Motorsport Legend Says Business Support for The Voice Meant to Appease Government

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Motorsport legend, Larry Perkins, says sporting organisers are only supporting changing Australia’s Constitution—to entrench Aboriginal interests—because it will lock in future business opportunities with the government.

Perkins, who has competed in Formula One, V8 Supercars, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, was critical of the decision by Motorsport Australia to join with 20 other sporting leagues to back Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s push for The Voice.

The Indigenous Voice to Parliament will include a change to the preamble of Australia’s Constitution and will embed a near-permanent advisory body into government to make “representations” on all matters related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Prime Minister Albanese has been busy garnering public support for the referendum—due later this year—including from businesses and major sporting codes.

Epoch Times Photo
Andrew Dillon, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan, and Tennis Australia CEO Craig Tiley speak to Eddie Betts during a media opportunity with Australian sports governing body representatives who will support The Voice, at CitiPower Centre in Melbourne, Australia on May 26, 2023. (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

This comes after 21 Australian sporting leagues together pledged their support for The Voice in Sydney and Melbourne on May 26.

“We commit to using our platforms to lead conversations that promote respect, trust, and goodwill between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians,” the heads of the organisations said in a joint letter.

They include the Australian Football League (AFL), Cricket Australia, the National Rugby League (NRL), Rugby Australia, Tennis Australia, Netball Australia, Football Australia, Motorsport Australia, the National Basketball League, Golf Australia, the PGA of Australia, Australian Taekwondo, Badminton Australia, Baseball Australia, Boxing Australia, Deaf Sport Australia, No Limit Boxing, Sport Inclusion Australia, NRL Touch Football Australia, Triathlon Australia, and Wheelchair Rugby League Australia.

Perkins said it would be no surprise that every one of those bodies received “a couple of government dollars” and grants.

“Money talks all the time, and Motorsport Australia is also going to get some dollars,” he told 2GB radio. “That would have been discussed somewhere along the line or on their minds.”

Epoch Times Photo
22: (L-R) Larry Perkins poses for a photo with the winner of the Larry Perkins Trophy Jamie Whincup driver of the #1 Red Bull Holden Racing Team Holden Commodore ZB during race 4 for the Supercars Australian Grand Prix round at Albert Park in Melbourne, Australia on March 22, 2018. (Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

“These outfits have no right to involve themselves in politics. Motorsport Australia certainly never sought any opinions of its stakeholders [and] I spoke to many of them today.”

Perkins said that while he supported holding a referendum, the sporting organisers should not take sides in the debate.

“It’s a divisive subject before we even start, it’s divided by race. It will do nothing for the Indigenous population at all. And be honest, they’ve already got a say over everything that happens in Australia, and they can be elected like anyone else—[in fact] they are elected.”

A New Type of ‘Crony Capitalism’

Australian corporations, worker’s unions, universities, media outlets, sporting codes, and even Big Pharma have declared their support for the Labor government’s Indigenous Voice to Parliament, while those who disagree often opt out of speaking publicly.

Eric Louw, an expert on affirmative action policies, said corporate support for The Voice was just another example of crony capitalism—where large organisations thrive through collusion with the political class.

“Executives like the idea of taxpayer dollars flowing into their businesses as a result of collaboration in the preferred projects of politicians (whether this is climate change or Indigenous initiatives),” the former member of the African National Congress told The Epoch Times via email.

“If The Voice succeeds, Aboriginals will have a lot of say over the business environment,” he added. “So I see a new kind of crony capitalism growing, say the right things now so that in the future good opportunities will come your way.”

While former NBA player Andrew Bogut said the same scenario played out during the pandemic.

“We saw it with COVID and elections. Sporting organisations and clubs have to bow to the government and promote these causes because they know if they don’t, the government won’t give them grants for stadiums, facilities, and junior expansion,” he previously told The Epoch Times.

“I think it’s blatant ‘sportswashing,’ whether you agree with The Voice or not, I don’t think it should be promoted through sport,” he added.

“I would argue all the money being spent on the Voice, promoting the legislation, and [money for] the lawyers who have to write it—that money would do much better to go to actual Indigenous communities and build sporting facilities. Actually, have some nice things in those communities that young kids can aspire to.”

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