New South Wales One Nation Leader Mark Latham has slammed Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews after he struck a $15 million deal with Netball Australia to sponsor the national Diamonds team.
The $15 million partnership will run over four-and-a half-years and see the Visit Victoria logo worn by members of the squad in what Mr Andrews described as a “really big win for Victorian jobs and our tourism sector”.
Monday’s announcement comes after Gina Rinehart’s Hancock Prospecting withdrew its $15 million partnership with the Australian Diamonds just over a week ago after players raised concerns about wearing the mining company’s logo.
“We are really thrilled today to be able to announce a four-and-a-half-year sponsorship deal where Visit Victoria will become a significant sponsor for the Australian Diamonds netball team,” Mr Andrews told reporters.
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Mr Latham appeared on Sky News Australia on Monday night and hit out at the Victorian Premier for his “pathetic stunt”.
“Victorian taxpayers could think of many better ways in which to spend the money, starting with the hospital system which is in crisis,” he told Sky News host Paul Murray.
“But you also have to question the judgement of Netball Australia because they have immersed themselves now in radical left-wing politics and associated themselves with Daniel Andrews.
“I would get more ferocious, negative comments about Dan Andrews on my social media than any other figure in the country.
“This guy is hated by many, who will now give up on netball as a sport.”
Mr Latham’s comments come after Nationals Senator Bridget McKenzie also questioned the Victorian Government’s decision to sponsor the Diamonds.
“This is a state that has more debt than Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania combined,” she told Sky News on Monday.
“Has a hospital system in crisis. If you ring triple zero in my home state, you can’t be guaranteed an ambo will arrive and yet he can find $15 million for our national team.”
Ms McKenzie labelled the move as “nothing more” than a cynical vote buying exercise.
“For him to now see our national team will now have requirements on them to spend more time in Victoria, to be playing more in Victoria, to be doing clinics with Victorian school children – great for Victoria but this is our national team.
“It’s nothing more than a cynical vote buying exercise on the eve of the Victorian election.”
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