Steve Price has taken a swipe at the AFL following a memo calling on all 18 clubs to determine a position on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament was leaked.
The memo, sent by the General Manager of Inclusion and Social Policy Tanya Hosch, encouraged clubs to advise the AFL if it will support the Yes case ahead of the referendum.
“As the AFL will be considering this in the coming weeks, your advice on this will be gratefully received,” part of the memo said.
“This information is supplied to provide guidance regarding language to support building awareness of the Referendum during Sir Doug Nicholls Round in 2023.”
Price said he was “shocked” when he learned about the memo, before questioning why a football marketing body “requires such a person”.
“A senior executive has given AFL clubs until May 8, so a week away, to reveal before their Indigenous round if they will be ticking Yes on a Voice question that’s still being debated for a referendum without a date that is dividing Australia like no other referendum has,” he said.
Price said the memo “disgracefully” does not pose a question about whether the club might be backing Yes or No or not taking a position at all.
“It’s urging a Yes position to be taken,” he said.
“It will be fascinating to see if any of the clubs decline to reveal any position at all and why should they.
“I’m a member of an AFL club with 100,000 financial members… I contribute three of those 100,000 memberships.
“Is my club going to run a poll of its own financial members and sponsors at great expense to see if a majority of us want the club to push the Yes case on the Voice… I bet they won’t.”
Price also said he found it “fascinating” that the pro-Voice memo was leaked in the week that the Prime Minister announced funding for an AFL stadium in Hobart.
Anthony Albanese’s funding pledge of $240 million, which will be included in the May 9 budget, will pave the way for Tasmania receiving its own AFL team.
Premier Jeremy Rockliff’s government will also contribute $375 million towards the $715 million project, while the AFL will set aside $15 million.
Another $85 million is expected to be raised through residential, commercial and recreational activities involved in the redevelopment.
“You have to wonder if the two things might be linked somehow,” Price said.
“You want the stadium money, then you make sure your clubs and you the AFL get behind the Yes campaign we the Albanese government are running hard with.
“The AFL likely would have pushed the Yes case anyway but why wouldn’t you do the Governments bidding to get your hands on that sort of handout in what’s tipped to be a horror Budget next Tuesday.
“Sport and politics are never good bedfellows.”