First Fleet was 'good' for Indigenous people: Abbott

Former prime minister Tony Abbott has again argued his case about keeping the existing date of Australia Day.

Tony Abbott believes the arrival of the First Fleet was a good thing for Indigenous Australians.

The former prime minister was on Monday again throwing his support behind keeping the existing date of Australia Day.

"There are pressing problems and we should address them. We are nevertheless a great country and Australia Day I think is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all of the things we have achieved given that there are 364 other days where we can lament the things that are yet to be done," he told 2GB radio.

"But I would also argue .. that what happened on the 26th January 1788 was, on balance, for everyone, Aboriginal people included, a good thing, because it brought Western civilisation to this country, it brought Australia into the modern world."

He went on to tell host Ray Hadley: "Now, yes, white Australians, for a long time, did much better than Indigenous Australians. But at least in recent years that's not through lack of goodwill and it's not through lack of extraordinary efforts to try to improve the lot of Indigenous Australians, and even there I think we are making progress."

"All of the things that we know and love about modern Australia are the lineal descendants of the attitudes that came ashore with the First Fleet on that day back in 1788," he said.

The first fleet from England enters Botany Bay 18 January 1788.
Source: AAP

"We shouldn't underestimate the contribution that the Aboriginal ethos has made to the wider Australian ethos.

"That easy going, stoicism, that laconic style that so characterises Australians is typical of the spirit that pervades indigenous Australia." 


Published 22 January 2018 at 10:12am, updated 22 January 2018 at 11:52am