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‘It’s not for them to say’: States lash CA over Australia Day policy

Sinclair, a corporate lawyer, told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age on Tuesday the South Australian board objected to CA’s stance.

“I’m probably of the view that it’s not really for CA to say what is or what is not an Australia Day game,” he said. “If the people of Australia change their mind they change their mind. But at the moment it’s Australia Day. Our country’s history may not be perfect but there is lot to celebrate.”

Dan Christian hit back at Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his comments about Cricket Australia’s change in policy about Australia Day.

Dan Christian hit back at Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his comments about Cricket Australia’s change in policy about Australia Day.Credit:Getty

Sinclair’s comments came as Cricket NSW also expressed opposition to CA’s position on Australia Day in a note to delegates.

“Whilst we understand many people do hold an opinion on the matter, the decision in regard to the date and naming of Australia Day is not a decision for CNSW to make,” a CNSW spokesman said.

“We will therefore not be giving directions to our staff about how they should refer to Australia Day other than how it is currently officially referred to.“

The eight BBL teams are owned by the state associations but in most cases they are run autonomously. The result in the case of the Australia Day controversy is that Sydney Sixers, who played Melbourne Stars at the MCG on Tuesday night, have backed CA even though CNSW is against head office. The other Sydney franchise, the Thunder, have also quietly omitted Australia Day references from promotional material for January 26 games in recent years.

Action from the Australia Day clash between the Scorchers and Heat. Inset, SACA president Andrew Sinclair.

Action from the Australia Day clash between the Scorchers and Heat. Inset, SACA president Andrew Sinclair.Credit:Getty

Stars general manager Nick Cummins last week said the Melbourne team was not prepared to make such a change without more extensive consultation with its participants, fans, cricket associations and local Indigenous groups so they “don’t feel like it’s been imposed on them by Cricket Victoria”. But Sinclair has taken an even harder line amid backlash from the SACA membership base.

“We’re a membership body with 25,000 members and they say to the SACA board, ‘What are you doing? How can you decide that it’s not Australia Day?’” he said. “We say, ‘It had nothing to do with us’. How have we landed in this position when it doesn’t seem representative of the six member states?”

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CA has won endorsement from players including Indigenous all-rounder Dan Christian, who reacted to Morrison by saying the sport was “leading the way because your government won’t”.

Usman Khawaja, the first Muslim to play Test cricket for Australia, also publicly supported CA, as did the country’s only Indigenous Test player in the men’s game, Jason Gillespie.

A CA spokeswoman said there were representatives of each state association on the First Nations Advisory Committee which made the recommendation. But Sinclair said he was not impressed with the process or the outcome.

“I can assure you the SACA board had no knowledge of it until it hit the public domain,” he said. “Our state is certainly of the view that this is Australia Day. We do the national anthem and we do Welcome to Country.”

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