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'Choose a better date': Cummins wants Australia Day moved as CA chief sledged for 'bizarre' trainwreck interview

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23rd January, 2024
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Australia’s cricket captain Pat Cummins says Australia Day should be moved from January 26, as Cricket Australia has decided against using the term during the Brisbane Test this week.

Test captain Cummins has chosen to speak out about the day in a media conference on Tuesday.

“I absolutely love Australia. It is the best country in the world by a mile,” Cummins told reporters.

“We should have an Australia Day, but we can probably find a more appropriate day to celebrate it.

“Once you start realising Jan 26 and why it is chosen, Australia Day is meant to be a celebration of everything Australia and our history.

“(So) we could choose a better date.”

Cummins was talking at a press conference to announce the the completion of a solar-energy project at the National Cricket Centre in Brisbane.

CA and Cricket for Climate have collaborated to install solar power at the NCC in a move that is expected to save $50,000 in energy costs in the first year while reducing the amount of carbon generated by the facility by approximately 398 tonnes each year.


Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley has defended his organisation’s decision to schedule Test cricket on Australia Day but confirms no mention of the reason for the public holiday will be broadcast to the crowd.

In a fiery interview on Sydney radio station 2GB, where Hockley was heckled and interrupted throughout by host Ben Fordham – who took a sly dig at Hockley’s British heritage as the interview wrapped up – the CA top dog stumbled over his answers.

Cricket Australia has scheduled day two of the Gabba Test on Friday, January 26. Several male and female international players have said that January 26 is a day of mourning for Indigenous Australians and they would prefer not to play on the date.

(The issue) is not new,” Cummins said. 

“This conversation comes up every year and Cricket Australia has been pretty consistent the last four or five years with the way they approach it 

“In a sport like cricket, which has such diversity and millions of people supporting it and playing it, you get a good spectrum of the community and a good feel for what the community expects. 

“Knowing a couple of those players that you mentioned, you hear the stories and their feelings. So it does gather extra importance.”


Hockley confirmed that fans would be allowed to bring Austalian flags and celebrate the national holliday as they please – but that no mention of Australia Day would be made through the ground’s public address system.

This has enraged some members of the community, including Fordham.

“We’re recognising that the public holiday is a fantastic day for everyone to come and enjoy cricket,’’ Hockley said.

“We’re not boycotting Australia Day, we want to play cricket on Australia Day, we’re just mindful that it means different things to different people.’’

Fordham asked Hockley if CA was “recognising Australia Day?”.

“We’re recognising that Australia Day is celebrated by lots and lots of people and people love watching the cricket and we’ve got a fantastic Test match,” Hockley replied.


Fordham said: “If it’s such a sensitive day and you’ve tied yourself in knots over it and that’s obvious listening to you now, why did you schedule it on Australia Day when you had some of these Indigenous players telling you not to?”

Hockley replied: “Our approach on Friday is completely consistent with what it’s been for the last four or five years.

“We appreciate the many Australians that celebrate Australia Day and love watching the cricket on that day.

“We are also conscious that others, including our elite female and male players, particularly those with Indigenous backgrounds, it’s a difficult day for them.

“What we’re trying to do is really to be respectful to everyone.”

Hockley was asked if there would be a mention of Australia Day on the PA system and replied: “I don’t believe so, no.


“We’re taking the same approach that we’ve taken over the last four or five years and taken on good advice.

“We want everyone to come along to celebrate Australia Day.”

Fordham sent Hockley on his way with a sly dig at the Birmingham-born administrator’s English background.

“All I’d say to you having lived in this country my whole life is I think Australians are mature enough to be able to hear the words Australia Day on Australia Day. That’s something you guys can consider for 2025.”

Fordham concluded: “It seems so bizarre. They had Indigenous players saying don’t schedule games on Australia Day because it’s a sensitive day for us. So they ignore that warning. They schedule them and then say ‘oh you can come along and celebrate Australia Day but there’s one thing we won’t be mentioning on the day – Australia Day.”