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.