Respect, justice, equality – top cricket that!

Andrew Robb, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, has just announced the federal government will provide $700,000 in funding “for a range of projects that will encourage communities to participate in the Australian way of life.”

This includes funding of $85 000 for CricKids Playing in Harmony, which is “an educational resource which will nationally promote the principles of respect, justice, equality, fair play, participation and friendship in schools through the game of cricket.”

I must watch tomorrow’s Ashes cricket Test match more closely to have a look at those principles of ” respect, justice, equality, fair play, participation and friendship” in action.

Of course, encouraging kids to playing cricket doesn’t have anything uniquely Australian about it, given that they play cricket in places like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, South Africa, the West Indies and New Zealand. In that sense it can be seen as encouraging multiculturalism, which can only be a good thing. In any case, I support more funding going to encourage participation in sport and recreation activities at the community level, whatever source it comes from.

Interestingly, the one uniquely Australian game – Australian Rules football – has had a lot more success than cricket at getting players from a range of cultural backgrounds. The contrast in Indigenous Australians’ respective participation levels in cricket and Australian football is particularly stark.

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  1. its not clear what the point of this post is. Bit “on the fence” – while the irony and half hearteed sarcasm seem to indicate a bit of a dismissive attitude, and by implication criticism it then meanders on to supporing basically any grant that encourges activity etc.

    Cricket, like swimming and tennis and golf requries space, resources and equipment, technique and training. Hence like all around the world minoroty or lower socio-ecomoonic status particpation in such sports has traditioanllly been limited – not relly surprising.

  2. Are you suggesting governments shouldn’t fund sporting and recreation activites, Tom?

    Or are you suggesting sport is somehow separate from society and therefore nothing to do with mutliculturalism, which is an inherent part of modern Australia?

  3. What about all those recalcitrant multicultural girls? Will we also be putting $85,000 aside for tap dancing facilities? Quilting circles? Walking in high heels classes?

    And what should be done about enclaves of multicultural, non-sporting nerds?

    Should we make cricket mandatory, like voting?

    Sport and similar government funded community activities are well worth the investment in my view, but cricket is a bit of a dodgy choice right now.

  4. Ian Chappell helped out some of the young long-term detainees at Baxter by giving them coaching and practice in cricket,Where it all leads is another question but it sure beats the official program which seems to have a deliberate intent of demoralising detainees.

    Somehow I doubt whether Robb had anything similar in mind. Robb’s plan sounds more similar to Douglas Darby’s a generation ago. Darby was an eccentric tory who managed to hang on to the state seat of Manly as an independent. His son Michael has run into a bit of notoriety here and there.

    Douglas’s idea was to introduce cricket to all those others (non-British Empire countries) who had not been exposed to its principles. It would make diplomacy so much easier. Somehow I doubt whether the survivors of the Bodyline Series would be all that agreeable to its virtues.

    OTOH it’s a pretty piddling amount compared with the $650 million+ blown on the Pacific Solution, which was never more than an election campaign stunt, And it probably makes more sense than the $55million spent on Workchoices trying to convince the punters that reduced working conditions are good for them (ie, that black is actually white).

  5. I’m a big fan of local governments spending money on sporting facilities. But why is the Federal Government’s Department of Immigration spending money on sport? What’s that sound? Yes, its politicians trashing the constitution again.

    Multiculturalism is an ideology. Like Socialism or Catholicism. The propagation of ideology should not take place on the sporting field.

  6. This isn’t promoting multiculturalism, it’s promoting good old ‘mother country’ assimilation. I’m not sure whether that will make Tom happier or not, or whether he’d be consistent and oppose using cricket to promote the ideology of assimilation too.

    Why do you think they picked cricket? Sure, it’s played in the Windies and the sub-continent, but in Australia it’s the ultimate whitey’s game.

    How on earth do you learn “justice and equality” through cricket?! Even before the yobbos and boofheads took it over, when the term “it’s not cricket” actually meant something, it wasn’t something which had anything to do with justice.

    By the way, I think multiculturalism is a description of social reality, not an ideology, but that’s a different debate.

  7. It night be instructuve for some of you leaping into the fray, to actually go to the website and read the wide range of grants, and that the process is one of application by community groups etc not initiation by Govt, although of course Govt then selcst where the money goes. Whether the prgroam is of any use is anotehr question.

  8. Everyone:
    As one who played cricket with a rough-carved board and a tennis ball and saw Aborigine kids play football bare-footed, I’m all for encouraging kids to play the sort of sport that is the antithesis of the unskilled dimwit thuggery which the commercial TV try to shove down our necks (no wonder kids turn away sport these days).

    Pardon me for being suspicious – and I do realize organizing and promoting things does cost money – but I can smell a whiff of handouts-for-pals, an aroma of pork-barrelling? The current regime has a track-record of handing over the taxpayers money to its own favoured Land-Rights-For-Gay-Whales clones ….. and in that I think they are way, way ahead of what those evil leftie socialist Laborites did when they were in government.

  9. “Why do you think they picked cricket? Sure, it’s played in the Windies and the sub-continent, but in Australia it’s the ultimate whitey’s game.”

    Spoken like a true idiot. Obviously you have never been to a cricket match in your life.

    Suburban cricket especially is a very multicultural sport. It is also very popular amongst Aboriginal Australians – Jason Gillespie is aboriginal.

    The reason you don’t see more Aboriginal cricketers on TV is simple – There are only 11 players in a cricket team, and the Australian team is the only team you will regularly see televised.

    In comparison, there are over 600 players in the AFL.

    Among our cricket club (5 teams, 60-70 members) we have 5 players from India (2 of whom are muslim), 3 aboriginal players, at least 10 players of meditteranean origin and 1 Maori player. And I live in one of the most ethnically homogenous areas of Perth.

    The only ethnic group who aren’t really into cricket so much are East Asians, which given that they make up nearly 10% of the Australian population makes things look a bit different. This will probably change in the future though, as The Chinese government has dedicated a public program to developing cricket in China.

    That said Chinese players aren’t unheard of – Richard Chee Quee played for many years with NSW.

  10. Obviously in Africa there are many good black players. The sad thing is that not so many have made it to the top level. Apart from Symonds, there is only Herschelle Gibbs and Mkaya Ntini from SA who have made the grade. Ashwell Prince is a benficiary of the affirmative action program, and a big reason why Kevin Piertersen is playing for England rather than SA.

    As the West Indies have shown though, there is no reason why Africans can’t be good at cricket. The same goes for AFL, one of the few football codes where all body types are competitive, from Peter Bell to Aaron Sandilands.

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