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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 2 Hansard (28 February) . . Page.. 353 ..

MR KAINE (continuing):

But there is no doubt that, during several decades of the 20th century, Sir Donald Bradman was a man of great distinction, who set an example, who was an achiever in his chosen field, and who has left his mark among, first of all, those of us who remember, by first-hand experience, his achievements, but also for those who continue to have an abiding interest in the great sport of cricket.

Of course, as the Chief Minister has pointed out, Sir Donald did have involvement in fields beyond cricket, and I have no doubt that he made his mark and was an inspiration to people in those fields as well. I join with the opposition and the government in this motion of condolence to the family of Sir Donald Bradman.

MR HIRD: Our Don Bradman. Our Don. Why was he our Don? Not just Don, but our Don. We all know Don Bradman's record. We all know that he is universally recognised as the best batsman the world has ever seen. We all know that he is the benchmark against which others in the great game of cricket measure themselves. But does this explain his continuing hero status or is there more? Of course there is.

There is Don Bradman, the man, the country boy who made good, the gentleman, the person of utmost humility and modesty, the man who said, when he failed to make those all-important four runs in his last innings, "Don't worry about me. Give praise to the bowler. He fooled me with a beautiful ball."

He was a shy and private family man, who wanted to live out his life in peace and quiet. Mr Speaker, can anyone imagine our Don playing cricket like they do today? Can you imagine him kissing the wicket, hugging all and sundry, or using verbal abuse against opponents, which is sadly the current trademark of cricketers. The Don and his team-mates let the bat and the ball do the talking. When you scored 100, you doffed your cap and set about scoring another one. When you took a wicket, your captain said, "That's what you are there for. Get on and get some more."

Where was Australia when our Don came into the scene? It had been barely 150 years since European settlement, and only about 25 years since Federation. The site for our national capital had only recently been decided on and Parliament House had only just been opened. We had just come out of the war to end all wars. We were just heading into the Great Depression, sadly. We were a young country that had already seen boom and bust cycles, and we were ready to start loosening the shackles of imperialism.

Australia, together with our New Zealand cousins, had just developed the Anzac spirit, and even though this happened as our boys became cannon fodder for the English gentlemen in the war to end all wars, it showed that Australians were different and that they were capable of holding their own as a developing nation.

We had our heroes. We had sportsmen and women winning gold in the Olympic Games. We had boxers of world renown. We had musicians and singers. We had scientists who led the world. We had explorers, miners and inventors, and other people of vision and action, but there was still the gloom of the economy heading downwards and the reality of many of the boy soldiers who either did not come home or who were displaced if they did. Unemployment was on the rise and class division was great. The ordinary person needed a hero and, in our Don, they found one: an ordinary person, a boy from the bush, everyone's cousin or nephew.

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