Rugby Australia buys full page ads in Nine mastheads in support of the Voice

Rugby Australia is backing the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, announced through the purchase of full-page advertisements in The Sydney Morning Herald and The Australian Financial Review.

The advertisement explained why the sporting body will support the Yes vote in this year’s referendum, as it noted supporting the Voice was “about union and not division”.

Rugby Australia is the latest major Australian sporting code or organisation to throw its support to the Voice, with others including the NRL, Football Australia, the Australian Olympic Committee and Tennis Australia, while the AFL has formally joined the group today.

A report from the Herald said the organisation’s formal position had been in the works for several months, and Rugby Australia had hired Collins and Partners’ Simon Collins to help write the statement.

Rugby Australia’s advertisement as appeared on The Australian Financial Review

“What business does a sporting body have, you might ask, making political statements? And what qualifies rugby, of all sports, to talk about unification?” the statement reads.

“We’ve rarely spoken in unison in the past. And the Rugby Australia board certainly doesn’t claim to speak for anyone else now. But the proposed referendum on the Voice to Parliament is too important a contest to watch in silence.

“And we know we aren’t the only sports body which believes the aims of the referendum transcend any rivalries. Because whatever pollies and pundits say, what it comes down to is a principle ordinary Australians already apply, every day, in every aspect of their lives. A level playing field.”

The statement continued with some historic events like the abolition of The White Australian Policy, the confirmation of the democratic rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in 1967, and Rugby Australia standing up against apartheid South Africa.

“The bottom line is that our Constitution still doesn’t recognise the First Peoples of Australia or give them the voice they deserve. The playing field could still be more level,” the statement read.

“If we’re ever going to achieve true union as a nation, we must take every opportunity we have to close the gap which still separates so many of us. Provision for an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in our Constitution is long overdue. Let’s get it over the line.”

On the ad placement, a Nine spokesperson told Mumbrella: “Nine does not have a corporate position on the Voice and we will accept advertising from both sides of the Voice campaign.”

Nine last month told Mumbrella the company would be covering the referendum in a “balanced and independent way” across its editorial operations spanning publishing, television and audio.

The partially government-funded SBS has confirmed its channels, including NITV will remain impartial. The ABC is also required to be neutral.

News Corp told Mumbrella at the time that its individual titles would “continue to cover the debate on the Voice to inform their audiences on the issues”.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.