• Dr Stephen Hagan says there should be a national audit of offensive place names. (SBS News)Source: SBS News
There are calls for a national audit of offensive places names after the Queensland government decided to remove the names of ten places with the word ‘N*****’.
By
Jarni Blakkarly

31 Aug 2017 - 11:23 AM  UPDATED 31 Aug 2017 - 11:52 AM

On Tuesday the Queensland government announced that it had discontinued ten place names following community concerns raised around the use of the word. They say they will consult local communities about coming up with replacement names. 

But Indigenous academic and activist Dr Stephen Hagan, who spent a decade fighting to have the N word removed from the Toowoomba Sports Ground said there needs to be a national audit of offensively named places.

“[National Indigenous Affairs Minister] Scullion should appoint an advisory committee or body to do a full audit. They ought to travel around the country and talk to Aboriginal communities and say look is there a landmark or something in your community that’s offensive,” Dr Hagan told NITV News.

The Toowoomba Sports Ground previously had a stand named the 'E.S "N*****" Brown Stand', before it was removed when the stadium was demolished in 2008. 

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Dr Hagan said that the Queensland government removing the N word alone was the “soft option” and that there are lots of places around the country named after massacre sights or other offensive terminology.

“Rather than the ad-hoc soft stance of getting rid of the N word, I think that’s a pretty soft option, surely they should go a little further and do a national audit,” he said.

Nathan Moran from the NSW Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council agreed that there needed to be national action taken on the issue.

“Names like Gins Leap, Slaughterhouse Creek, Blackfella’s Gully, that all refer to massacre sites, places where Aboriginal people were subjected horrendous behaviors,” Mr Moran said.

“It’s something that I think the country has to deal with".

State Queensland MP Brittany Lauga said she also agreed that more needed to be done than just removing the N word.

She has been advocating for the changing of the names of two mountains in her electorate including one named ‘Mount Jim Crow’.

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“Elsewhere in Queensland and perhaps Australia wide we could be having a conversation about the places that need to be renamed,” Ms Lauga said.

But Federal Indigenous MP Linda Burney said while changing the offensive names was important, the Queensland government’s decision to keep the names on historical maps was welcomed.

“Making sure that those old names stay in the historical records, because it’s important for people to know about those old names and how they came about,” Ms Burney said.

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