Wallabies great calls out PM over Australia Day double standards

Andrew Reid
·5-min read
Wallabies legend David Pocock is seen on the right next to a photo of Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
David Pocock has hit out at the PM's suggestion that sport should stay out of politics. Pic: Getty

Wallabies great David Pocock has posted a series of photos of Scott Morrison to highlight the hypocrisy behind the Prime Minister's Australia Day comments.

Mr Morrison sparked an angry backlash on Thursday while discussing Cricket Australia's decision to stop using the term 'Australia Day' for the trio of Big Bash matches being played on the January 26 public holiday.

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As well as doing away with the 'Australia Day' wording, three BBL clubs will wear Indigenous jerseys and one game will have a barefoot circle, Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony.

The initiatives come from CA’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cricket Advisory Committee (NATSICOC), in a bid to normalise conversation about January 26’s history.

The Prime Minister told CA to stick to cricket, while Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton labelled it a “token attempt” and urged the sport to reverse the call.

"It's not cricket. That would be my reaction," Mr Morrison told reporters this week.

“Australian cricket fans would like Cricket Australia to focus a lot more on cricket and a lot less on politics.”

The PM's comments have come under fire from many Australian sporting stars, with Pocock the latest to weigh in on the debate.

Pictured here, Prime Minister Scott Morrison gives a thumbs up at a Cronulla Sharks event.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison is seen here at a Cronulla Sharks NRL event. Pic: Twitter

The Wallabies great - who retired from rugby last year - posted a number of pictures of the Prime Minister at sporting events to highlight the double standards behind Mr Morrison's calls for sport to stay out of politics.

Pocock uploaded a photo of the Prime Minster wearing his Cronulla Sharks gear for a public event, as well as pictures of Mr Morrison with the Australian cricket team, the Prime Minister’s XIII rugby league team and the Prime Minister’s XI cricket side.

The retired rugby star accompanied the photos with a message about how politician's frequently use sport for their advantage.

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“If you’re a young or aspiring athlete: here in Australia we hear a lot of talk — often from our Prime Ministers — that sport and politics shouldn’t mix,” Pocock wrote on Twitter.

“That’s just not true and politicians know it — that’s why they use sport for their own political agenda.

“Australia even uses it for diplomacy.

“Politics is about our shared life together, about who we are and who we want to be. You have as much right as anyone to be part of the conversation, many issues at hand will affect your life and future more than the politicians making the decisions

“The issues our generation faces are real and serious and the decisions our politicians make today will affect what kind of future we have. We all have a role to play.”

PM’s comments slammed by Indigenous stars

Mr Morrison also sparked anger after saying Australia Day - also known as Invasion Day - was an important date to reflect on how far the country has come.

He spoke about the experience of those aboard the First Fleet, who raised the Union Jack for the first time on January 26, 1788 after arriving the previous week.

“On Australia Day, it’s all about acknowledging how far we’ve come,” Mr Morrison told reporters on Thursday.

“You know, when those 12 ships turned up in Sydney, it wasn’t a particularly flash day for the people on those vessels either.”

The PM's comments were slammed by several Indigenous sporting stars, including Cathy Freeman and Anthony Mundine.

“You can’t compare the experiences of those 12 ships that first arrived to this country to what their arrival meant for all generations of Australia’s First Nations people!” Freeman wrote on Twitter.

Seen here, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Cathy Freeman.
Cathy Freeman took aim at Scott Morrison after the PM compared the plight of first settlers to that of Australia's Indigenous people. Pic: Getty

Mundine praised CA's decision to do away with the divisive 'Australia Day' term, urging the Prime Minster and those that disagree with its removal to do some research into why it is so painful for many Indigenous Australians.

“It was a great initiative by Cricket Australia and what they wanted to do, but for ‘ScoMo’ to come out and rebel against that, it shows you where the country is at,” Mundine told Nine.

“If we’re going to move forward for a better Australia, you have to do your history, research the anthem, research the flag, Australia Day … that day blood was spilled and genocide was rife.

“The anthem and flag and actual day itself, to me it’s a dark, dark day.

“We have to change the date and have a day when we can celebrate the new Australia and moving forward rather than the old Australia and the dark past.”

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