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Monday, 20 August 2001
Page: 29787

Mr BAIRD (10:33 PM) —The seat of Cook has been so named since 1906 and has a long and proud tradition. Clearly, the seat was named for the landing at Kurnell of Captain James Cook, one of the great explorers in modern history and someone who has a record for Australia to be proud of. If we were to look at the great explorers in history, he would be ranked as one of the greatest.

It came as amazing news to me when, two weeks ago, the Sutherland Shire Council met in secret to determine whether they would remove the face of Captain Cook from all the Sutherland Council logos. They said that it was offensive to our indigenous population, that it was no longer a part of modern Australia, and that we had to provide reconciliation in terms of the Aboriginal community that lived in the area. Therefore, they decided it was appropriate to change the logo from Captain Cook to dancing dolphins. With that nomenclature, I may be introduced in this House as `the member for dancing dolphins'. It is not something that appeals to me greatly, and I wish to record the fact that I find the whole suggestion appalling.

By all means, it is appropriate that we recognise our indigenous population. By all means, it is appropriate that we see Kurnell as a coming together of two cultures and that we are sensitive to the history of the Dharawal people who inhabited the area. The elders of the tribe, who come regularly to functions in the Sutherland Shire, celebrate the history of the Dharawal people in the area but also look forward to the community going on together. To have this recommendation come through and be the subject of public airing, as it was last week, illustrates the fact that the Sutherland Shire Council have moved out of line with what the community treasures in terms of its own history. There are few councils that have the proud history that we in the Sutherland Shire have. The association with Captain Cook is something that every boy and girl who grows up in the shire is rightly proud of. It is an association that I believe should go long into the future.

There have been a lot of claims and counterclaims about who originated the motion and who seconded it. I do not wish to pursue the personalities involved. Instead, I would like to establish very clearly that it was Captain Cook who came to these shores and brought European civilisation to the land of the great south. It is that we celebrate in terms of Captain Cook coming to the shores of Kurnell. While there were some negatives, there were also enormous positives which enabled us to develop as the country we are today. In moving forward as a country, it is important not only to grasp the problems and the issues that confront us today but also to recognise and celebrate our proud heritage and our proud history. There is no greater history or history of which we can be more proud than the history of Captain Cook, the original European discoverer of Australia. He sailed the ship on an exploratory visit to these shores. He landed with the botanists to look at the great range of vegetation that existed here and took word of this incredible land back to Europe. We who are Australians celebrate what we have in Australia but, more than that, we celebrate the great Captain Cook, who came to this country in such magnificent style. Long may he stay in the Sutherland Shire and long may he stay on the official logo of the shire.