Scott Morrison has slammed Cricket Australia’s (CA) decision to omit references to Australia Day from the Big Bash League as “pretty ordinary”, saying he hoped it took note of a public backlash.
The public holiday matches will now be spruiked as “January 26” games after consultation with Indigenous leaders.
The change aims to make the three games more inclusive for people who regard the day as one to mourn Aboriginal lives lost.
But the Prime Minister urged CA to steer clear of the culture wars.
RELATED: Australia Day: Zali Steggall proposes minute of silence
“A bit more focus on cricket, a little less focus on politics would be my message to Cricket Australia,” he told Queensland’s 4RO Radio on Thursday.
“I think that’s pretty ordinary. But I mean, that’s what they’re putting on their press releases.”
Mr Morrison was then told CA was already facing a backlash over the decision.
“I hope they listen to that, and I think they should,” he replied.
It follows independent senator Jacqui Lambie telling Today she was “wild” about the decision.
“I have to ask how bloody ungrateful are people making decisions on the cricket board,” she said.
“I’m not sure what they think it’s going to achieve, but I’m sure it’s not going to achieve anything about closing the gap.”
Senator Lambie said there were “bigger things to worry about this year”, such as getting the economy going and making sure people weren’t going to end up homeless because there weren’t enough jobs.
It comes after independent MP Zali Steggall called for Australians to observe a minute’s silence on Australia Day to recognise the “price paid” by Indigenous Australians during colonisation.
She said many Australians, regardless of their heritage, would appreciate the opportunity to acknowledge “loss and sorrow” as they did on Anzac Day and Remembrance Day.
But Multicultural Minister Alex Hawke lashed the proposal, accusing Ms Steggall of “perpetuating divisions” between Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.