The Project hosts clash with Steve Price in heated debate: 'Uncomfortable'

·Lifestyle Editor
·2-min read

The Project's Carrie Bickmore has clashed with her co-host Steve Price over a decision to remove a statue in Tasmania.

The news program aired a report about a contentious statue of a former Tasmanian premier who allegedly mutilated the body of an Aboriginal man in 1869.

William Crowther, a surgeon and politician, allegedly stole the skull of William Lanne from a morgue and sent it to the Royal College of Surgeons in London.

Hobart City Council on Monday night voted 7-4 to remove the statue from Franklin Square in the capital's CBD after years of campaigning from Aboriginal groups.

On The Project on Monday night, Steve claimed the removal of any statues made him "uncomfortable".

Steve Price and Carrie Bickmore debate over the decision to remove a statue of a historical figure in Tasmania. Source: Channel 10
Steve Price and Carrie Bickmore debate over the decision to remove a statue of a historical figure in Tasmania. Source: Channel 10

"They were erected earlier by a public that decided they wanted to honour that person in the context of what was going on at that time," he told the panel.

"If we're going to go around and pull down every statue in Australia, I think that would be a very sad reflection on us. I think we've got to be very careful when we go down this track."

He added bringing down the statues was "erasing history", however, Carrie hit back that maybe "the public at the time didn't have all the information".

"When you learn more about history don't you then have to adapt and change? You say erected by a public that wanted it – perhaps the public at the time didn't have all the information," she said.

"Maybe they did have all the information and maybe times have changed," Steve hit back.

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Co-hosts Peter Helliar and Waleed Aly backed Carrie, telling Steve the removal of the statue wasn't erasing history, but instead choosing not to commemorate particular historical figures.

“The Crowther case is a particular one, because of what he is alleged to have done,” Waleed said.

"I'm very uncomfortable about pulling statues down," Steve interrupted.

On Monday Hobart City Council Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said removing the statue was a practical and meaningful step to reconciliation and one part of a broader national conversation.

"(This) does not change history. The records, the books, the articles, the stories all remain unchanged," she told the meeting.

"We don't want to celebrate a time in our history when scientists and doctors wanted to prove theories of European superiority (and) wanted to rank people by their race.

"It was an appalling tradition."

With AAP

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