Any moves to change or remove statues of James Cook or other early colonial figures are “tantamount to Stalinism” the Prime Minister has told Melbourne radio station 3AW.

The comments come in response to an article by Wiradjuri journalist and broadcaster Stan Grant this week, who called for a Sydney statue of Captain James Cook to be better contextualised to reflect the fact he did not ‘discover’ Australia.

Malcolm Turnbull dismissed calls for that and other statues to be removed or changed as a “Labor, Left, Green fringe” movement