EUROPEAN colonisation of Australia was not an invasion, but a “settlement”, says the man most likely to be the Liberal Party’s candidate for Fremantle at this year’s federal election.
“Poor old Captain Arthur Phillip bringing a group of disease stricken poorly fed convicts to their new prison country on the other side of the planet was most certainly not an ‘invasion’,” says Sherry Sufi in his January 2015 article for conservative website, Menzies House.
Mr Sufi’s article — now archived following Menzies House’s apparent migration to Facebook — pre-empted by more than a year the current furore created by University of NSW advising students to refer to Australian history as “pre-invasion” and “post-invasion”. The guideline enraged right-wing media, including shock jocks and NSW’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, which splashed “Whitewash” across its front page below an image of Captain Cook.
Mr Sufi, described as both a “political editor” and “Australian political researcher”, acknowledges some indigenous Australians have done it tough, but says that’s more to do with 40,000 years of geographic isolation than the aftermath of gun-wielding colonists and militia taking their land. In fact, he presents a mostly cheery view of life for Aborigines post-1788.
“The natives initially identified settlers as ghosts returning from the dead,” Mr Sufi wrote. “After a while, they realised these were just humans. Over time many noticed that Europeans had one thing the arduous life of a hunter-gatherer lacked, that was surplus of food.
“Natives chose to remain close to early settlers as they often ran out of food as it was difficult to obtain and the settlers provided what they could.”
In the same article Mr Sufi characterises “sophisticated” Europeans as conquerers, bringing paradise to a land characterised by “nature’s harshest environmental challenges”.
“Yet the fact that paradise was to be built on an island already inhabited by humans from a stage of development the Europeans had overcome through trade and war many thousand years earlier, remains a happenstance of nature.
“Neither party had deliberate intention to inflict malice upon the other.
“No doubt, violent clashes between settlers and natives occurred on occasion. These are well-documented and close examination of the records reveals they were precipitated by a circumstantial context as opposed to some insidious government plot to wipe out the natives as falsely assumed.
“Natives often attacked farmers and their cattles which led to retaliation. Even so, the rule of law did what it was there to do.
“When British settlers were found to be at fault, they were brought to justice. The Myall Creek massacre is a case in point. 30 natives were killed by 10 Europeans and 1 African on 10th June 1838 at Bingara, New South Wales. After two trials, 7 of the 11 involved were found guilty of murder and hanged.”
Mr Sufi’s biography states he has qualifications in politics, history, philosophy, information systems and international studies, and that he is “fluently conversant” in English, Arabic, Urdu and Hindi.
In his Menzies House article, Mr Sufi also dismisses former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s apology to indigenous Australians as divisive and a failure in terms of furthering reconciliation.
“On the contrary, activists seem less satisfied and more assertive,” he argues.
“Apart from convincing the activists they can pretty much get anything they want provided they make sufficient noise, it has achieved little else.
“Their demands come from a seemingly endless political wishlist. Grant one, they move to the next. Grant none, all guns come blazing with accusations of coldheartedness, and lack of compassion and empathy.”
For the full transcript: https://heraldonlinejournal.com/2016/04/08/the-myth-of-invasion-day
by STEVE GRANT