Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has commented on the ongoing netball saga dominating headlines, calling for the involved parties to solve their differences “in a sensible way”.
The stoush between mining heiress Gina Rinehart and Netball Australia’s kicked off after several Diamond players voiced concern over wearing the logo of Rinehart’s company, Hancock Prospecting, in relation to problematic comments the billionaire’s father, Lang Hancock, made in the 1980s.
The players’ criticism prompted Rinehart to pull $15 million in funding from Netball Australia in response.
Gina Rinehart has pulled the sponsorship from the Diamonds.
Go woke, go broke Zirconias. pic.twitter.com/JW4OyuX1Jf
— Shazzie James (@ShazbuzJames) October 22, 2022
Speaking on Sunrise, Albanese said he hopes to see the saga come to an end on a positive note.
“We’ve seen a range of issues on sponsorships of sporting teams. I hope that it can be worked through. I don’t think it’s one that requires or indeed could benefit from any government intervention here,” he said.
“I just hope the parties come to an agreement. Netball is a great sport. I want to see it given the support that it needs.”
However, the Prime Minister defended both sides’ right to react.
“People have a right to take action … I’m not proposing a Federal Government intervention into these issues,” he said.
Rinehart has faced criticism from legends across the Australian sporting world, such as former boxer Anthony Mundine, retired soccer great Craig Foster and now, basketball star Andrew Gaze.
Speaking with SEN radio, Gaze slammed Hancock’s comments as “vile”, questioning why Rinehart would choose to pull funding over distancing herself from the remarks.
“She 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,” Gaze 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.
“(She should say), ‘I love my dad, but (those comments were 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.”
However, Rinehart isn’t the only side in the saga facing criticism from sporting greats, former Olympian Dawn Fraser backed the mining magnate, saying Netball Australia’s attitude could add further damage to the sporting world.
Speaking on 4BC radio, Fraser condemned the Diamonds’ actions, saying it isn’t fair to lash out at the mining heiress for the sins of her father.
“She’s not her father, I’d hate to be in her position and being slammed over the fact that my father did some things wrong,” the four-time gold medalist said.
“Netball Australia has really gone wrong on this attitude I just think it’s so bad for the sport.
“Mrs G (Rinehart) has done a hell of a lot for not only swimming, but she’s looked after beach volleyball, she’s looked after women’s rowing and women’s synchronised swimming.
”I mean heavens above – what are these women doing.
“She might stop her sponsorship with other sports now and I’d hate to see that happen to be honest with you.”