During his acceptance speech as Australian of the Year in 2014 Adam Goodes wore a Recognise badge, and in the years following he’s consistently articulated his support for change to the constitution.
In 2017, and on the eve of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, his views haven't changed.
Speaking to NITV ahead of Reconciliation week and the Indigenous round of the AFL, Goodes said changing the constitution for him was a ‘no-brainer,’ but he said he will support whatever decision comes out of the discussions at Uluru.
“You gotta listen to our people, listen to our leaders,” he said.
“Hopefully we get some good feedback on what happens up there, and guidance on what we want, because as Indigenous people we really have to think about if we don’t want this, and if there’s no point to it.
“But if we do, then let’s fully support it… and then we can start to talk about sovereignty, talk about treaty; because that’s the next step from my point of view.”
Indigenous Round: ‘Be proud of who you are, and where you are’
Two years ago the former Sydney Swans forward made headlines when he performed a war cry dance after kicking a goal against Carlton during the AFL’s Indigenous Round. Some called the dance ‘offensive’ and ‘intimidating’ towards Carlton fans but other responses were fuelled by racism, like the defacing of his Wikipedia page with monkey pictures.
Goodes, who has been on the receiving end of racism throughout his career, said the dance was inspired by teenagers who had taught it to him and a way of showing his pride as an Aboriginal man.
Ahead of this weekend’s Indigenous round Goodes’ message was the same.
“It’s about celebrating who you are and where you come from,” he said.
“Being able to wear that jumper designed by my mum with the Indigenous designs on it was a very proud moment, and this is a great time to really celebrate the things about our culture that we love.”
But he had a word of advice for Indigenous players.
“If you’re looking to dance, maybe don’t throw any imaginary spears into the crowd,” he joked.
New goals: Closing the literacy and numeracy gap
Since retirement from the AFL, Goodes has been using his position as a David Jones ambassador to continue work with the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation.
Goodes is passionate about closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children, saying he took for granted his exposure to books at a young age.
“By the time I actually went to Primary School, I was ready for it,” he said.
“Whereas what we’ve learnt right now is most of our young Indigenous brothers and sisters aren’t ready, so we’ve gotta up skill them.
“And to up skill them, we’ve gotta up skill the facilitators that are teaching them and helping them.”