Page 5479 - Week 15 - Tuesday, 8 December 2009

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I would also like to acknowledge their major corporate partner, Oakton; their community partners, the Tradies and the Canberra Southern Cross Club; and their corporate partners, Southern Cross Ten.

Of course, anyone wishing to contribute to Marymead’s work can visit them at Goyder Street, Narrabundah, or visit their website at

Sport—media coverage

MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (3.39): I rise to congratulate the local media for their coverage of sport in the ACT and, in particular, their coverage of women’s sport. I am sure that all members of the Assembly would agree that balanced media coverage of local and national sport will inspire our community to maintain a healthy lifestyle through involvement in sport and recreation.

In general, it must be said that Australia is well behind leading jurisdictions when it comes to the media’s coverage of women’s sport and female athletes. In Norway, for example, equality of men and women’s sport coverage is enshrined in legislation. In the country that boasts the highest proportion of women serving on boards anywhere in the world, near parity has been reached in salaries paid to elite athletes based in Norway as a direct consequence of the increased coverage in the media that women’s sport enjoys in that country.

We also have reason to be proud of the local media’s coverage of women’s sport. I think it would be fair to say that local media in the ACT afford the greatest level of exposure to women’s sport of any jurisdiction in Australia, and it is ahead by a reasonable distance, I would suggest.

In the 2009 Australian Sports Commission medal awards, Merryn Sherwood of the Canberra Times won a special commendation for best journalism on women in sport. We should be proud of that. In the ACT, we value our female athletes and we should be proud that the local media give them the exposure that they thoroughly deserve. I believe that such coverage further enhances the quality of the women’s sporting teams that we have in the ACT by boosting their morale.

I have made no secret that I am a fan of Canberra United, our terrific women’s football team, and I was very pleased to be there on the weekend to see them win another game and get into the semi-finals against Sydney, which will be played next weekend. I would also congratulate those that won medals over the weekend at national awards: young player of the year, Ellyse Perry; coach of the year, Ray Junna, both from our team; and our team which won the fair play award. Congratulations to the women’s league on that.

However, we can always make progress in this area. A report released by the Australian Sports Commission at the end of the decade suggests that print coverage of women’s sport contributes a little over 10 per cent of the overall coverage, up from a woeful two per cent in the 1980s. A further report on this issue will soon be provided to the federal government and, when it is released for public consumption, we will be able to see whether further progress has been made on this score.

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