• Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack said Black Lives Matter protests and Capital Hill riots were both 'violent and should be condemned' (AAP)Source: AAP
First Nations human rights groups have condemned the Acting Prime Minister for comparing Black Lives Matter protests to the Washington insurrection.
Sarah Collard

12 Jan 2021 - 5:01 PM  UPDATED 12 Jan 2021 - 5:01 PM

Acting Prime Minister Michael McCormack has continued to come under fire for calling the U.S Black Lives Matter protests 'racial riots', and using the term 'All Lives Matter' when defending his comments.

On Monday, Mr McCormack told ABC Radio the violence at Capitol Hill, which left five people dead, was 'unfortunate' and 'similar to those race riots that we saw around the country last year.'

Today he doubled down on the remarks, saying both the Black Lives Matter movement and the Washington riots should be 'condemned'.

"It involves violence. It involves the destruction of property. It involves deaths of people, and any violence of that form is condemned..."any form of violence, any form of protest that ends in death and destruction is abhorred." he told ABC News.

These comments were hurtful and inaccurate, according to Change the Record's Co-Chair Cheryl Axleby.

"It's deeply offensive, and completely untrue," she told NITV News.

"To compare the peaceful  cause for change to a mob violent mob storming the Capitol in the U.S is frankly just out of touch."

Nolan Hunter, the International Rights Lead of Amnesty International told NITV News the comments were damaging. 

"They are no comparison... The Black Lives Matter movement is about people protesting about the fact that we're being killed in Australia." Nolan Hunter said.

"He needs to withdraw that statement or he needs to rethink about how he acknowledges the Black Lives Matters movement. The Black Lives Matter movement is about people protesting the fact that we're being killed in Australia today," he said.

"It's an attempt to stigmatise us...Like we are doing something really bad. When people are just standing up for their rights."

Following the criticism, Mr McCormack rejected calls to withdraw his comments.

"I appreciate there are a lot of people out there who are bit bleeding hearts about this and confecting outrage but they should know that those lives matter too. All lives matter," 

"Now, I'm not going to apologise, because I said that violence in any form should not happen from a protest." 

The Aboriginal Legal Service also condemned the comments and said the Black Lives Matter movement which swept the globe after the death of George Floyd; spotlighted Indigenous incarceration rates and police brutality in Australia. 

 "The Black Lives Matter movement has been pivotal in bringing attention to the disproportionate rates of imprisonment and police violence against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples," in a statement to NITV News. 

"Instead, he draws a false equivalence between Black and Indigenous people campaigning for their rights to justice and safety; and those in the United States who threaten the rights and safety of others.

The Acting Prime Minister's comments also drew the ire of his parliamentary colleagues with Labor MP Chris Bowen slamming the comments as 'disgusting'.