Australian sports unite in support of Indigenous constitutional recognition

SYDNEY, May 26 (Reuters) – Twenty Australian sports organizations on Friday proclaimed their support for a referendum to constitutionally recognize Indigenous peoples, as the country marked “Sorry Day” when it acknowledges years of injustices against Indigenous peoples .

Sports including cricket, golf, motorsport, netball and badminton have pledged to support a proposed “Voice in Parliament”, an advisory committee that would advise lawmakers on issues affecting indigenous peoples.

Last week, Rugby Australia and the Australian Football League approved the referendum, due to be held between October and December, in which voters will be asked if they want to change the constitution to include the vote.

Former sportspeople including cricketer Jason Gillespie, footballer Jade North and netballer Catherine Cox read a statement in support of the referendum, bolstering the ‘Yes’ campaign, after some polls showed their lead was waning. tightened.

“By coming together to support the Yes case, the national sporting codes are sending a strong signal that this referendum is about the community and the things that uplift us as people,” said Dean Parkin of the Yes campaign.

Making up around 3.2% of Australia’s 26 million people, Aborigines were marginalized by British colonial rulers and are not mentioned in the 122-year-old constitution.

Although a majority of Aboriginal people support the Voice, some argue that it distracts them from achieving practical change and that it would not fully solve the problems affecting the community.

An indigenous opponent of the referendum, lawmaker Jacinta Nampijinpa Price, said sports organizations should “stay out of politics”, Sky News reported.

Also on Friday, Indigenous leaders gather in Uluru – often called the heart of Australia’s “Red Centre” – to mark the sixth anniversary of advocacy group, The Uluru Statement.

A landmark 2017 gathering of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people first called for the creation of a voice.

“Sorry Day” commemorates the thousands of Indigenous children who were taken from their families between the early 1900s and around 1970 as part of a government policy to assimilate them into white society.

Reporting by Renju Jose in Sydney; edited by Robert Birsel

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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