“My comments were not intended to offend, and if they did, I deeply regret it and apologize for that,” he said, adding that he was passionate about the rights of Indigenous Australians.
“I was just trying to point out that Australia, yes, we had problems in our history, we recognized them, I recognized them and we have to deal with them.”
“My ancestors were in the First and Second Fleets (convicted settlers). It was a pretty brutal place, but there was no slavery in Australia,” Morrison said in an interview on Thursday.
With more protests planned in the coming weeks, Morrison warned the public on Friday that he would not attend upcoming rallies in support of racial equality, saying participation was contrary to health advice due to the corona pandemic.
“It’s not about the issue, it’s about the health and well-being of the people, and I will ask the Australians to respect that without attending these events,” Morrison said. “I don’t think there has to be a double standard. Australians have made great sacrifices to get us where we are today.”
On Thursday, the Supreme Court of New South Wales issued a restraining order against Sydney, which was scheduled for Saturday for health reasons and due to locking measures.
Another protest is scheduled for Sydney on Friday, entitled “Stop Black Deaths in Custody: Solidarity with Long Bay Prisoners”. The organization’s event page shows that more than a thousand people have already announced their intention to attend.
There is no anti-Friday protest order, but the state’s social distance rules limit the number of people allowed to gather outdoors at 10. The limit is expected to rise to 20 people from Saturday.