A Liberal National MP has been slammed over a ‘grubby’ and ‘racist’ Facebook post about Indigenous communities ahead of.
Andrew Laming, the Member for Bowman in, shared a news article on Thursday about Cricket Australia’s decision to drop ‘Australia Day’ references.
The sporting body made the call to ensure cricket is as ‘inclusive’ as possible amid increased scrutiny over January 26 and what it stands for.
Mr Laming seemingly disagreed with the move and has been accused of making generalisations about the Indigenous community.
Andrew Laming, the Member for Bowman in Queensland, shared a news article on Thursday about Cricket Australia’s decision to drop ‘Australia Day’ references
Crowds celebrate Australia Day on January 26, 2020 at the Australian Open
‘Deny it’s Australia Day,’ he wrote alongside a link to the article.
‘That’ll help petrol sniffing and school attendance in remote Australia.’
His post also included a hashtag that read ‘more practical less symbolism’.
Mr Laming later defended his controversial comments to Nine News.
‘Of course they’re not racist comments, and I’m not,’ he said.
‘What this is about is addressing the true gaps that we’re trying to close and recognising that maybe debating a public holiday isn’t getting us any closer.’
There was divided debate in the comments section, with some slamming Mr Laming for his remarks.
‘Imagine thinking this kind of approach is beneficial to help addiction and school attendance rates. This is hate speech, champ,’ one person wrote.
‘Why do you have so much hate in your heart? Who hurt you? Be better,’ another commented.
Andrew Laming (left) has been slammed over comments he made ahead of Australia Day by Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles
A third said: ‘Why would you say such a thing!’
Mr Laming’s Facebook page seemingly disappeared on Saturday but has since resurfaced.
Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles was asked about Mr Laming’s remarks during a press conference on Saturday.
‘My expectations of Andrew Laming are pretty low, and he has indeed exceeded them,’ he said.
‘He’s gone lower than I thought even he could.
‘These racist comments are grubby and disgusting and below the standards we should expect of an elected official in our country.’
Protesters display signs as they take part in an ‘Invasion Day’ rally on January 26, 2019, in Melbourne
Three women display the Australian Flag during January 26 celebrations at the Australian Open in 2020
Mr Miles said it would be appropriate for Prime Minister Scott Morrison to pull Mr Laming ‘into line’.
‘This is a member of the prime minister’s team making these remarks and I think it’s up to the prime minister to be a leader and to pull him into line.’
Mr Laming has since continued to make posts about Australia Day ahead of Tuesday.
‘Blame older people for every social problem, and those richer than you for every economic problem,’ he wrote on Saturday morning.
‘Whatever it takes to blame someone other than you. But hang on. You are the beneficiary, and just as complicit as “they” are.
‘Is marching on January 26 how you “virtue-signal” your way out of that culpability?’
Mr Laming said Australians are free to commemorate important days however they wish.
‘Deny it’s Australia Day,’ Mr Laming (pictured in 2019) wrote alongside a link to the article about Cricket Australia’s decision. ‘That’ll help petrol sniffing and school attendance in remote Australia.’
Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles (right with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk) was asked about Mr Laming’s remarks during a press conference on Saturday. ‘My expectations of Andrew Laming are pretty low, and he has indeed exceeded them,’ he said
‘You are too. I will respect your choice of day and how you do it,’ he said.
‘Perhaps it is time to put that shoe on the other foot and have a crack at being tolerant. If you find this ‘offensive’ then it probably says more about you, than me.’
In another post, Mr Laming said it is ‘great’ to see interest in debates over Australia Day – but claimed problems won’t go away by changing the date.
‘I think Australians are happy to recognise our past good and bad,’ he wrote on Saturday afternoon.
‘But the bad doesn’t go away with a different day.’
Mr Laming has since continued to make posts about Australia Day ahead of Tuesday
In another post, Mr Laming said it is ‘great’ to see interest in debates over Australia Day – but claimed problems won’t go away by changing the date
Thousands of protesters are preparing to rally against Australia Day on Tuesday.
January 26 marks the raising of the Union Jack for the first time in 1788 after the British First Fleet’s arrival in Botany Bay the previous week.
For many, it is a day of mourning that signals the European invasion of the continent after more than 60,000 years of Indigenous occupation.
There have been growing calls to abolish annual Australia Day celebrations on January 26, with activists declaring it to be ‘Invasion Day’.
Many protesters want the date to be changed to be more inclusive for Indigenous Australians.
There have been growing calls to abolish annual Australia Day celebrations on January 26, with activists declaring it to be ‘Invasion Day’. Protesters are seen at an Invasion Day rally last year in Brisbane
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