Steve Smith has voiced his desire to see the date of Australia Day change so all Australians feel included and can celebrate as one. It comes just a day after Pat Cummins created headlines by pushing for change.
The Aussie cricketer says in an attempt to better grasp the issue he spoke with Indigenous teammate Scott Boland, which resulted in him forming the view that the date needs to be changed to be more inclusive. "I was speaking to Scott Boland about this just the other day and as Australians, you want all Australians to celebrate that day," Smith said.
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"All Australians don't (with) the way it is at the moment. Maybe that is the way forward, (changing it) to have all Australians celebrating on that day."
Smith's position on the issue comes after controversy erupted when Cricket Australia confirmed it would avoid using the term 'Australia Day' on January 26 - the second day of the Brisbane Test against the West Indies. The decision led to New South Wales Premier Chris Minns and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese urging people to get past the controversial issue. "We just need to come together," Albanese told Sky News Australia.
On Tuesday, CA boss Nick Hockley defended the decision, saying it was done to be mindful of what the date means to different people across the country. "We are not in any way boycotting Australia Day, we're just mindful in our communications that it means different things to different people," he told Ben Fordham on 2GB Radio. "We appreciate that many Australians celebrate Australia Day and absolutely love watching the cricket on that day."
Cummins backed CA's decision not to market the match as an Australia Day Test, as it was previously called. "(The issue) is not new," Cummins said. "This conversation comes up every year and Cricket Australia has been pretty consistent the last four or five years with the way they approach it.
"In a sport like cricket, which has such diversity and millions of people supporting it and playing it, you get a good spectrum of the community and a good feel for what the community expects Knowing a couple of those players that you mentioned, you hear the stories and their feelings. So it does gather extra importance."
Pat Cummins wants to unite the nation on a different day
Cummins says his push for a change of date is solely due to the historical context around January 26 for Australia's Indigenous community. "I absolutely love Australia. It is the best country in the world by a mile," Cummins said.
"We should have an Australia Day, but we can probably find a more appropriate day to celebrate it. Once you start realising Jan 26 and why it is chosen, Australia Day is meant to be a celebration of everything Australia and our history. (So) we could choose a better date."
Jason Gillespie wants to see Australia Day date change
Former Australian fast bowler Jason Gillespie also endorsed a date change as a way of respecting those who feel negatively about January 26. "There is surely another day in the calendar that we can celebrate Australia Day,’" Gillespie said.
"I find it frustrating when people say it’s always been January 26 when history clearly shows it simply has not. We’ve had a number of different days as Australia Day over the journey. I don’t understand why people are so hung up on January 26 when it clearly is a day that First Nations people find difficult to get around and be positive about."
- with AAP
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