Australian cricket news: Counselling offered to players over Voice to Parliament vote

According to repeated polls, all signs indicate the proposed Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum will be defeated.

In the lead-up to Saturday’s referendum, a number of sporting organisations expressed support for the Yes vote, with 20 bodies releasing a statement in support of the Voice back in May.

That included the AFL, NRL and Cricket Australia, along with basketball, golf, rugby union and many more.

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Cricket Australia (CA) has now taken its approach to the landmark referendum a step further, according to CODE Sports.

The report states the Australian Cricketers’ Association has written to past and present players to let them know there are counselling services available if they experience any issues as a result of an expected No vote.

”It’s understood the ACA on Friday wrote to past and present players to remind them that they had access to counselling in the event the proposed changes failed to be endorsed by the Australian public,” writes Daniel Cherny.

The report adds players have been encouraged to make an informed decision on their vote and to respect their fellow cricketers.

Australia’s men’s team voted in the compulsory referendum in Chennai last week ahead of the side’s World Cup opener in India.

The Australian side has suffered heavy one-day losses to India and South Africa in its opening two matches to leave its World Cup hopes hanging by a thread.

Indigenous all-rounder Ash Gardner, who criticised a call to play matches on Australia Day earlier this year, last month implored people “to educate themselves” as much as possible before voting on the referendum.

CA chairman Mike Baird released a statement in May supporting the Yes campaign, referencing “cricket’s powerful and unique history with First Nations people”.

In the letter released the same month by collective sporting bodies, it implored “all Australians who love sport to listen with an open heart and an open mind through this historic moment”.

“Sport has always served as a unifying force for our diverse Australian society,” the letter read in part.

“Regardless of where we come from or what we believe in, sport brings people together in the spirit of achievement, community and celebration.

“Moreover, sport plays a significant role in reconciling Australia.

“It has long been a means for the inclusion and celebration of the incredible achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“This year, all Australians will have their say in a referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

“We, as a collective, support recognition through a Voice.”

There has been criticism in some circles of sport’s attempts to get involved in the Voice debate, including an attack in parliament from former Prime Minister Scott Morrison.

“While keenly interested in the NRL’s opinion on hip drop tackles and the six again rule, I respectfully won’t be deferring to the NRL for constitutional advice to guide my decision,” Morrison said in typically smug form.

Shortly after his stunning effort to help Penrith claim a third straight NRL premiership, Panthers skipper Nathan Cleary released a video supporting the Voice, which received a mixed response.

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