Page 4330 - Week 13 - Thursday, 17 November 2005

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for a fact, Mr Temporary Deputy Speaker, that the opportunities coming out of my office for confidential briefings will slow down immeasurably.

Socceroos—World Cup qualification

MR SESELJA (Molonglo) (4.33): I could not let this day go past without mentioning the fantastic victory in the World Cup qualifier yesterday by Australia over Uruguay. The sports minister is smiling at me. I know he does not like soccer. If I were talking about AFL, I am sure he would feel more comfortable. It is a fantastic achievement, a fantastic day for Australia, and we should all be very proud.

Mr Quinlan: Try it. Let your head go and try liking more than one sport.

MR SESELJA: I do not think you do. I will take your word that you are happy about this. I know there are many people in the community who are absolutely stoked. My boys tried to watch but they fell asleep at about 20 minutes to 10. They did pretty well, though. It was a fantastic game.

I pay tribute to the Australian team. For me, being a younger member of this place, it has not happened in my lifetime that we have made a World Cup. I am probably the only one who can say that. After the dodgy free kick that the Uruguayans got in the first leg, which led to their scoring a goal, it was justice in the end. There were some fantastic contributors. John Aloisi kicked the winning goal. Harry Kewell was fantastic. Bresciano kicked the goal that put Australia in front.

Mr Quinlan: What was that kick of Viduka’s, for God’s sake?

MR SESELJA: I have got a lot of time for Mark Viduka and I will not say a bad word about him. It was not one of his better efforts, I must say. I am sure he will be as happy as anyone, given that they ended up winning.

I remember the 1993 qualifier, when they beat the Canadians in a penalty shootout—they eventually lost to the Argentineans—and Mark Schwarzer did the same thing and won the shootout for the Australians. It is fantastic that, 12 years later, he is still up to doing the same thing. He is probably a better keeper now. They did very well.

I noticed that Canberra’s own Ned Zelic was on the commentary team. He has been a fantastic contributor to Australian soccer. It would have been great for him to be part of it, but that is unfortunate. Certainly Ned would have been very happy. The imported coach, Guus Hiddink, is now a national hero. I pay tribute to them all.

I cannot finish without paying tribute to the great Johnny Warren. It was a fantastic day. I am sure Johnny Warren would have loved to see it. I am sure he was looking on from somewhere. I look forward to seeing Australia do very well at the World Cup. I am sure many soccer-loving Canberrans do. Hopefully, it will be the start of a new era for Australian soccer. I am sure that the sports minister will be sending a hearty congratulations letter to the Australian soccer team.

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