Collingwood’s 2023 AFL premiership captain Darcy Moore has revealed he’ll be voting Yes in the Voice referendum.
But the inspirational skipper has also hit out at those who want athletes to “shut up and play sport”, saying: “Athletes are human beings and citizens of the country too so they can exercise their right and say what they want to say.”
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Speaking on ABC’s Radio National Breakfast, Moore said the decision to vote yes was “pretty straightforward”, despite admitting the messaging from both camps was “hard to reconcile”.
He added that it “hasn’t really felt like the healthy discussion we probably hoped for from the start”.
“I’ll be voting yes. To me, I feel like it’s an intuitive next step and seems to be an important and practical way to help Indigenous Australians and recognise them in the constitution,” Moore said.
“There’s sort of nothing in there that I’m in the wording of the question that seems to be problematic to me. It all seems pretty straightforward. So I’ll be voting yes.”
When asked about the argument that a Yes vote would give Indigenous Australians a special status, Moore dismissed the idea that it would create division.
“The argument around division … to my mind there is already advisory bodies for Indigenous Australians that have come and gone as governments have changed.
“The mechanism has kind of already existed anyway, so by making it sort of permanent in the constitution, it’s just locking it in.
“So in that way it’s not anything new. It’s not like First Nations Australians are suddenly going to have all of these extra rights.”
When asked about people who hit out when sport and politics mix, Moore said that Australia doesn’t have a strong activist culture among athletes.
“There are people out there who just want you to shut up and play sport but we’ve seen all around the country, athletes are human beings and citizens of the country too so they can exercise their right and say what they want to say and they can do it in a really healthy way.”
The reveal comes hot on the heels of Penrith Panthers captain and grand final hero Nathan Cleary, who also revealed he was voting Yes.
And Moore added the next generation would naturally drive the change in social issues.
Moore said in the past five or six years, AFL players in particular are speaking out about mental health to destigmatise the issue.