British colonisation of Australia at the end of the 18th century was an invasion of aboriginal land, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Tuesday.
“Well, I think it can be fairly described as that and I’ve got no doubt obviously our first aboriginal Australians describe it as an invasion,” Efe news quoted Turnbull as saying.
“But, you know, you are talking about an historical argument about a world. The facts are very well known. This country was aboriginal land. It was occupied by aboriginal people for tens of thousands of years — 40,000 years,” said Turnbull.
The British Crown had declared at the end of the 18th century that the territory now known as Australia was uninhabited and upheld the concept of ‘Terra Nulis’ (No Man’s land) to claim its possession.
The settlers, whose first fleet arrived in Sydney in 1788, attempted to assimilate the indigenous communities, leading to conflicts over possession of territories and resulted in massacres and hunts of aboriginals.
Currently the indigenous population, representing three percent of more than 22 million Australian inhabitants, live mostly in poverty in remote or poor areas with an income per household that is barely 62 percent of the national average.