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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 21 October 2010) . . Page.. 4902 ..


Having perhaps added those few words of caution, I will close by simply offering my support on behalf of the Greens for the bid. I think the team have done an excellent job so far. I met Peter Taylor at an event recently. I had never met Peter before and he rocked up and said hello to me, and he knew that I had signed up. I had never particularly said anything publicly about it, so he is clearly right on top of his bid and who is signing up to join it. I suspect that also means any of his friends who have not joined up are on a hit list.

I think the team have done an excellent job putting in a very professional bid and being very enthusiastic about it. I have been receiving emails from some of the clubs around town I am a member of imploring me to sign up—which I already had done—and to sign up my family. There is a great energy to the bid, and I hope that it will be successful and that we will be enjoying high level AFL in the ACT.

MR COE (Ginninderra) (4.00): I am very thrilled that today’s matter of public importance is about the strong possibility that the ACT and region may soon have ownership of an AFL team. Firstly, I would like to say that I fully endorse what my colleague Steve Doszpot said in his support of this campaign for a permanent home for AFL in the region. It is certainly a campaign I am very passionate about. Canberrans certainly have an affinity with Australian rules football. Whether it be because so many Canberrans came up from Melbourne with the public service agencies in the 1950s and 1960s, through the national expansion of the game in the 1980s and 1990s, the success of the Auskick program or by many other means, there is room for a home for AFL in the capital territory.

In spite of never having had a team in the AFL or the VFL before, the region has punched well above its weight when it comes to producing players. Whether it be James Hird, Alex Jesaulenko, Shaun Smith, Mick Conlan, Ian Low or Aaron Hammill, Canberrans have done very well in the top league of football. It is also worth mentioning Bob Furler, who was a premiership winning captain coach at the Ainslie Football Club and also a joint winner of the Tassie medal in 1947 for the outstanding player at the Australian rules football interstate carnival. The players I have just mentioned were from the ACT. If I was to discuss the region and to include the Riverina, in particular, the list of players would be as long as your arm, including the likes of Carey, Kelly, the Danihers and many, many more.

Unlike some other sports with national leagues, the AFL, like the NRL and Super 14, have supporter followings that extend beyond those actually playing the sport. By this I mean that, for some sports, it seems that the crowds are likely to almost exclusively come from those that play the sport or used to play. For supporters of AFL, I think a much larger proportion would follow the competition in spite of not having had any formal connection with playing the game themselves. This means the potential supporters of an ACT team would extend beyond the current Australian rules football clubs. However, the clubs certainly do have a strong role to play.

The AFL has always been cautious when expanding the league into new markets, and I think most will say its expansions have generally been very successful. For some other sporting codes, we have seen expansions that have not worked out for one


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