An ABC Indigenous Affairs reporter signed off on a live cross on Australia Day by telling viewers Australia ‘always was and always will be Aboriginal land’.
Dja Dja Wurrung and Yorta Yorta woman Bridget Brennan, who is the broadcaster’s Indigenous Affairs Editor, used the phrase to end her report on a Wugulora Ceremony being held at Barangaroo in Sydney on Friday.
News Breakfast studio host Michael Rowland wrapped up his conversation with Brennan with a general reflection on the ceremony she had covered.
Brennan said Australia Day was an important date for Indigenous people to ‘remember our ancestors and those who fought for many decades to improve the living standards for our people’.
‘Before we leave you, fantastic work by the way, and the Wugulora ceremony simply underscores the fact that January 26, Australia Day, simply means vastly different things to different Australians,’ Rowland said.
‘It’s really, really positive that more Australians are engaging with their local Aboriginal communities and Torres Strait Islander communities and getting to know the names of the nations they live on,’ Brennan replied.
‘For First Nations people, for my people, this is a very important day to remember our ancestors and those who fought for many decades to improve the living standards for our people and remember that it always was and always will be Aboriginal land.’
ABC Indigenous Affairs Editor Bridget Brennan signed off her report on an Indigenous ceremony by stating that Australia ‘always was and always will be Aboriginal land’
The sign-off was greeted with anger by a number of X, formerly Twitter, users.
‘Always was , always will be their ABC. Defund!’ wrote one furious punter.
‘Should this not read Former ABC…?’ another person said.
‘She can be a political activist, she can’t do it on the ABC payroll.
‘ABC News Breakfast was almost unwatchable this morning,’ another commented.
On her X account Brendan has retweeted posts calling for Australia Day to be commemorated as a tragic event and calling Europeans ‘invaders’.
‘Today, we mourn our ancestors, those that came before us,’ reads a post from Ngarra Murray, who is a member of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria.
‘We mourn the dead with the honesty & integrity they deserve.
Brennan said Australia Day was an important date for Indigenous people to ‘remember our ancestors who fought for many decades to improve the living standards for our people’
‘We pay respect to the warriors of the frontier wars & resistance fighters who made the ultimate sacrifice protecting our country, and people from the invaders.’
‘For me, today is Survival Day. A time to acknowledge we are still here and always will be,’ reads another tweet reposted by Brendan.
In the lead-up to January 26, the ABC was criticised for urging people to attend ‘Invasion and Survival Day’ rallies rather than celebrate Australia Day.
A picture of a large ‘Invasion Day’ rally, where people protest and mourn the arrival of the First Fleet in Australia as the beginning of Indigenous dispossession of Australia, was posted on the ABC Indigenous Instagram channel last week.
On her X (formerly Twitter) account Brendan reposted this tweet from Ngarra Murray, who is a member of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria
‘Invasion and Survival Day events,’ the caption accompanying the image reads.
‘One week out. Time to turn up! Did we miss an event near you? Drop them below.’
The post outlined 29 Invasion and Survival Day events that include marches and rallies, mourning and smoking ceremonies, concerts and festivals.
The final slide displayed the ‘Always was, always will be [Aboriginal land]’ slogan.
An ABC spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia: ‘Bridget Brennan is a highly respected and outstanding journalist. The ABC backs her completely.’