PM’s ‘insult’ to make Brisbane Invasion Day ‘biggest ever’
Aboriginal organisers of a Brisbane Australia Day protest say "insulting" comments made by Prime Minister Scott Morrison about the arrival of the First Fleet could make this year's rally the largest yet.
Thousands of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people will march from Brisbane's CBD to Musgrave Park on Tuesday for the annual "Invasion Day" protest.
Organisers say the anti-Australia Day event is growing each year, and tip this year's turnout could be the largest on record following Mr Morrison's comments last week.
The Prime Minister drew widespread condemnation after he described Cricket Australia's decision to drop references to Australia Day as "pretty ordinary", and claimed the arrival of the First Fleet "wasn't a particularly flash day for the people on those vessels either".
Aboriginal activist Wayne Wharton said the Prime Minister's comments were "totally insulting and belittling".
He said the comments fuelled anger ahead of Australia Day and tipped thousands of people would march across the city.
"I think it's going to grow bigger every year," Mr Wharton said.
"It's always been about freedom and our people being free in our own country.
"Right from day one the Aboriginal people have had a resistance."
It comes as Queensland Coalition backbencher Andrew Laming was accused of making racist remarks in a Facebook post about Australia Day, in which he said "petrol-sniffing" and truancy were issues in remote Australia.
The comments were made in a post discussing Cricket Australia omitting references to Australia Day from its Big Bash League branding.
"Deny it's Australia Day. That'll help petrol sniffing and school attendance in remote Australia. #MorePracticalLessSymbolism," Mr Laming wrote on his Facebook account.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles slammed the federal MP's statement as "grubby" - but Mr Laming doubled down, saying he would not apologise.
Mr Laming said little progress had been made to improve living standards since the 2007 national apology, and that his post was an "uncomfortable reminder" for people advocating for justice around January 26.
The first Indigenous protest was held in Sydney in 1938 - 150 years after the arrival of the First Fleet.
Originally published as PM's 'insult' to make Brisbane Invasion Day 'biggest ever'