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Wednesday, 27 August 2008
Page: 6365


Dr NELSON (Leader of the Opposition) (2:02 PM) —On indulgence, I join with the Prime Minister in celebrating and recognising the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great Sir Donald Bradman, the greatest sportsman in any sport and any era, as far as I am concerned. Sir Donald Bradman of Australia was beyond any argument, according to the cricketing bible Wisden, ‘the greatest batsman who ever lived and the greatest cricketer of the 20th century’. He made 6,996 runs in 52 tests for an average of 99.94. To put that into some perspective, Bradman’s average is more than 30 per cent higher than the next best average, which is 68.38, of all of the cricketers who have ever played the game. He was just four runs short of averaging 100.

His name and what he achieved was so far out of the reach of any player in his time or any player who has played since, it is almost like he played a different game from what we are playing, as Ricky Ponting said only yesterday. The newspaper posters of the day said, amongst other things, ‘Bradman bats and bats and bats’ and ‘Bradman versus England’. One London evening newspaper blazoned just two words across its front page: ‘He’s out’. Someone had finally managed to dismiss him. But in the end it was not the numbers; it was the man. We celebrate the life of Sir Donald Bradman and the inspiration that he provided and provides to our nation. This evening there will be a significant event in Sydney to celebrate his life, his achievements and his legacy.