Thursday 18 May 2023
Article by Nathan Williamson for Rugby Australia
Rugby Australia’s board have announced its support for the Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
The statement was released on Thursday, with the organisation joining other codes in backing the proposed referendum later this year.
“The Voice is not about division. It’s about union,” it reads.
“…The bottom line is that our Constitution still doesn’t recognise the First Peoples of Australia or give them the voice they deserve,” reads RA’s 511-word statement. “The playing field could still be more level. If we’re ever going to achieve true union as a nation, we must take every opportunity we have to close the gap which still separates so many of us. Provision for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in our Constitution is long overdue.
“We are, after all, one of four footy codes in Australia. Four codes which compete fiercely for audiences, funding, even players. We’ve rarely spoken in unison in the past. And the Rugby Australia Board certainly doesn’t claim to speak for anyone else now. But the proposed referendum on the Voice to Parliament is too important a contest to watch in silence. And we know we aren’t the only sports body which believes the aims of the referendum transcend any rivalries.
“Because whatever pollies and pundits say, what it comes down to is a principle ordinary Australians already apply, every day, in every aspect of their lives.”
RA Chairman Hamish McLennan clarified the position, believing it was necessary for the organisation to make a statement after in-depth discussions with various stakeholders.
“We’ve discussed for many months and we arrived at this position that we needed to make a statement,” McLennan said via ABC Radio.
“We think it’s important to support the voice…the board felt that we need to form a judgement and make a statement.
“We want to address the inequalities Indigenous and First Nations people face every day and we felt giving a Voice to parliament makes sense.”