One of the Victorian Government’s signature policies is to build an $11 billion Metro Rail Tunnel through Melbourne’s CBD. The tunnel will feature five new stations currently called Domain, CBD South, CBD North, Parkville and Arden. But rather than give them simple names based on location Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has decided to conduct a naming competition for the five stations which he describes as giving the public “a once-in-a-generation chance to make their mark on Melbourne”.
All suggestions can be based on “geographic locations, local heritage and people who have made a significant historical contribution to Victorian life” and an advisory panel will put together “a shortlist of names to the Government for consideration”. The prize is certainly an exciting one “an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the Metro Tunnel worksites”.
It should be no surprise given the current political climate that the cultural left has started a petition to give these stations Indigenous names. Last week they were focused on abolishing Australia Day, then on the weekend it was removing or modifying Australia’s colonial statues. This week it is renaming offensive geographic names in Australia.
This movement has been embraced by senior figures in the Labor Party such as Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner as he wants Australians to know the Aboriginal names of all geographic locations in the nation and wants “complementary street and place names to elevate Aboriginal identity, language and history into the everyday”. Bill Shorten for a while suggested enshrining a new plague in front of Captain James Cook’s statue in Hyde Park to recognise Indigenous civilisation.
The petition to give the Melbourne Metro Stations Indigenous names wants them named after the existing five regions that create the Kulin nation of Melbourne. The petition currently has over 9,000 signatures. One of the justifications the petitioner gives is “this will help Melbourne’s image as a forward thinking and progressive state”. First of all, Melbourne is not a state and I’m pretty sure Victoria has this reputation nationwide.
However further down the petition states the naming of these stations should “not (be) used by the state as token recognition of the language and people”. You could have fooled me, isn’t this exactly why a government would consider giving the stations such names? It is too difficult for progressives to do anything meaningful about Indigenous welfare which is why they prefer virtue signalling efforts such as this.
The left know that they are not going to have much luck tearing down statues or renaming locations which is why they have seized this naming contest as a great opportunity for them to inject more Indigenous culture into Australian society. Knowing Daniel Andrews’ reputation, he will most likely embrace this petition.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with Australian locations having Indigenous names, after all we have places like Canberra and Kirribilli House to name only two. But of course, slapping an Indigenous name onto something will not solve Indigenous disadvantage and should not be done to placate a sense of white guilt or promote a black armband view of history. Yet it looks like this naming contest will be the latest front in the new history wars.