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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 21 October 2010) . . Page.. 4897 ..


to halve the current rate of physical inactivity, we could save a further $47 million a year. That is why initiatives and new partnerships like this one are so important.

But beyond this economic, social and health impact, this initiative, I think, is a great builder of social cohesion and the AFL—and I would like to pay credit to them today—have been at the forefront in this social leadership. They have taken important steps to stamp out vilification, whether that is based on race, on sex, on sexual orientation. They have set a great example and it is important that this parliament commends them for that.

AFL is the national sport. And I think it is critical that the national sport is played in the national capital at the highest level. That is why it is so important that we continue to work with the AFL and with GWS to finalise these arrangements.

There is no doubt there was a bad taste left in people’s mouths over the way that the North Melbourne Kangaroos treated us in that period where they were playing matches, as Mr Doszpot indicated, effectively flying in and flying out. I do not think that relationship ended particularly well and there was, unfortunately but perhaps justifiably, a degree of cynicism about the nature of that relationship. I think the AFL have been genuine in wanting to ensure that their sport is played in every major city in the country and so have worked with us in the intervening period between North Melbourne leaving and GWS arriving to ensure that we still have quality AFL matches in the city.

We have worked to secure pre-season and premiership matches. A number of people and sponsors have been integral in ensuring that we have been able to keep up that presence. But it is important now to look at what this opportunity presents for us. It is moving beyond just purchasing matches. It is about having a real stake in our team.

There are hundreds of thousands of men, women and children who play AFL across this country. There are thousands in the city of Canberra. It is a game that appeals to all ages. We have just witnessed a fantastic masters carnival. Perhaps the highlight for those of us in this place was the politicians’ victory over the media on Saturday night. In spite of the coverage that it was a 14-all draw, I confidently recall kicking two goals and seeing Paul Walsh kick one of the goals of the year. And I only recall one goal from the press gallery. How it ended up at 14-all, I am not sure.

Can I acknowledge the contribution of my colleague across the chamber Mr Coe, who played very well in the evening, and a number of other members of parliament. We could not quite make up a full team of 18 politicians. This was disappointing but there were quite a few Liberals involved, which was good to see. But it was just as well that we had such wonderful contributors as Paul Walsh who was able to step in and become a politician for the night and make such a strong contribution. But I digress.

The popularity of AFL nationally is clear to see, with 6.5 million tickets sold to AFL games during the last season and millions and millions of viewers watching matches. The average national audience reach for an individual round of AFL during 2010 was more than a million people. More than 3.6 million people watched this year’s grand final. That is why having AFL in Canberra and having that exposure for our city is


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