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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 6 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 1991 ..



Women's sport generally is an on going problem in Australia. I do think the situation has become a little bit better in recent times, and that is thanks to the phenomenal success of some fantastic women's teams.

On a national level, a team that really comes to mind and a team that in my mind is probably on a par with some of the great men's teams-the Kangaroos, the 1980 and 1984 Wallabies, some of the great Olympics feats we have seen in Australian swimming and, I suppose, the St George rugby league side which won 11 premierships on the trot-of course is the Australian women's hockey team. Lisa Carrruthers and Trina Powell-in fact, both the Powell sisters-are great representatives of Canberra. They played in several Olympic Games in that team and won gold in back-to-back Olympic Games in 1996 and 2000 and also a number of international world championships. It is one of the great teams in Australian sporting history. I think teams like the national women's hockey team have raised the level of women's sport. Getting the media to concentrate on and give proper regard to women's sport always has been a problem.

In recent times in Canberra of course we have had the phenomenal success of the Capitals. I was delighted, as sports minister, to prevail upon the then Chief Minister, Kate Carnell, to fund them, along with several other teams in national competitions. I am pleased to see the government continuing that and indeed enhancing that funding. I think we were going to put it up to $100,000 with the demise of the Cosmos. It's good to see the government has done that. They are truly one of the great sporting teams we've had in Canberra. They too, as a result of that funding, I think, have raised the profile of women's sport. It was very pleasing to see the media coverage that they got recently in winning their particular national championship.

I can recall probably about a 50 per cent improvement in coverage, nationally and locally, during the time I was sports minister. It's good to see that that is increasing. It's still probably not as much as some people would wish, but there are positive trends there.

Mr Speaker, we actually don't have a problem welcoming the sponsorship of any team by anyone. I congratulate the Labor Club and, as Mr Hargreaves said, any club who actually supports sport, including supports women's sport. It's good to see the Labor Club supporting Canberra Currency. We have no dramas with that.

I do have, however, a little bit of a problem, hence my amendment, with a government member congratulating the government and asking the Assembly to basically congratulate the government. I also think it might be not quite true when he talks about the success of the government's women's sport funding initiatives. There have been funding initiatives for women's sport by both the government I was a part of and indeed by this government. I've already indicated it's good to see this. This government certainly has carried on that funding. I am pleased to see the money it has given to the Capitals, but some of the other programs certainly were there.

In fact, a special women in sport program, which is continuing, is something I think I initiated back in about 1996 or 1997. It is essential that governments do support women's sport, but I think it's a little bit cheeky perhaps for a government member to congratulate a government; hence, I think it is appropriate that that is deleted. I think there is probably more the government can do.

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