Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will use the next national cabinet meeting to campaign for a federal public holiday if the Matildas make it to the FIFA Women’s World Cup final.
The side is edging closer to a final appearance after defeating Denmark 2-0 on Monday night and advancing to the quarter final.
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In June, Albanese hinted that a public holiday could be on offer if the Matildas were to win the World Cup.
But now the Prime Minister says he will make a personal appeal to all state and territory leaders to instate a day-off should they progress to the final on August 20.
”I could not have imagined 30 years ago you would fill stadiums for women’s sport. It is about time,” Albanese said.
Anthony Albanese wants a holiday if the Matildas make the final. Credit: Getty Images
“I reckon if they get up on Saturday, it’ll be on the agenda for sure. It’d be a pretty brave Australian state leader, wouldn’t it, if they said no to that.”
Speaking on Sunrise, media commentator Joe Hildebrand said a public holiday was “brilliant” and a “no-brainer”.
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“No one is showing up to work anyway,” Hildebrand said.
“That’s the No.1 rule of politics: you find out what everyone in the country is doing anyway, and then you just pretend it was your idea.
“He’s obviously taken a leaf out of Hawkey’s (former Prime Minister Bob Hawke) book and decided any boss who sacks a worker for not showing up is a bum, but he’s just decided to make it official.”
The reference to Hawke dates way back to 1983 when the then Prime Minister was celebrating Australia’s shock win in the America’s Cup in the famous winged-keel Australia II boat.
The Aussie boat, skippered by John Bertrand, became the first non-American winner and Hawke, in a white jacket with Australia plastered all over it, trumpeted on TV: ‘‘I’ll tell you what … any boss who sacks anyone today for not turning up is a bum.’‘
Bob Hawke in 1983 celebrating Australia’s Americas Cup victory. Credit: Screenshot
The comment is now written into Australian folklore and Albanese is clearly sensing the Matildas are also on track to create a significant slice of history.
Political editor Samantha Maiden said it’s an important step in acknowledging how the Matildas have transcended Australia.
“We have to take a moment to realise how big this is,” she said.
‘What these women have done here already is enormous.
“It’s enormous and I think it’s hard to watch the footage at the end of the game without feeling emotional – we saw little girls in the stands, it is so beautiful and why not have a holiday for the ladies? We have a holiday for horses.
“We have a holiday for kind of everything else, I feel like the whole country would back this.”
The Matildas will next appear in the quarter final, to be played in Brisbane this Saturday, August 12. They will face off against either France or Morocco.
It is expected the pre-game coverage for the next Matildas’ clash will start at 4pm AEST, with a 5pm kick-off. All Matildas’ games are live and free on Channel 7.
Mel McLaughlin and Bruce McAvaney are leading Seven’s coverage of the tournament alongside an all-star team of football experts, including Elise Kellond-Knight, Heather Garriock and more.
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