Dual-naming: Virtue signalling gone mad

by ERIC ABETZ – AUSTRALIA is in the process dual-naming famous and important landmarks and geographic areas with both English and Aboriginal names. 

Is it virtue signalling pure and simple – or is it showing respect? 

What’s in a name? It identifies individuals, geographic locations and things. 

Dual-naming has become a virtue signalling fest with little relevance or appropriateness attached. It also appears that names are being made up in air-conditioned offices by activists.
Eric Abetz
Former Federal Senator

Names are important to provide some order into our world and to understand our environment and social interactions.

Travelling to a certain destination requires a name for our friends to understand where we are going.

Is the person just leaving or moving to a particular place?

Changing names also brings with it consequences or expectations such as in a marriage or when a corporation re-invents itself.

Names are often given to a newborn to remember a relative or honour a contributor to society such as naming a park after Her Majesty the late Queen Elizabeth II.

Changing the name of places is common throughout history.

St Petersburg became Stalingrad. Saigon became Ho Chi Minh City and so the examples abound.

German-named towns in Australia were discreetly renamed during the first part of the 1900s.

The then isolated rural Bismark Town became Collinsvale in the northern hilly outskirts of Hobart in Tasmania. Such was the feeling about a certain Kaiser.

Fast forward to 2023 and it appears that Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk wants to rename her capital city of Brisbane in time for the Olympic Games with an Aboriginal name, while the FIFA Women’s World Cup adopts the dual-naming convention as part of its branding.

The vexed question of renaming creates sores and lifts scabs off others. Should the proud German settlers of Bismark Town be allowed to restore the name of their choosing? While Stalingrad has reverted to its former name of St Petersburg.


Further, should some towns be dual-named when they were settled two hundred years ago by colonists and have little Indigenous heritage?

It is not difficult to imagine Indigenous people may have had a name for an icon like Ayres Rock – Uluru.

What is more difficult to understand is how the local Aborigines had a name for a then-non-existent city like Brisbane?

Dual-naming has become a virtue signalling fest with little relevance or appropriateness attached.

It also appears that some names are being made up and developed in air-conditioned offices by activists which festers resentment not only with other Australians but also within Aboriginal communities themselves.

All the while the real issues Indigenous communities face remain unaddressed, despite the $39b in federal funding annually.

It was also notable that during the height of Native Title land actions, it was not uncommon to have numerous competing claims over desert wastelands which happened to also have rich mineral deposits, while similar terrain with no mineral deposits would usually have one or few claims.

The veracity of such claims was rightfully brought into question as were the motives.

The enmities between Aboriginal tribes dating back many generations, regrettably, came to the fore on some occasions.

Which begs the question, who has naming rights?

Modern Australia was an unknown concept to the 250-plus Aboriginal communities of the continent.

Rightly or wrongly, it is a settler creation. The past cannot be changed. But we can build a better future for all Australians.


One suspects this was in the mind of our forebears who deliberately named the then-soon-to-be-created national capital “Canberra” which was the local Aboriginal word for “meeting place” – its current Indigenous name is “Ngambri”.

The name “Canberra” was announced more than one hundred years ago when naming did not cause societal friction and the well-paid activists were not present.

In Tasmania, most of the hydroelectric power stations have Aboriginal names which were allocated well before dual naming became a thing.

Should these power stations be similarly dual-named to show respect and acknowledgement to the migrant workers who built them or the engineers who designed them?

Should Canberra be dual-named with recognition of the settler contribution to our world-leading democracy?

The aggressiveness with which the dual naming is being forced onto the community is in fact, counter-productive to any goal of “unifying” our Australian community.

Chopping someone off at the knees doesn’t make the other person any taller. A rose by any other name smells just as sweet.

So let’s keep calling the flowers and gems of Australia by their accepted and used names unless there is an overwhelming need to change.

Any sole overwhelming need for changing names already has a label, and that is “virtue signalling”.PC

Eric Abetz

MAIN PHOTOGRAPH:  Suncorp Stadium circa 2023. (courtesy The Epoch Times)
RE-PUBLISHED: This article was originally published by The Epoch Times on August 11, 2023. Re-used with permission.

5 thoughts on “Dual-naming: Virtue signalling gone mad

  1. Hey Eric, all well and good re: woke insanity, but these kinds of ideas can only take root in a rootless society, eroded by wave upon wave of mass immigration. Now, our core value is that we have no core values, and it’s the loudest & most insistent voice gets its way. Why did you sit quietly under successive LNP governments who not only failed to pump the brakes but actively opened the floodgates? It’s irreversible, irrepairable, and it’s at least partially – if not entirely – your fault.

  2. G’day Eric,

    (a) Tsaritsyn / Stalingrad / Volgograd, and
    (b) St Petersburg / Petrograd / Leningrad / St Petersburg.

    If we can ever manage to get a proper conservative government in this country, they need to:

    1. Dispense with any and all dual place names.
    2. Act to see that all place names that have been changed to appease aborigines shall be changed back (for example, “Uluru” would revert to it’s correct name of “Ayer’s Rock”).
    3. Degazette the so-called Aboriginal flag and the so-called Torres Strait Islander flag (these people did not have flags, and their adoption of such a concept is cultural appropriation, and it is most offensive).
    4. Disband all government agencies that are specifically dedicated to aborigines.
    5. End all government programs that are specifically aimed at aborigines.
    6. Cease all funding that is specifically provided for aborigines.
    7. End any and all measures that are specifically designed to “help” aborigines.
    8. Overturn Mabo and tell the aborigines that this is Australia, and it does not belong to them, it belongs to *ALL* Australians (if the judges on the High Court don’t understand this, sack the lot of them and replace them with judges who do).
    9. Advise aborigines that 65,000 years of their supposed “culture” obviously hasn’t done them any favours, and that their so-called “wisdom” is a load of rubbish (just ask any of the long-suffering townspeople of Alice Springs).
    10. Tell the boards and senior management of corporations and sporting organisations who have been supporting the “voice” that they are keep their noses out of politics. If they won’t listen, penalise the individuals concerned: $50,000,000 fine and five years gaol (minimum).
    11. Remind the aborigines that this country was invaded and that they *lost*. These things have happened throughout history; if they can’t handle that, they should move to somewhere overseas.

    There is probably more that could be done, but the above should be a good start. Of course, Peter Dutton won’t be up for any of this, and we will no doubt continue our inexorable slide into the abyss…

    1. Also, as pointed out by former Labor MP/Minister Gary Johns, if benefits including government positions are allocated according to one race, Australians who identify as having Indigenous ancestry (many also have non-Indigenous ancestors) there must be DNA blood test evidence provided.

      Aboriginal groups are concerned about what they believe are too many fakes identifying as Indigenous to benefit.

      Gary Johns also said that if there was not race based benefits then of course DNA testing would not be necessary.

      On a slightly different subject, where does our money go when allocated by our governments for Indigenous Affairs purposes, close to $40 billion a year and then States contributions? There must be investigation and auditing conducted to discover answers.


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