Just weeks after congratulating Scott Morrison for a touching gesture, Cathy Freeman has turned on the PM for his offensive remarks.
Just weeks after congratulating Scott Morrison for a touching gesture, Cathy Freeman has turned on the PM for his offensive remarks.

Cathy slams ScoMo’s Australia Day insult

Australian Olympic hero Cathy Freeman has slammed Scott Morrison for making comments about Australia Day that were widely criticised for being offensive to First Nations people.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Morrison said: "You know on Australia Day, it's all about acknowledging how far we've come. When those 12 ships turned up in Sydney all those years ago, it wasn't a particularly flash day for the people on those vessels either."

Freeman, the Indigenous track star who produced one of Australia's greatest ever Olympic moments by winning gold in the 400m at the 2000 Sydney Games, hit out at Morrison's comments on Twitter.

"You can't compare the experiences of those 12 ships that first arrived to this country to what their arrival meant for all generations of Australia's First Nations people!" she wrote on Friday.

It was Freeman's first tweet since January 1 and represented a drastic change in tone. On New Year's Day the athletics legend was rejoicing about the lyrics in the national anthem being changed from "we are young and free" to "we are one and free".

"What a way to start the year!!! A phone call from our Prime Minister to say that we are 'One and Free'! Thank you!!!" she tweeted then.

Freeman famously draped both the Australian and Aboriginal flags over her shoulders as she completed a lap of honour after winning her gold medal on that famous September night more than 20 years ago.

On her Twitter page she calls herself a "proud Kuku Yalanji woman" and she established the Cathy Freeman Foundation, which aims to provide greater educational opportunities to Indigenous children.

Morrison has faced a severe backlash for his controversial comments, with former Labor treasurer Wayne Swan accusing the Prime Minister of deliberately "seeking to ignite the culture wars".

"He knows what the Indigenous community will say about those comments," Swan said. "It's just absurd but incredibly deliberate and very (Donald) Trump."

Morrison also came under fire for attacking Cricket Australia over its decision to omit any reference to Australia Day in the lead-up to BBL games being played on Tuesday.

Instead, they will be referred to as "January 26" matches after cricket's governing body consulted with Indigenous leaders on the most appropriate way to treat the occasion.

Morrison was completely against the decision, telling Queensland's 4RO radio: "A bit more focus on cricket, a little less focus on politics would be my message to Cricket Australia.

"I think that's pretty ordinary. But I mean, that's what they're putting on their press releases."

Despite the call-out, CA is refusing to budge and many in the cricket world - including Australian fast bowler Megan Schutt - have blasted Morrison for telling those involved in the sport to stay out of politics.

Cathy Freeman is a national hero.
Cathy Freeman is a national hero.

 

Originally published as Cathy slams ScoMo's Australia Day insult



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