it unsuitable for settlement due to a lack of fresh water.

Much like Australia Day does not mark the first time Captain Cook arrived in Botany Bay, Mckenzie's mistake does not mark the first time an official has got it wrong.

READ MORE: PM Wants New Day To Recognise Australia's Indigenous History

Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young sent out a statement earlier this year accusing Communications Minister Mitch Fifield of ignorance for being unable to name the traditional owners of Botany Bay.

"Despite an important national debate about changing the date of Australia Day away from Captain Cook's landing at Botany Bay, the government has decided to spend taxpayer money it is stripping from the ABC on yet another monument to Captain Cook on the land of the Dharawal people," her statement read.

A spokeswoman for Hanson-Young later confirmed the Senator had not read the press release before it went out and took full responsibility of the error.

The Australia Day date debate was put back in the spotlight this week after Byron Shire Council decided to officially move its Australia Day ceremony to January 25.

"Is it true mateship to willingly, willfully and continually to celebrate what rightfully is great to be an Australian on a day that some Australians are pained by," Byron Mayor Simon Richardson asked listeners on 3AW on Monday.

Scott Morrison hit out at the council's decision in a Facebook post and has since suggested there be another national day to celebrate Indigenous people and culture.

Featured image: AAP