by Dennis Dice
BRISBANE, Australia ( Associated Press) – David Pocock didn’t seem too concerned over the phone from the Australian capital Canberra, more than two weeks after the country’s federal election and the retired rugby star still didn’t know if there was a new day in politics. job of
A standout backrover in international rugby from 2008 to 2019, he waited patiently for calls that would confirm whether he could be officially called Senator David Pocock.
“It’s going to take some time, but I believe we’ll hear something this week,” Pocock told the Associated Press. “I think about 90% of the votes are in.”
He had to wait a bit longer – more than three weeks after the May 21 election was confirmed on Tuesday.
“We have officially made history! Thanks to all of you,” Pocock said in a tweet. “What a great honor to be able to serve the people of the ACT as a senator.”
Pocock, 34, became one of two senators to represent the Australian Capital Territory which includes Canberra for a three-year term. And this makes him one of 76 senators in the upper house of the Parliament of Australia.
More importantly, Pocock’s victory took a seat away from the former ruling conservative Liberal Party and broke the major parties’ monopoly on ACT Senate seats. While campaigning on a number of issues supported by independent politicians in the lower house, Pocock may be the crucial 39th seat on some issues the Australian Labor Party, which won the general election, needs to pass legislation.
The career change isn’t really a surprise – social justice and the environment were two of Pocock’s reasons when he still played rugby – 78 Test matches for Australia, including three World Cups and a stint as Wallabies captain, and 130 More matches included. Super Rugby. He also played three seasons for Panasonic Wild Knights in Japan before announcing his retirement in October 2020.
Pocock was not afraid to show his activity even while playing. In 2014, while contracting out to the Canberra-based Brumbies in Super Rugby, he was arrested after chaining himself to excavation in protest of a coal mine being opened in the state’s woods.
“Whatever my career, I am doing it,” Pocock told the media after being arrested. “It’s part of being human and facing the challenges we face as a society.”
Pocock’s charge was dismissed several months later and no convictions were found. But the sport’s national governing body issued him a warning.
So his transition to politics as an independent senator should be fairly smooth, though he says it’s not as if he feels politics is an unfinished business for him.
“No, not at all,” Pocock says. “When I retired from rugby I felt it was time to move on and contribute to other areas. I was asked by many in Canberra, and I am very grateful for the opportunities Australia has given me, I I see it as another way to contribute that my rugby days are over.
Pocock was born in South Africa but moved to Zimbabwe at an early age and first played rugby there at the age of 12. His family moved to Australia in 2002 when he was a teenager, but he hasn’t forgotten his southern African roots – one of his charity, EightyTwenty Vision, helps poor people in Zimbabwe.
He has supported gay marriage in Australia. He and his partner Emma, who had been arrested with Pocock at a coal mine protest, held a wedding ceremony in 2010, but she refused to sign documents that would result in their legal marriage. , unless their gay friends had equal legal rights. Emma and David Pocock made their marriage official in 2018, after Australia enacted legislation to allow same-sex marriage in 2017.
Pocock said that one of his first actions as senator would be a bill on the rights of the territory, giving the Act’s Legislative Assembly the authority to legislate on matters including voluntary assisted dying. Six Australian states already have the authority to enact such a law.
“Most of the people in the Act support it; I think it is overdue,” he said. “It does not mean in 2022 that states do not have equal rights in this area. It’s about not treating Australians as second-class citizens who live in these areas.”
Pocock says his rugby playing days have helped prepare him for life as a politician.
“I think there are a bunch of things that transfer… you don’t get to choose who is on your team, there are a lot of people from different backgrounds and belief systems and political persuasion,” Pocock said. You are united by a common goal and you form strong bonds and realize that we have a lot more in common than your differences.”
“And of course you’re really putting yourself out there,” he said, “but most people appreciate the risk you’re taking.”
Pocock joined a few other sports stars who entered the world of politics, including Manny Pacquiao, the world champion boxer turned senator in the Philippines, and Imran Khan, who led the Pakistan cricket team to an unexpected World Cup title in 1992. led and later became the head of the country. He was a minister for about four years.
But Pocock says there is a big difference between sport and politics.
“Criticism can be on another level when you play the game, but you have criticism, you have a good game and it goes away,” Pocock says. “You are always criticized in politics. It comes with work. ,
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