| Key takeouts
- Key people and decision makers at a club can influence and be a force for good and embrace people - then use that power to make that change.
- It's important to match the rhetoric with behaviour to make inclusive happen in practice.
- Being authentic is really important - nurturing and supporting people slowly into the sport so they begin to feel confident.
Thank you Paul and it’s wonderful to be here with you all. Thanks Peter for the invitation. I’m a late. I’ve come off the bench for Tanya Hosche while she’s away ill but I just wanted to say I’ve got a lot out of today. It’s been really informative and I’ll be quick because I know it’s getting a bit late in the day. I really wanted to share two examples of success in inclusion that I’ve had good insights into. The first one is probably a little bit about my own story. I was the son of migrants and growing up in Sunshine my parents didn’t have an attraction to cricket. It wasn’t part of our culture.
The story that I want to share is that Anglo-Celtic guys at the local cricket club really embraced us kids. We knew nothing about the game but we knew that it was an important Australian iconic sport and it we were able to play cricket and play it well that could be a wonderful way we could fit into society. Why I like to tell this story is those people had a choice to make. They were in the power position. They were influential and they probably looked around and saw migrants from Italy, from Greece, from Malta, from Poland, you know, all around their club. They could have made a choice and they could have just really excluded us young people but they didn’t so I’m forever grateful. I think through their actions and through their behaviour they demonstrated that cricket and that particular club was very inclusive and I think the sport is a lot healthier for those decisions because now fast forward 30-40 years I still play the game. I’ve got four boys and they all play the game. We go and watch matches and I think cricket is way better for it so I’m always grateful to those people.
Why I tell that story is because many in this room and others are in those power positions and if you can influence and be a force for good and embrace people then use that power to make that change.
The second example that I want to share is a little bit more recent. It’s with my company that I work for now, Cricket Australia. For 32 years we ran the Australian Country Cricket Championships and for 32 years that was a men’s only competition and when a few of us got together we thought that doesn’t sound right. Why should men keep getting that privilege, that investment of money, time and effort and few of us made a decision to start looking at ways we could get females involved and sure enough the last two years we’ve been able to do that. There are a lot of cricket people in the room today that I’d like to acknowledge, some from Cricket Victoria, some from Cricket Australia, but those people through being forces for change have certainly made a difference in programs like that. Now we have 120 girls playing in that competition, females 16 and over, that means coaches, administrators, a whole bunch of other people that get that opportunity to be part of something that they’re pretty passionate about.
Please join me in thanking our Auslan interpreters. I’ve been watching them all day. I think they’ve been terrific. (applause)
The other bit that I wanted to talk about today and highlight was some of the pillars that underpin those successes in those programs, for example the Cricket Australia Female Engagement, that’s about matching the rhetoric with behaviour and if there’s a message that I want to leave out of my 10 minutes is that there is plenty of rhetoric. I’ve been involved in this space now for a little while and I’ve heard the best policies, I’ve read about the best policies but at the end of the day it becomes about actioning and I think you’ve got to demonstrate the behaviours you talk about and I know everyone in this room would get that but I think that’s a message that we should keep conveying more broadly is, turn it into a verb, how are we going to act or action what we say and what we talk about and I think in that particular example Cricket Australia was able to do that.
Some of the other pillars I think being authentic is something that’s really important. Nurturing, so once you’ve created a program and you’ve welcomed people in it doesn’t stop there. It’s the start so you need to keep nurturing and keep feeding and keep supporting those people because often the people that come in they’re new and they’re not as confident and they’re either resettling from another country or they’re just not familiar with that environment so they just need that nurturing to continue to happen.
Bill Nicholson for me summarised it right from the outset today when he talked about how we treat people so they’re some significant challenges for us. How do we want to be treated, empathy, how do we treat people and I suppose I’d like to leave you with this quote from Walt Disney “the way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing”.
Thanks very much.