“I know my aunties felt sad, they saw the Queen as a mother, a grandmother and a great-grandmother,” McCarthy said.
“I know my brothers felt differently, I know my uncles felt differently, as they reflected too on what the monarchy has meant and what the colonialism has meant.”
She said the Queen was not directly responsible for the frontier wars in colonial Australia, but Indigenous Australians held “mixed feelings and emotions” as a result of the Commonwealth’s oversight.
West Australian Greens senator and Yamatji-Noongar woman, Dorinda Cox, said the sorry business of First Nations people did not end with the parliamentary condolence speeches for the Queen.
“The irony comes from so-called progressives in this country who are silencing the voices, their disapproval for anyone who is brave enough to speak up since the Queen died a fortnight ago,” she said.
“We are a mature nation capable of conversations that both commemorate the life of a public figure while calling out the problematic legacy of the British Empire.”
NSW Labor senator Tony Sheldon said much of the grief of Indigenous Australians had been overshadowed by the mourning period, singling out late performer Jack Charles, who died on September 13.
“I can appreciate and empathise with First Nations people, who may have rightly experienced very different emotions,” Sheldon said.
The Leader of the House of Representatives, Tony Burke, delivered a short speech in which he spoke of his two great aunts who raised his father in an Irish Catholic household, and “who had all sorts of views about the United Kingdom … but were so proud of the photographs they had from when Her Majesty visited Sydney, and always had on display their best fine-bone China teacup, which was always known as the cup for the Queen, in case she ever popped around.”
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