Two women, including a part-time staffer for the NSW Greens, have been bailed after allegedly defacing a Captain James Cook statue in Sydney's Hyde Park.
Charmaine Morrison-Mills, 27, and Greens staffer Xiaoran Shi, 28, appeared in Parramatta Bail Court on Sunday on charges of destroying or damaging property and possessing a graffiti implement.
They were both granted bail to appear in Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court on July 2 and are banned from entering Hyde Park.
Officers were alerted to graffiti on the statue about 4am on Sunday and arrested the two women nearby, police said in a statement on Sunday.
The women were allegedly found with several spray cans in a bag.
NSW Greens upper-house member David Shoebridge, for whom Shi works, said he was aware of the allegations.
"They were not engaged in employment at the time of the incident which occurred well outside of work hours," Mr Shoebridge said in a statement on Monday .
Historical monuments across the world have been toppled over the past two weeks as Black Lives Matter protesters march to call out racism following the May death of African-American man George Floyd in Minneapolis.
In Australia, people have defied health warnings amid the COVID-19 pandemic and turned out to protest systemic racism and indigenous deaths in custody.
Captain Cook in 1770 claimed possession of the entire Australian east coast for the British Crown despite the presence of indigenous Australians.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Sunday suggested the majority of NSW residents would be upset over the graffiti.
She doubled down on Monday, labelling the pair's alleged behaviour "un-Australian" as a similar act of vandalism was performed overnight on Saturday on a Captain Cook statue in east Sydney's Randwick.
"I urge people not to undertake it ... if you have a strong view, express it in a different way," Ms Berejiklian said.
Ms Berejiklian also demanded Mr Shoebridge condemn Shi's alleged behaviour.
On the appropriateness of continuing to memorialise Captain Cook in statue, Ms Berejiklian said: "We need to respect those milestones which have made a difference in our history."
"I'm proud of the fact we have the oldest continuing culture on the planet in our indigenous population, proud of the fact we have a colonial history, a migrant history, a history which respects our veterans."
Australian Associated Press