Andrew Gaze has condemned Gina Rinehart for failing to distance herself from her father’s comments about Indigenous Australians.
The $15 million Netball Australia sponsorship fallout with Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting stems from comments made by Lang Hancock in the 1980s.
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Hancock Prospecting pulled the plug on the lucrative partnership on Saturday, leaving the sporting organisation on the brink of financial crisis.
Indigenous player Donnell Wallam was said to be uncomfortable wearing a uniform with the company’s logo after Hancock made the offensive comments in the 1984 documentary Couldn’t be Fairer, eight years before his death.
“Those that have been assimilated into earning good living and earning wages among the civilised areas and have been accepted into society and can handle society, I’d leave them well alone,” he said at the time.
“The ones that are no good to themselves … I would dope the water up so that they were sterile and would breed themselves out in the future, and that would solve the problem.”
Now Gaze, Australian basketball royalty, has come out swinging, calling out Rinehart for failing to distance herself from the comments.
Gaze’s scathing critique comes on the heels of Anthony Mundine labelling the mining magnate’s move to pull the sponsorship money as a cop out.
Gaze echoed the same sentiment, stating if they had of come from somebody close to him he would have had something to say about it.
“She (Gina Rinehart) could have apologised for her father’s comments, distanced herself from them and told us that she doesn’t believe those things. Instead, she pulled her money out,” he said.
“I am not blaming Gina Rinehart for her father’s comments, but what I don’t understand is why she won’t very publicly disassociate herself from them,” Gaze said on SEN The Run Home.
“(She should say), ‘I love my dad, but (that was wrong)’.
“If my dad had said that, or if my uncle, or anyone associated with me, or if my friend said it, (I would say), ‘I love this person, I’m still going to love him, but I’m going to educate him, I’m going to say, no, that is not the right way to deal with that issue, it is actually vile what you’ve said’.”
“If you can’t reconsider that, then I’m going to question our friendship, if you’re going to maintain that view, then you’re not a friend of mine.
“Let’s talk about it, let’s discuss it, let’s figure it out, but if you can’t come to the conclusion that sterilising human beings is actually a good thing, then you’re no friend of mine.”
While a string of politicians including Jacqui Lambie and Barnaby Joyce condemned the netball team as being ungrateful, ordinary Australians took to social media to question why Rinehart still hadn’t apologised or distanced herself from her father’s comments.
“If I can be held accountable for the actions of every South Sudanese person in Australia, then Gina Rinehart can acknowledge the actions of the man she inherited her fortune from,” wrote Melbourne-based South Sudanese artist, Atong Atem.
“It would amount to ABSOLUTELY nothing without action. Literally folks are asking her to do good PR via empty gesture but it’s only fair.”
Retired soccer player and human rights activist Craig Foster quoted an ABC article that referenced one of Netball Australia’s initial requests of Rinehart before the sponsorship deal was axed.
“That an apology be made or at least some distance be put between Lang Hancock’s genocide comments and the values of the current leadership of Hancock Prospecting, led by Gina Rinehart,’” he quoted in a tweet.
“Surely must be a requirement of every associated sporting body,” he added.