• A welcome to country takes place during the Indigenous round before the Big Bash League (BBL). (AAP)Source: AAP
Cricket Australia's Indigenous Advisory Committee says the decision to drop 'Australia Day' from its promotions was the right step forward, despite the Prime Minister's 'disappointing' comments.
Douglas Smith

21 Jan 2021 - 4:02 PM  UPDATED 21 Jan 2021 - 4:10 PM

The Co-chair of Cricket Australia's Indigenous Advisory Committee has responded to the Prime Minister's criticism of the governing body, who recommended to drop the term 'Australia Day' from it's promotions for three upcoming Big Bash matches.

Appearing on Rockhampton radio on Thursday morning, Prime Minister Scott Morrison lashed the decision.

"A bit more focus on cricket and a little less focus on politics would be my message to Cricket Australia," he said.

"I think that's pretty ordinary but that's what they're putting on their press releases."

He also said the governing body should pay attention to any backlash from fans opposed to the decision and reverse it.

But co-chair for CA's Indigenous Advisory Committee Justin Mohammed has backed the call.

"It’s definitely the right step forward," he told NITV News.

“It's disappointing [the PM's comments] because I know that what we are trying to do with Cricket Australia is, there’s certain dates of the year which has a lot of different meanings for people.

"I’m just hoping that people will see that, and that the other leaders of our country, like our PM, and others in politics, take this not so much that everyone has turned their back on Australia Day, but saying that we need to look at this day and see what we do with this day which is going to be inclusive, remembering and respecting the different things that have happened throughout history.”


'Purely about cricket'

Cricket Australia Director and co-chair of the Advisory Committee, Mel Jones, told the Sydney Morning Herald that the move was "purely about cricket".

"There was no politics in regards to changing the date or anything along those lines. The conversation was purely about, 'how do we help this day be as safe and respectful for everyone involved in cricket'," she said.

"A lot of the members said, 'it's the most unsafe day of the year they feel as an Indigenous person', yet they love cricket, so they still want it to be played because there's a wonderful opportunity for us to hear our Indigenous voices and hear all the wonderful stories come through."

In October last year ,the National Rugby League announced it would scrap playing the national anthem before State of Origin matches. Prime Minister Morrison personally called Australian Rugby League Commissioner Peter V'landys to voice his concern, and within two hours, the decision was reversed.

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