Prime Minister Scott Morrison has received some stark criticism this week following his announcement of funding to replicate Captain Cook’s famous ship the Endeavour.
The Liberal Party leader on Tuesday revealed $6.7 million would be put forward to build the ship, which will circumnavigate Australia over 14 months. According to Morrison, the replica ship would travel around the country as a “re-enactment” of Cook’s journey, stopping at 39 locations across the coast.
However, the plan has been met with criticism from Aussies who wasted no time poking holes in the announcement, with the majority ordering him to check his facts before spending up big. Those who are up to date with their Australian history will know Cook didn’t in fact circumnavigate Australia and that it was Matthew Flinders who completed the first ever voyage around the country between 1801 and 1803.
On Wednesday Opposition Leader Bill Shorten hit out at Morrison and accused the PM of having a “Captain Cook fetish”.
“I’m not going to get caught up in some sort of bizarre Captain Cook fetish which Mr Morrison wants me to engage in,” Nine News reported he told reporters in Rockhampton.
“I’m not obsessed about our history. I’m obsessed about our future.”
His comments followed criticism from Australians who weren’t afraid to add their two cents to the argument on social media following the funding announcement.
For the most case, Aussies said Morrison’s plan was a complete waste of money and funding should go towards more important causes.
“Meanwhile, our river systems are dying – that’s some pretty screwed up priorities you’ve got there ScoMo,” one person commented on Twitter.
“Cook did not circumnavigate Australia, Matthew Flinders completed this voyage in 1803,” another wrote.
While a third added: “It’s great to see ScoMo’s priorities, doesn’t matter if homeless levels are higher than ever, doesn’t matter millions of fish have just died due to this Government, doesn’t matter about climate change… But we will find millions to play Captain Cook… We are all hanging out for that!”
However, according to Morrison, the reenactment is an opportunity to bring Australians together and share in the history of the country.
The PM is announcing funding to commemorate Captain Cook’s first Aus voyage@ScottMorrisonMP: The re-enactment is an opportunity to tell the story of that initial voyage, but it’s also to take the story of reconciliation around the country
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) January 22, 2019
“It’s also to take the story of reconciliation around the entire country as it goes well beyond where James Cook went all those years ago and some 39 different place,” he said in a press conference on Tuesday. “I believe it will be a voyage of bringing Australians together, that’s why I am so keen to support it and I’m keen for it to be done very much in that spirit.”