Scott Morrison attacks Cricket Australia for decision to drop term 'Australia Day' from BBL promotions - ABC News

 proxy.yoo.workers.dev  01/20/2021 22:38:33 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has criticised Cricket Australia (CA) for its decision to avoid using the term "Australia Day" in Big Bash League promotions.

  • The move was a recommendation from the National Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Cricket Advisory Committee
  • Cricket Australia wants to encourage discussion of the issue
  • The move has been firmly approved by the game's players, but sparked criticism from the Prime Minister

Three Big Bash clubs will wear Indigenous jerseys and Cricket Australia decided to drop the term in a bid to normalise conversations over the date's history.

The move to abandon references to "Australia Day" prompted a rebuke from Mr Morrison, who is touring a refinery in Queensland on Thursday.

"I think a bit more focus on cricket, and a bit less focus on politics would be my message to Cricket Australia," he told radio station 4RO.

"I think that's pretty ordinary but that's what they're putting on their press releases."

He said Cricket Australia should listen to any backlash from fans opposed to the decision and reverse it.

The Sydney Thunder, Perth Scorchers and Melbourne Renegades will all wear their special strips in matches on January 23, 25 and 26.

A barefoot circle, Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony will also take place before some games, with CA leading the initiative backed by the clubs.

The moves form part of several recommendations by the sport's National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cricket Advisory Committee, with three games to be played on January 26.

"They thought it was pretty important to not remove cultural elements we have celebrated all season on a day like that," Cricket Australia's diversity and inclusion manager Adam Cassidy told AAP.

CA is well aware the issue is a sensitive one and is desperate for it not to prove divisive, but for it to encourage open discussion.

"When you are a business operating under a Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan, it does come with responsibility and accountability to lead on key reconciliation issues," Cassidy said.

"In an ideal world what we're trying to do is create a safe and inclusive environment for everybody."

Indigenous jerseys have been worn across different sports for some time, but it is the first time they will be used over the Australia Day period.

Prime Minister stands in a group, smiling and looking at camera while holding a can of drink.
Scott Morrison is currently on a tour of western Queensland.(ABC North West Queensland: Kelly Butterworth)

Mr Morrison said Australia Day was an important day to celebrate democracy but that also "you can't just airbrush things that have happened in the past".

"Australia Day is all about acknowledging how far we've come," he said during a Thursday press conference.

"When those 12 ships turned up in Sydney, all those years ago, it wasn't a particularly flash day for the people on those vessels either.

"What that day, to this, demonstrates is how far we've come as a country and I think that's why it's important to mark it in that way."

He said it was important to remain focused on Australia's future.

Player support

The move has been firmly approved by the game's players, with Sydney Thunder's Brendan Doggett championing the cause through his own Indigenous history.

"I hate conflict. So I am of the opinion if we can all merge forward together that's ideal," Doggett said.

"The way we're going to do that is by starting conversations and talking about it and acknowledging the history of what's happened.

"If we wear the kit and hopefully even start one conversation then that is a win."

The Thunder have long referred to the public holiday as the January long weekend and have been a leader in multicultural initiatives through the Thunder Cup.

Doggett, meanwhile, has grown increasingly aware of his Indigenous history in recent years, after only discovering his mother's family's links to the Stolen Generation around five years ago.

That, too, has changed his perspective on the day, which he says is now far different to when he was a carpenter in Queensland.

And it's with that perspective he believes it is possible to become more united, and that wearing the Indigenous jerseys could help prompt that.

"It makes me want to make sure that everyone's moving forward together.

"It's a pretty dark past but if we can move forward, together and united then in my opinion that's the best result."

With AAP

,

« Go back