I’m not saying I’m responsible, but Netball Australia ended its partnership with Hancock Prospecting just days after I asked them to do so.
Hancock Prospecting boss Gina Rinehart recently announced her decision to withdraw $15 million in sponsorship for the national association, after I wrote an open letter to Netball Australia on October 17.
A press release stated:
“Hancock appreciates Netball Australia’s warm welcome and support, and because of this Hancock and Roy Hill have advised Netball Australia and Netball WA respectively, that it will instead provide a four-month sponsorship should they and their players wish to accept it, to continue funding the athletes and to help netball as it arranges alternative funding and sponsorships.”
The press release also appeared to address the players, who have been requesting a pay rise from the national association. It read:
“Hancock’s proposed sponsorship would have enabled a generous increase in wages for the players which would not have otherwise been possible given netball’s financial situation.”
In the open letter, I asked the association to end its deal because the fossil fuel company was using the popular Australian sport and its highly-respected national team to engage in sportswashing.
Rinehart was using her wealth to protect the public image of her destructive company because she knows that Australians are mad about sport and that many Aussies will forgive any company or person for unethical behaviour if they make a significant financial contribution to sport.
Hancock Prospecting has employed the same cynical and deliberate tactics in its sponsorship of Swimming Australia, Rowing Australia, Volleyball Australia and even the Australian Olympic Committee.
I would love to take credit for ending the partnership, but I can’t. I must instead pay tribute to the current Diamonds players, and some past players, who approached the association to terminate the sponsorship arrangement. They did so for two reasons:
Hancock Prospecting has interests in fossil fuels and large scale agriculture, which are both massive contributors to climate change. Rinehart’s rampant environmental destruction has made her Australia’s richest woman.
Hancock Prospecting is named after Lang Hancock, Rinehart’s father. He once said of Indigenous Australians:
“Those that have been assimilated into, you know, earning good living or earning wages amongst the civilised areas, those that have been accepted into society and they have accepted society and can handle society, I’d leave them well alone,” he told a news broadcast.
“The ones that are no good to themselves and can’t accept things, the half-castes — and this is where most of the trouble comes — I would dope the water up so that they were sterile and would breed themselves out in future and that would solve the problem.”
Players objected to this comment, and did so to support indigenous player Donell Wallam.
Now, we just need Netball Australia to read the first open letter I wrote to them (on September 13) asking them to end their association with another fossil fuel company Origin Energy, which is still a Major Partner.
Image: Netball Australia