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First Nations People Lead The Way In September

Written by: Ned K. on 2 October 2023


(Source: 6PR )

The last Saturday in September 2023 was the day of the Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final between Melbourne-based Collingwood Magpies and Brisbane-based Brisbane Lions. 

There were over 100,000 people at the MCG for the game and millions watching the game on TV or mobile phones around the country and in remote locations around the world including one overseas based Australian in the remote west of China!


Seats available for supporters of the competing clubs at the game was limited to about 18,000 each to enable the corporate sponsors and the "establishment including the top politicians, to be assured of seats. There was also an allocation of seats for the other 16 clubs of the competition. This has become the normal practice of a highly corporate controlled elite level competition.

It was, as always, the skill of the players and the love of the game by people in Australia that made the Grand Final day a people's cultural event, despite the inevitable intrusion of corporate interests into a uniquely Australian game. 

The highlight of the game was the extraordinary play of First Nations player Bobby Hill who was playing his first season with Collingwood. Hill kicked a match winning four goals and provided more opportunities for his team mates to kick goals as well.

Millions of people watching the game would have marvelled at his high marking and goal kicking skills. He was awarded the maximum 15 points by the panel that determined him as the winner of the Norm Smith Medal for the best player on the ground.

Two weeks from the Grand Final day is the vote on the Referendum on The Voice to federal parliament. 

The effort of Bobby Hill in the Grand Final followed the outstanding efforts of many First Nations People in Australian Football League's Grand Finals and competitions over many decades. 

It is a great irony that a First Nations person, Bobby Hill, won and received the Norm Smith Medal as thousands of Collingwood supporters cheered. It was three decades ago that First Nations St Kilda player Nicky Winmar was racially abused by a small section of Collingwood supporters at Collingwood's Victoria Park home ground. Winmar responded by lifting his St Kilda jumper and pointing proudly to the colour of his skin.

More recently, Sydney’s Adam Goodes was virtually forced from the game after sustained racial abuse by other club’s followers. Idiot and provocateur Sam Newman just weeks ago called for those attending the finals series to respond to Welcomes to Country by booing and slow hand-clapping. But the Welcomes proceeded respectfully and were applauded by the huge crowds. They did not embrace the nastiness promoted by Newman. It is a hopeful sign that in 2023, Collingwood supporters and the club and indeed hundreds of thousands of AFL followers will not tolerate racism aimed at First Nations players.

No matter to what extent the skills of Bobby Hill at the MCG on the last Saturday of September influence how people vote in the Referendum on 14 October, one thing is certain. 

Millions of people today recognise and respect the extraordinary contribution of First Nations people to Australian people's culture, a culture which will outlast the corporations that want to make it serve their profits


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