DAVID Pocock hits people hard on the rugby field, and he’s equally adept at doing the same thing off it. Never one to shy away from expressing his opinions, the Australian representative has this time taken aim at Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
In an interview with GQ Australia, the dynamic flanker criticised the PM for his handling of global warming and the environment.
“In a time of global ecological crisis, we could have such a bigger vision for Australia; a vision that acknowledges these challenges and faces them head on. We’re destroying our own land base, the Earth, which ultimately means we’re destroying ourselves,” said Pocock.
“That’s a pretty massive criticism of Tony Abbott’s ideology and prime ministership without even touching on his government, the cruelty to refugees and his use of fear as a political tool.”
He also said that it was time for ordinary citizens to have more of a say in the political decision-making process.
“It’s up to us, as ordinary citizens, to start wrestling control of the political system back to the grassroots and away from corporations and billionaires who wield far too much power.”
Pocock has been a vocal critic of Abbott in the past, slamming his refusal to legalise same-sex marriage in Australia. He and partner Emma have agreed not to get married themselves until gay people are afforded the same right.
The 27-year-old made the headlines earlier in the Super Rugby season playing for the ACT Brumbies against the NSW Waratahs when he complained to the referee that someone had made a “homophobic slur” in reference to one of his teammates. It came as no surprise given standing up to homophobia is one of his core beliefs.
“If you believe in marriage equality and don’t think people should be discriminated against because of their sexuality, then you have to challenge homophobia in your personal life, and that applies to the prejudices you grew up with,” said Pocock.
“Then challenge family, friends and your workplace. The sport has really tried to become a more inclusive and welcome environment.”
“When Em and I decided we’d like to get married, we talked to a few of our [gay] friends. For some, marriage was a bit of a non-issue, but we felt for some same-sex couples it’s a big issue, and if people want to get married to celebrate their commitment, they should be able to and that’s the point of it. That’s why we decided not to get formally married, per se.”