Indigenous cricket star’s Voice plea to Australians

    Indigenous cricket superstar Ashleigh Gardner has urged Australians to do their research and be informed before voting in the Voice to Parliament referendum.

    Gardner represents a shamefully under-represented demographic of Australia’s national sport, as one of only four Aboriginal people to ever play Test cricket.

    The superstar all-rounder – a potential future captain of her country – says it would be inappropriate for her to try and influence how other Australians vote but appealed for people who ‘don’t know’ what the debate is about, to educate themselves before D-Day arrives.

    “It’s obviously up to every individual to make their own educated decision on it and it’s not for me to say, or to tell people what to vote for,” Gardner told this masthead as Cricket Australia marked 30 days until the start of the new Women’s Big Bash season.

    “The most important thing is for people to make educated decisions rather than just going, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do, so I’m just going to vote for A or B.’

    “There’s so many great resources and articles to read or videos to watch to help your decision, whether that is for a yes or a no.

    “I think it’s important for people to actually go out there and educate themselves for how much they need to make the best decision they can … rather than just making a spur of the moment decision.”

    Gardner revealed Australia’s national women’s players were spoken to about the Voice last Monday by Cricket Australia’s Head of Social Impact and Sustainability, Megan Barnett-Smith.

    Cricket Australia has publicly supported the Yes vote, but the message to its own athletes has centred more around education.

    “We had a good discussion with Megan … she spoke to us about the different resources we have around us. Whether it’s having a conversation with her around it or sharing articles to go and read yourself,” Gardner said.

    “It’s not you making a decision because someone else has made that same decision, it’s purely individual and it’s all about the education as to why there is a ‘yes’ and why there is a ‘no.’”

    Gardner has been an outspoken advocate for changing the date of Australia Day from January 26, calling out her own employer’s Cricket Australia for scheduling international cricket on a day of mourning for her people.

    Being a voice on social issues has not been easy, but Gardner has learned to accept that being a true leader is not about always doing what’s popular and it’s a strength which has her well placed to one day be considered as Australian captain.

    However, it’s not a role she is coveting.

    “If that ever arose and they ever said, ‘would you like to do it,’ of course I’d say yes, but it’s not really an aspiration, I don’t strive to want to do that,” Gardner said.

    “I just want to play as many games as I can for my country.”

    Gardner is not just an important voice in Australian sport, but she is a proactive influence of change in indigenous communities.

    The 26-year-old launched The Ashleigh Gardner Foundation earlier this year which is aiming to improve school attendance and nutrition for Aboriginal kids in regional areas, and has already started up at a school in Dubbo.

    Gardner said she wants to leave a legacy that goes beyond her playing career.

    “Sport is such a short part of my life and ultimately I want to leave a legacy long beyond my career,” she said.

    “I want to make sure I’m inspiring the next generation, especially of Aboriginal kids to show that there is a real path for them to achieve whatever it is they want to achieve.”

    Source link

    Related articles



    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Share article

    Latest articles


    Subscribe to stay updated.