The decision to relax a ban on overseas-based players representing the Wallabies has been hailed as Australia’s greatest de-regulation since the Hawke-Keating years.
RMIT economic professor Ron Gitson said the move would draw comparisons with the ambitious economic reform agenda implemented by the Australian Government during the 1980s.
“Just like when Hawke and Keating floated the Aussie dollar, this step by the ARU will really put Australia on a global stage,” he told The Public Apology.
Gitson described the move as a groundbreaking, anti-protectionist reform that could launch the nation into a new period of dominance.
“History shows that, as a result of Bob Hawke and Paul Keating’s tough decisions to deregulate the financial system and dismantle protectionist tariffs, Australia entered an unprecedented period of economic growth.
“By allowing a handful of senior ex-Wallabies to once again pull on the Gold jersey, Australian rugby could also be entering another golden age,” he added.
For his part, former PM Paul Keating told TPA that while he generally considered sport to be a meaningless pursuit reserved for “those unwashed peasants out in BBQ-land,” he nonetheless backed the ARU’s move to de-regulate.
“What’s more, it can only be good for Australian culture to allow these sophisticated, well-travelled expats back into the country, to spread their cosmopolitan sensibilities throughout the Australian team,” he added.
“I’d really like to see Nick ‘Honey Badger’ Cummins back in Gold after his time in Japan’s rugby competition, educating his teammates about traditional artistic forms and aesthetic genres, such as ukiyo-e woodblock prints, dramatic forms such as Nō and Kabuki , landscape gardening, architectural styles, the haiku, Zen philosophy, flower arranging, tea ceremony, and taiko drum music, just to name a few.”
By Ben Shine with staff writers