Background Buzz – the “Voice to Parliament” campaign – 28 May 2023



Okay sports fans, on “Background Buzz” today I want to share with you how sporting legends and leaders from more than 20 of Australia’s major sports, came together in support of the “Voice to Parliament” campaign.

So if you’ve been living under a rock, Australia is holding a referendum on whether to have an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representative, or Voice in their federal parliament later this year.

So 21 sporting organisations penned an open letter to Australian sports fans, which was released last Friday by Australian sporting greats such as, Jade North (football), Jamie Pittman (boxing), Andrew Gaze (basketball), Cath Cox (Netball), Mal Meninga (rugby league), Jason Gillespie (cricket) and Eddie Betts (AFL) at a combined event in Sydney and Melbourne.

Here’s what AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan had to say in answer to questions from the media: Was it a unanimous decision from the AFL Commission to support the Voice?

“Every decision the Commission makes is unanimous. I’ve been on the Commission for a decade and I don’t think anything has gone to a vote. There’s discussion and decisions are made and it was a unanimous decision.”

What does this signal? “I hope that it’s a signal for sport that we see our role as a unifying force. The fact we speak with one Voice I think is important.

“I think it’s also important to note – and it was said today – it’s not to lecture anyone. People need to make their own decisions, but it’s just a view about where the leadership of the sports stand.”

People say sport and politics don’t mix. “I’d say we are community organisations. We are required and expected a lot of the time for community leadership. We get criticised when we don’t. I don’t think you can pick and choose.

People want us to be community leaders, our supporters do and we believe we are. When you’re asked to do that a lot of times, you need to do that consistently.

“We don’t lead on every issue and we don’t lecture people. I think people, if you want to be a member and you want to come and you want to follow a game, people need to say we’ve got a leadership stance, that’s all we’re doing on this.”

Will the AFL make its stance known at games? “No. We put out a statement last week … I think we’re going to then be good to our point where we say we’re not there to lecture people.

“We say this is what the leadership of the AFL believes, this is what the AFL believes and then it’s for people to make their own views.”

I specifically chose what the AFL CEO McLachlan had to say because Australian Rules or Aussie Footy is easily the biggest football code in Australia and they still have big problems with racist fans attacking indigenous players.

And this guy McLachlan is one of the smartest leaders in Sport.

For I’m Culden Kamea – Mahalo, vinaka and thank you. Please hit the subscribe button below if you would like to receive more Pasifika sports highlights on Breakfast Bites. And tank you all too mas for all your love and support.  

Mahalo, vina’a and tank you all too mass for all your love and support.

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