Australia hires NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal for indigenous reform

The centre-left Albanese Labor Party government is seeking a referendum needed to amend the constitution to recognize tribal peoples in the constitution and mandate consultation with them on decisions affecting their lives.

Details on the so-called indigenous voice in parliament will follow after the national referendum on the issue that the government intends to hold during the current parliamentary term.

“I’m here in your country, whatever you need from me, just let me know,” O’Neal Albanese said during a news conference in Sydney, before leaving without taking any questions.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney told the press conference that O’Neal had asked to be involved and described the mission for change as “a noble task”.

Albanese said O’Neal, a four-time NBA champion, has a track record of advocating for social justice and “lifting up people who are marginalized” in the United States.

“We want to build as broad a support as possible and connect with people who can connect with young people in particular, but with all sections of society,” Albanese said.

“Shaq has experienced bringing people from diverse backgrounds together, which aligns with our approach.”

O’Neal has agreed to make some videos on the subject, the prime minister said.

Labor pledged to propose a referendum while campaigning for the May general election, ending nearly a decade of Conservative Liberal-National coalition rule.

Indigenous Australians have fought for recognition of injustices for generations since European colonization in the 17th century. The constitution, which came into force in 1901, makes no reference to the country’s indigenous people.