“My comments were not intended to offend. If I do, I deeply regret it and apologize for it,” he said, adding that he is a passionate advocate of Indigenous Australian rights.
“I just tried to emphasize that it’s Australia. Yes, we’ve had problems in our history, we’ve acknowledged them, I’ve acknowledged them and we need to solve them.”
“My ancestors and great-grandmothers were in the First and Second Fleets (immigrants with convicts). It was a pretty brutal place, but there was no slavery in Australia,” Morrison said in an interview Thursday.
With more protests planned for the coming weeks, Morrison on Friday warned the public against attending upcoming rallies in support of racial equality, saying attendance was against health advice over the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s not a matter of it, it’s about people’s health and well-being and I would ask Australians to respect that by not participating in these events,” Morrison said. “I don’t believe there should be a double standard. Australians have made great sacrifices to get us where we are.”
The New South Wales Supreme Court on Thursday issued a ban banning a march on Sydney, scheduled for Saturday, for health reasons and due to prison sentences.
Another protest is scheduled for Friday in Sydney, entitled “Stop Black Deaths in Detention: Solidarity with Long Bay Prisoners.” The organization’s event page currently shows that more than a thousand people have reported their intention to attend.
There is no ban against Protest Friday, but social exclusion rules in the state limit the number of people allowed to gather outdoors to 10. The limit is expected to increase to 20 from Saturday.