The backlash to Scott Morrison’s controversial Australia Day comments has continued with Anthony Mundine blasting the Prime Minister.
The former rugby league star turned boxer praised Cricket Australia for omitting all references to Australia Day ahead of its Big Bash League matches on January 26, and attacked Morrison for criticising the governing body’s decision.
Morrison told CA it should stay out of politics and also infuriated many, including Indigenous icon Cathy Freeman, when he said: “You know on Australia Day, it’s all about acknowledging how far we’ve come. 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.”
Mundine is never shy of voicing his opinion and took a swing at Morrison for not respecting the history behind January 26 and its significance for 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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Australian cricketers including Megan Schutt, Usman Khawaja and Dan Christian were among other high-profile athletes offended by Morrison’s remarks.
Christian, a proud Wiradjuri man playing for the Sydney Sixers in the BBL, tweeted: “@ScottMorrisonMP read the room Mr Prime Minister. @CricketAus are leading the way because your government won’t. There’ll be millions of kids watching our @BBL games on the 26th January, and they’ll see us taking a knee against racism, and promoting inclusion for all. Take note.”
Khawaja responded to Christian’s tweet, adding: “I think for ScoMo to say to CA ‘a bit more focus on cricket and a little less focus on politics’ is pretty petty. CA could say the same thing vice versa but what’s that going to solve. Someone needs to take action to figure out what works for us as a nation.”