Rugby league grand final hero Nathan Cleary is leading a renewed push for Australia to support the “yes” case in the Voice referendum in two weeks’ time.
The Penrith Panthers halfback features in a video message on social media, throwing his support behind the yes campaign.
“No voice, no choice, come on Australia, vote yes,” Cleary said.
The Australian government has proposed to enshrine in the constitution an Indigenous voice to parliament, which would be voted on in a referendum. The Voice would advise Parliament and the government on matters affecting Indigenous communities.
The historic national vote will take place on Saturday, October 14.
Cleary spent a number of years in Auckland, playing for the Mt Albert Rugby League club, while his father Ivan coached the Warriors. He said growing up in a multicultural society in Auckland had shaped the person he is today.
Clearly’s message was re-posted by Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese yesterday, who tagged the re-post “it’s a yes from @_nathancleary”, and linked it to Cleary’s dormant X account.
The video originated from the TikTok account from Wiradjuri man Roy Ah-See, former chairperson of the New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council.
The pre-recorded footage was posted late on Sunday evening. At the time, Cleary was celebrating his side’s NRL grand final victory over Brisbane.
Ah-See said the video was recorded four weeks ago during an education session for several clubs, facilitated by the Uluru Dialogue and supported by the Rugby League Players Association.
On the day, Cleary asked whether there was anything to do to help the campaign and volunteered to make the video.
“He’s a leader on and off the field,” Ah-See said. “You can tell he’s had a really good grounding, in relation to where he comes from with his family. He’s a very respectful young man.”
The 25-year-old is the latest sporting identity to put his name to the yes case, and perhaps the highest-profile current athlete.
Former sports stars who are supporters include Cathy Freeman, Jonathon Thurston, Eddie Betts, Adam Goodes, Michael Long, Michael O’Loughlin, Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Ash Barty.
Retired American basketball star Shaquille O’Neal issued his support while in Australia last year.
Active players are also rallying behind the cause, including cricketer Alyssa Healy, Sydney AFLW co-captain Chloe Molloy and Fremantle AFL captain Alex Pearce.
Additional reporting, The Guardian