According to Green Party Senator Lidia Thorpe, Shaquille O’Neal’s meeting with Anthony Albanese to promote The Voice in Parliament was particularly inappropriate as he was in Australia to support gambling, which is disproportionately affecting Aboriginal communities .
The former NBA superstar, who is worth an estimated $400 million, gave a press conference with Mr Albanese in Sydney on Saturday in a bid to endorse The vote instead murmured a few words about God and love for Australia.
Senator Thorpe has blasted O’Neal’s attempted promotional appearance for The Voice as he is a foreigner and has ties to the gambling industry, which is particularly bad for Aboriginal communities.
“I mean he’s here for a speaking tour, good for him, and he’s also here for PointsBet, which is about gambling, which is about destroying families,” Ms Thorpe told radio 3AW on Monday.
‘He sticks his nose into business that has nothing to do with him.
“He doesn’t understand what’s going on in this country and he shouldn’t speak out.”
NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal (centre) is pictured with Indigenous Australian Minister Linda Burney (left) and Prime Minister Anthony Albanese (right).
Green Party Senator Lidia Thorpe (pictured) said it was inappropriate for O’Neal to promote the vote as he is a foreigner and linked to the gambling industry, which particularly affects Aboriginal communities
O’Neal was in country for meet-and-greets with fans, two of which were sponsored by wealth management firm La Trobe Financial, and a charity basketball competition sponsored by Pointsbet.
Fans paid up to $500 each to meet the LA Lakers legend at Melbourne’s Margaret Court Arena on Thursday and The Star Sydney on Friday.
Although his meeting with the prime minister was free, an industry source said O’Neal would have made at least $200,000 from the weekend visit, based on comparable offers for shoots, meet-and-greets and Instagram posts.
“It paid off this week because finally everyone knows who PointsBet is,” the source said.
The 50-year-old American became an ambassador for little-known Australian gambling company Pointsbet in January 2021, taking part in the deals as part of the deal and also representing US betting company WynnBet.
He has appeared in several Pointsbet TV commercials in Australia including one where he bets online while getting a massage, fixing a car and playing golf.
Last year, O’Neal boasted about betting $1 million on an MMA fight and winning it.
The former NBA superstar, who is worth an estimated $400 million, is reuniting with Big Brother winner Reggie Bird and her son in Australia
O’Neal has appeared in several Pointsbet TV spots in Australia, including one where he bets online while getting a massage, fixing a car and playing golf
A paper published by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, a government agency, found that gambling rates are much higher among Indigenous Australians than in the broader population – particularly at “slot machines” – and “problem gambling” is also much more common.
The paper cited research that found up to a fifth of Indigenous Australians have a gambling problem.
Mr Albanese insisted that O’Neal contact him to discuss the proposal for The Voice, a group of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who would have a previously undefined level of power to influence and change proposed legislation, affecting indigenous peoples.
The prime minister wants to enshrine the body in the constitution, which may require a referendum late next year.
Mr Albanese’s meeting with O’Neal was blasted from all sides of politics, with many arguing it ‘cheaped down’ debate and ‘patronized’ voters.
But the prime minister dismissed the criticism on Tuesday morning, urging critics to relax.
“He approached me and I think people should basically relax a little bit. In fact, Shaq’s appearance meant people were talking about it,” he told Radio 2SM.
“And one of the things we need to do is raise awareness in the community that this referendum is coming, that there is a need for a debate about it.
“Shaq is addressing a whole range of people, many of whom would have heard of the Voice of Parliament for the first time, and that’s a good thing.
“Therefore, I make no apology that I will speak to anyone, anywhere, anytime about these issues. And anything we can do to spread the word about this is a good thing.”
Last year, O’Neal (pictured in a Pointsbet ad) boasted about betting $1 million on an MMA fight and winning it
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11158475/Anthony-Albanese-blasted-using-gambling-ambassador-Shaquille-ONeil-promote-Voice.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Anthony Albanese is blasted for using gambling ambassador Shaquille O’Neil to promote the voice