Motorsport Australia committed to ‘Voice’ support
By Mark Fogarty
Monday 19th June, 2023 - 5:01pm
Motorsport Australia won’t back down on its declared support for the ‘Yes’ vote in the coming Voice referendum despite fierce social media backlash.
Car racing’s governing body joined 20 other major sporting codes in backing the call to give Indigenous Australians a direct say to the federal parliament.
MA chief executive Eugene Arocca was attacked by email and on social media, while an online petition is campaigning for the decision to be reversed.
As well, some high-profile motor racing figures – including V8 legend Larry Perkins and rally icon Bob Watson – have been highly critical, charging MA with political interference.
THE FINAL RACE OF THE 2023 REPCO SUPERCARS CHAMPIONSHIP ON ONE OF THE WORLD’S BEST STREET CIRCUITS. GO ALL IN AT THE VAILO ADELAIDE 500, CLICK HERE TO BUY TICKETS
However, Arocca maintains the adverse reaction to MA’s support of the Voice ‘Yes’ vote is limited and unrepresentative, as well as emphasising that the FIA-affiliated organisation is trying to tell members how to vote in the referendum.
“In terms of direct reaction, I’ve received 38 emails – and I’ve answered them all directly,” he told Speedcafe and the Parked Up Plus podcast in a lengthy explanation.
“I’ve had three that are in support and 35 that are against, and they range from a variety of don’t get involved in politics, how dare you cast my vote.
“There are some racist comments in there, which is pretty unfortunate.
“So if you’re talking about 40 people or thereabouts having contacted me directly out of potential 100,000 members, when you include our car clubs, that’s fairly small.”
Arocca added: “I’m also aware of a change.org petition of about 2500-3000 people. We did a check it out and 50 percent of the [respondents] were not even members of Motorsport Australia.
“So I think it is what it is. There’re going to be people who are upset about it. And I’ve responded to all of the people by saying it’s not political; the organisation has made its position as an organisation, but not representative of its members.
“We haven’t instructed members how to vote. In fact, we were very careful to say that members should make their own decision. Somewhere, people have lost that, and we’ve been attacked for how do you represent my views?
“We’ve made a position clear. It’s about looking at the whole of the sport, our role in the whole of the sport and our role in the whole of Australian sport. And we felt it was an important position to make clear.”
Arocca is adamant that Motorsport Australia will not change its official position on the Voice vote.
“We’re not going to change,” he declared. “The board made the position and management completely supports that position. There’ll be no change.
“So to be clear, it’s the organisation lending its support to the vote, but not instructing the membership to vote that way. So it’s still being left up to the individual – absolutely, unequivocally.”
“We stand for unity. We think sport has a fantastic unifying capacity and we are trying to diversify our sport. This is the sort of thing that we believe was really important for the organisation.”
Supercars was invited to be a signatory to the declaration of support by major sporting bodies, but Speedcafe understands that after canvassing team owners, it decided not to take a public stand, leaving the decision on voting in the Voice referendum up to participants and fans.