Anthony Albanese has thrown his weight behind Pat Cummins for using his fame as one of the country’s biggest sports stars to push his ‘woke‘ agenda on issues like climate change and discrimination.
Speaking at a book launch on Monday, the prime minister lashed out at critics who branded the fast bowler ‘Captain Woke’ over his stance on a range of issues from climate change to the Black Lives Matter movement.
‘We’re so often told that sport and politics shouldn’t mix,’ Albanese said.
‘Patty Cummins has got a bit of advice lately, although I notice his critics have gone a bit quiet of late.
Albanese (pictured with Cummins last year) has thrown his weight behind the skipper’s use of his fame to push causes like climate activism
The PM (pictured with Cummins, his wife Becky and their son Albie last year) went out of his way to point out that the bowler’s critics ‘have gone a bit quiet of late’ after Australia won the ODI World Cup in India
‘Our sporting stars are, like every Australian, absolutely entitled to have a view on the big issues that face our nation, to use their platform and profile to champion causes close to their heart.
‘What’s more, sport itself can be a powerful vehicle for change and raising awareness about breaking down barriers of discrimination.’
The remarks came at the launch of former federal government minister John Brown’s autobiography, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Albanese is likely referring to Cummins’ stance on the failed Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum, which the skipper supported.
He and the Australian Test team also made headlines when they took a knee before the first ball of last summer’s series against the West Indies.
Cummins (pictured with wife Becky) has reportedly raised objections to Cricket Australia’s $40million sponsorship deal with Alinta Energy as part of his stance on climate change
However, the 30-year-old has also been photographed driving a petrol-guzzling SUV…
…and enjoying the perks of flying first class and here testing the business class beds on a Qantas A380 jet
Many fans slammed the gesture – which was made popular by the Black Lives Matter movement in America – as ‘woke’ and an example of ‘virtue-signalling’.
Cummins said the act was intended as a display in ‘support of equality’.
The 30-year-old sparked a public outcry when he reportedly raised concerns about Cricket Australia’s $40million sponsorship deal with Alinta Energy.
Critics have pointed out Cummins had been pictured flying first class and driving one of the world’s highest polluting luxury vehicles – a Range Rover – at about the same time as his objections went public.
He recently hit back at his critics when he was asked if the backlash over his opinions made him regret speaking out.
‘It either makes you change or if anything it probably has emboldened some of my views that this is a good thing,’ he said.
Albanese (pictured with cricket star Todd Murphy at the Prime Minister’s XI match on Wednesday) also called sport a ‘powerful vehicle’ for fighting discrimination after Cummins backed his failed Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum
‘You know, if I don’t stay strong in this and I pander to a loud minority, that’s not a good thing.’
Last year, Cummins reportedly raised ‘ethical objections’ about Alinta Energy’s sponsorship for the cricket team over its carbon pollution.
Cummins once featured in a TV advertising campaign for the brand’s call centres, where he was seen answering a phone call doing yoga.
Critics of the captain include 2GB broadcaster Ben Fordham and former federal opposition leader Mark Latham led the backlash when Cummins distanced himself from his team’s major sponsor.