According to the report, he quickly corrected himself to say “scarcely settled,” which was probably the best attempt he could make at digging up.
He then shot himself in the other foot by trying to frame British settlement as foreign investment. Well, if arriving on Australian shores uninvited equates to foreign investment, why are we sending refugees home? After all, the convicts who were sent to Australia in the 19th century would have been hanged if they didn’t leave or tried to go back.
In fairness to Mr Abbott, Mark Sawyer argued last month that it’s not actually racism if it could otherwise be described as bog standard stupidity. Leaving aside the fact the one doesn’t negate the other, let’s give the the Prime Minister who brought Indigenous Affairs into his own office the benefit of the doubt that his comment was merely stupid and/or ignorant, and not actually racist.
No, you have to look at the preceding comment, which has had less attention, to find clear, overt racism:
“if I want to sell my place [then] foreign investment might make sense, but if my neighbour wants to sell his place [then] foreign investment might be the last thing we want”.
In other words, we don’t like foreigners but we sure like their money.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Tony Abbott, Rhodes Scholar.