For the first three days of this week one would be entitled to believe that nothing in the world was happening except a round-ball football match between two national teams playing in the semi-finals of the Women’s World Cup. Aussie captain Sam Kerr’s calf muscle was the centre of attention and venues all over the country were wheeling in giant TVs to show Wednesday’s match, even in the host city because the venue was sold out.
Naturally, our PM tried to muscle in on the affection for our team (the Matildas) by offering a public holiday if Our Girls won. (Never mind people trying to run small businesses – but that’s another story.)
England’s Lionesses beat our Matildas which is a shame but the BIG winner was women’s sport. The game was watched on TV by 11.15 million people nationally at prime time with an average audience of 7.13 million, making it the most watched TV program since the OzTAM measurement started in 2001. Bear in mind Australia’s population is 26 million. That’s incredible and goes to show women’s sport is worth watching. The aftereffects will be growing support for women’s sport at ground roots level – and that has to be a good thing.
Maybe we’ll be seeing more of other sports like netball, where Australia is the world champion. Maybe we’ll also see a proper Ashes series in women’s cricket, not the cobbled together mish-mash offered now.
Naturally, there was some mention of the football game on Facebook. I was… somewhat bemused by the attitude of some of the older English people commenting on the match. It was clear they thought football was a men’s game and that it was sad that all that interest had only come when women played a man’s sport.
Back in the fifties and sixties (when I was a girl) at primary school boys played Australian rules football in Winter and cricket in Summer. Girls played netball and softball. End of discussion. By the way, it wasn’t called netball then – it was women’s basketball. In high school, slightly wider options were available. Both sexes could play hockey or tennis but I don’t recall anyone at my high school playing soccer or rugby or basketball.
Harking back to what was said about football being a man’s sport, as I recall the major differences between hockey and football are that there’s a different ball and players use a stick. Positions and rules of play are essentially the same. I suppose smashing a very hard ball with a stick is considered by some to be more lady-like than kicking a ball with your foot. There’s a reason why hockey goalkeepers are kitted out in virtual armour.
Any international sport is going to be hard and tough and the Lionesses-Matildas game was both of those. But what stood out was no theatrics, no falling down to get a foul, no revolting spectators.
It was a great win-win for everybody. Even if we lost the match. Let’s hope that benign genie known as women’s sport is out of the bottle.
One thing that’s always hovering in Australia at the moment is the Voice referendum. I’ve written about this several times before. It’s about enshrining in the constitution the right of Aboriginal people to have a (separate) say in how the country is run. I explained more about that here.
Our current PM is hell-bent on getting this amendment to our constitution through by any means. He has obtained the support of a number of big businesses who have endorsed the Voice. Examples include the big supermarkets, the big banks, Rio Tinto, and Qantas. Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas, has had three of the airline’s jets repainted to include an endorsement for the Voice. That’s around $100,000 a pop of the shareholders’ money.
Of course, companies don’t have a vote and I wonder if the members of the boards of these organisations really know what they’re supporting, if they’ve actually read the Uluru statement from the heart which is the basis of the Voice, or if they’re really just genuflecting to the current government.
Please note, our PM admitted on a radio interview that HE has not read the full Uluru statement from the heart. He couldn’t see any reason why he should read anything more than the first page summary and yet he has committed, many times, to implementing the full statement from the heart.
Apart from enlisting the help of corporations, the Government is also funding the YES campaign but not the NO campaign. Moreover, there’s evidence that sites like Facebook are censoring those who support the NO campaign. Here’s a quote from journalist Peta Credlin in The Australian.
“On August 3, Sky News posted my night’s editorial on Facebook, substantiating the argument that the Uluru Statement is a lot more than just the PM’s one-page poster. A week later, the Big Tech censors blanked it out, plastering this statement where the video used to be – “False information. Checked by independent fact-checkers” – and a link to a document from a hardly unbiased partnership between the RMIT and the ABC.” [source]
This article (‘Land tax’: Secret document reveals demand for ‘percentage of GDP’ under Indigenous Treaty) is a good analysis of what the FULL Uluru statement proposes. It includes Peta Credlin’s Facebook-censored video on SkyNews. For anyone wanting to read the full statement, you’ll find the pdf here at the National Indigenous Australians Agency site. The document includes minutes of meetings held around the country. The actual 26-page statement starts at page 87. It’s worth a read, Aussies. You need to know what you’re voting for before you let that genie out of the bottle.
Genie in a bottle via Midjourney