Do Australians understand the history of colonisation in our country? Do we understand what happened to the Aboriginal people after 1770? Do we recognise the harm done to Aboriginal people since their country was invaded, then and now?
If the Prime Minister is a guide to Australian sentiment and knowledge, the answer is a flat no to all three questions.
And that matters, because now is the time to accelerate our understanding. Attending Black Lives Matter protests or pulling down statues of Captain Cook (what's with ignoring the statues of Arthur Phillip?) is one thing. But making a measurable difference to the lives of First Nations Australians is what really matters, and you can't do that unless you understand the history of colonisation in this country and its impacts. Especially if you're a politician.
So, first question in our quick quiz. True or false: "There was no slavery in Australia."
The Prime Minister Scott Morrison was confident of the answer when he spoke to Ben Fordham on 2GB on Wednesday.
"Australia when it was founded as a settlement, as NSW, was on the basis that there'd be no slavery ... and while slave ships continued to travel around the world, when Australia was established yes, sure, it was a pretty brutal settlement. My forefathers and foremothers were on the First and Second Fleets. It was a pretty brutal place, but there was no slavery in Australia," he said.
That statement is false.
Aboriginal people, for example, were forced into indentured labour. They had no power over their own destiny. In many ways, they continue to be enslaved.
Lara Watson, Indigenous officer for the ACTU, who also oversees the First Nations Workers Alliance, is shocked by Morrison's claims. She wants to remind the Prime Minister of the wages stolen from Aboriginal workers, denying them independence and freedom. But she also wonders whether Morrison has forgotten the practice of blackbirding.
Morrison's claims are false, but not peculiar to him. Too many Australians are attached to the idea of a perfect Australia, one which casts our past in the best possible light.
Watson's great-great-grandfather was stolen from Noumea, to work cutting sugar cane in Mackay. The conditions were so hard and so violent he ran away, and the nearby Birri Gubba tribe hid him. He married a Birri Gubba woman and now their great-great-granddaughter fights to stop slavery.
Watson says slavery continues with the federal government's community development program in remote communities - where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers are paid the equivalent of JobSeeker for a full-time job. There is no requirement for this work to consider health or safety.
"It's a modern-day form of slavery," she says.
Morrison's claims are false, but not peculiar to him. Too many Australians are attached to the idea of a perfect Australia, one which casts our past in the best possible light. Bain Attwood, a Professor of History at Monash University, describes it this way: "They seem to think you can only deeply love your nation and identify with it if there is no dark past," he says.
I badgered Attwood on his sickbed for an insight into Morrison's view of slavery. He said settler Australians don't seem to be able to assimilate or incorporate bad news into their understanding or memory of our nation. We want to ignore the uncomfortable.
"Australians are only just beginning to understand what settler Australia has done. The Prime Minister perhaps doesn't have much knowledge of the dark side of Australian history, and perhaps even actually believes it - that's an indictment of Australian education if that's the case."
Or perhaps an indictment of the Prime Minister's attention span during those lessons.
Morrison is erasing the history of Australia. That's why he wanted to spend a zillion dollars on Cook statues and memorials which so many others want to tear down.
As Attwood argues in his book Possession: Batman's Treaty and the Matter of History, these memorials are not only a means of remembering but a way of forgetting that Australia had been and was home to many Aboriginal people, and that those who build the memorials or their forebears had dispossessed them.
But the facts of history matter more today than ever. Emma Christopher, an Associate Professor of History at UNSW, has spent years researching slavery in Australia. Her response to the Prime Minister's claims?
She says he is "very, very wrong". As Christopher points out, South Sea Islanders were routinely stolen from their homes and set to work in Queensland, building the sugar industry. Some of the earliest plantations were built using compensation money given to owners to make up for the bodies they lost when slavery - under that name, anyhow - was abolished.
"The problem is that the Atlantic slave complex has become all-pervading. We believe that's the standard of slavery, chattel slavery, where the slave owner owns the body of the slave. Of course there are other kinds of slavery in the world," she says.
Perhaps Morrison just doesn't understand what slavery looks like unless it's the stereotype of American enslavement.
"By the 1860s, we had developed a racial ideology of what labour should look like for sugar and cotton, and we've never escaped from that," says Christopher. "Many Australians have a complete disconnect from the reality of how Australia is tied into slavery, its legacies and our perceptions."
And let's not ignore modern-day slavery. For years in Australia, brilliant anti-slavery campaigners have worked hard to stop the trafficking into Australia of sex workers and hospitality workers, who have no autonomy or agency over their bodies.
Someone will have to take Scott Morrison aside and tell him the facts. Explain all the ways in which slavery built this nation - and how his government continues some of these practices. Explain why we need no more statues of Captain Cook or statues of those who followed him. Let's spend the money earmarked for Cook memorials on educating our politicians about our First Nations people.
We have to stop rewriting Australia's history - and so must the Prime Minister.
- Jenna Price is an academic at the University of Technology Sydney.