Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 1990 ..
On a final note, Mr Speaker: when I was looking into this and just thinking about it, it occurred to me that between the ages of, say, 12 and 18, only men play the mixed gender sports; the girls drop away. They play in the mixed teams till the age of 12 or thereabouts, and if they're lucky they re-emerge later on at 18.
There is nothing properly organised for women to participate in, for example, a constructed league arrangement in, say, Mr Stefaniak's favourite sport, rugby union. There are little bits here, little bits there; there are inter-club teams; but there is no full-on competition. The reason for that-it's consistent with rugby league, it's consistent with cricket, it's consistent with a whole stack of other things-is they don't have the same mindset support by the people who run the sports. What happens is, Mr Speaker: they go away.
If you have a look around the ground when these games are on, who is it that actually gets the people, the kids, the young boys, to the game when they're 16? Mum does. Who goes and watches them? The sisters and the cousins go and watch them as well. Their girlfriends go and watch them.
What would be wrong, I ask you, Mr Speaker, in having opportunities for women between the ages of 12 and 18, to have their own competition? Dad could take them along. Their brothers could go and watch them. Their boyfriends could go and watch them.
What we will actually do, Mr Speaker, if we achieve this, is double the participation of people between the ages of 12 and 18 in sport ad give women an opportunity to develop their skills from when they're girls, through their teenage years. They will become so good that they can't be overlooked when national selection for their sport is actually on.
Perhaps it's an Australia-wide phenomenon, and that's why sports like women's cricket and a lot of the other ones, excluding hockey, don't get the international recognition that they're due-because we have people with that skill level but we're not developing them.
What I'm seeking we get the ACT to do here today, Mr Speaker, is lead the country in promoting women's activity in sport-properly structured, properly resourced and properly encouraged, with proper media coverage-and see how we go.
I commend the motion to the Assembly, Mr Speaker.
MR STEFANIAK(11.21): Mr Speaker, I rise on behalf of the opposition to congratulate the ACT's AFL team, Canberra Currency, on coming third in the national women's AFL championships in Darwin. I think we, as a government, might have given them some support several years ago. I had the pleasure of going to the presentation night when they were then assisted, in some capacity, by the Eastlake Aussie rules club. I had a good chat to a lot of the players, many of whom I would hope-and I think-are still actually playing, which is great.
The competition in those days only had, I think, ten a side. I would certainly hope that the competition has gone from strength to strength. It's always good to congratulate a team that has gone well in national competitions.