Australia’s Indigenous people need a treaty, a Victorian senator has told an Melbourne Invasion Day rally.
About 5000 masked protesters marched in Melbourne’s CBD on Australia Day, moving in staggered COVID-safe units from Parliament House toward Flinders Street.
Lidia Thorpe, a Gunnai Gunditjmara and Djab Wurrung woman elected in September, said Australia needs a treaty to “resolve the war that was declared on our people almost 250 years ago”.
“No more bulls*** symbolic gestures,” Ms Thorpe told the crowd.
“No more change the date, no more Uluru Statement, no more Constitutional recognition, no more ‘Survival Day’. This is Invasion Day and we need a treaty.”
The protest organisers have demanded the abolition of Australia Day.
“There is nothing to celebrate on Australia Day,” they said.
“Aboriginal communities continue to be oppressed, policed, discriminated against and disenfranchised.”
Protesters had been urged to stay COVID-safe at Tuesday’s rally.
Attendees were told to organise in groups of 100 and stay 10 metres apart, wear masks and bring hand sanitiser.
Victoria’s outdoor gathering limit of 100 people has meant the cancellation of the traditional Australia Day parade in Melbourne.
Earlier in the day, Wunundjeri elder Aunty Joy Murphy said she was “very disappointed” in Scott Morrison’s comments about Australian cricket’s stance on January 26.
The prime minister sparked a backlash last week when he criticised Cricket Australia for dropping “Australia Day” from its marketing of three Big Bash League matches to be played on Tuesday.
Aunty Joy was a speaker at Tuesday’s Victorian flag raising service, along with Victorian Governor Linda Dessau and Premier Daniel Andrews.
“We’re always talking about going forwards. In some way, for some reason, our community seems always to have to go backwards,” Aunty Joy said at the Government House ceremony.
“We talk about let there be trust, let there be confidence and all we hear is about being patient. We have almost lost our patience.”
Also on Tuesday afternoon, anti-lockdown protesters have pledged to march after repeatedly shunning health advice last year.
The group planned to meet at Queen Victoria Gardens and march from Park Pavilion to Catani Gardens near St Kilda Beach.
The “People’s Australia Day Parade” will conclude with a beach party to “celebrate what’s great”, its organisers said on Facebook.