Carrie Bickmore and Waleed Aly disagreed with The Project co-host Steve Price on Monday night over whether statues of historical figures should be torn down.
Hobart City Council has decided to take down a statue of William Crowther, who stole the skull of William Lanne, the last Aboriginal Tasmanian, and sent it to the Royal College of Surgeons in London in 1869. Crowther went on to become Premier of Tasmania.
Price argued that it was wrong to bring down statues because it was ‘erasing’ history.
But Bickmore argued that “the public at the time didn’t have all the information” about Crowther or other historical figures.
Price shot back that “maybe they did have all the information and things have changed, times have changed”.
He later added: “I think agitators would have us rip down every statue of Captain Cook or get rid of every statue of Captain Phillip.”
He was referring to Captain James Cook, who was the first European to make recorded contact with the east coast of Australia, and Admiral Arthur Phillip, who was the first Governor of the Colony of New South Wales.
Fellow co-host Waleed Aly then chimed in and said he had different views depending on who the statue was of.
“The Crowther case is a particular one, because of what he is alleged to have done,” Aly said.
“I reckon there are people who would say that one should come down, Cook maybe is a different thing … I’d just be wary of saying you’re talking about monolithic views across the board.”
But Price replied that he is “very uncomfortable about pulling statues down”.
Crowther’s 8ft bronze statue will be removed after Hobart City Council voted 7-4 to take it down.
The former premier died in 1885 and the statue was erected in 1889.