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Wednesday, 27 November 1996
Page: 6185

Senator O'CHEE(7.09 p.m.) —Tonight I wish to raise a matter of great importance to many Australians and a matter in which I think Senator Ray has taken a great interest in the past—that is, the Australian test cricket side. I think Senator Ray would agree with me that in many respects there is a very high degree of importance attached to cricket by many Australians and also that people avidly follow the selections and form their own views. I know that you form your own views, Mr Acting Deputy President Chapman, on the selection of the Australian test cricket side.

There is one thing that may have slipped the attention of many people in this place—that is, that in the side that played for Australia in the first test at the Gabba, one school provided 19.8 per cent of the Australian test cricket side. That was Brisbane State High School.

Senator Colston —Not a bad school.

Senator O'CHEE —It is a very great school, Senator Colston. I am very glad to see you in the chamber and to have your support on this. It provided not only the vice-captain, Ian Healy, but also, making his test debut at the Gabba, Michael Kasprowicz. The reason why I single out those two players is not just because I was also at State High but because Ian Healy was the year ahead of me and Michael Kasprowicz was in my sister's year at Brisbane State High School. I felt immensely proud to have the opportunity to go to the Gabba on Sunday and see both of them playing for Australia.

It really is a tribute to the sporting excellence that Brisbane State High School has been renowned for over many years that at one time we could produce two players in the Australian test cricket 11. I must admit that there were a number of other people from State High who also attended the match over the weekend. There was a young chap in grade nine who was sitting two rows behind me. I found out from my best mate, who was at State High with me, that his father, who was school vice-captain in 1956 or 1957, was also in my section of the ground.

Everybody was cheering for Michael Kasprowicz when he bowled. There is enormous support for him. He has been a very honest, hard-working player. He spent six years in the Queensland side. He first played for Queensland when he was in year 12 at school. He served his apprenticeship in the Queensland Sheffield Shield side. He played in the side that won the Shield the other season and now he has made the Australian side.

I was disappointed, however, to hear the Channel Nine commentators saying that they did not believe that Michael Kasprowicz was deserving of a spot on the side. Senator Ray shakes his head. I shook my head. Both Ian Chappell and, I think, Richie Benaud were saying that they would not have picked Michael Kasprowicz. They did not think he was deserving of a spot.

Senator Robert Ray —Sixty-four Shield wickets last year.

Senator O'CHEE —Yes, 64 Shield wickets. He was immensely unlucky on Sunday not to have picked up a couple of test wickets. There were a number of top edges and bottom edges and mistimed shots which, had they fallen in the right place, would have been perfect catching opportunities. But the fielders were not there. I think he generated more opportunities than many of the other bowlers who bowled for the Australian side on Sunday. I am not running any of the others down, but I am saying that Michael Kasprowicz was very unlucky not to have bagged his maiden test wicket at the Gabba on Sunday.

I do hope that both Michael Kasprowicz and Ian Healy have very long runs in the Australian test side—

Senator Campbell —Are they playing at Manuka next week?

Senator O'CHEE —They have both been selected in the squad for the Sydney test, but there are 12 people who have been selected in the squad.

Senator Robert Ray —Thirteen.

Senator O'CHEE —Thirteen. I very much hope that Kasprowicz will get the chance to play on the field and bowl for the Australians. I believe that he will get some good wickets. He will in time mature into a very fine test bowler for Australia, somebody of whom we can all be very proud.

There is one thing I want to remark about Michael Kasprowicz. At a time when many cricket players tend to forget about the kids who stand out on the boundary waiting for autographs, Michael Kasprowicz was conspicuous in making an effort to sign the bats, the caps, the brochures and the magazines that young boys came up to the boundary with and asked him to sign. I think that is very important. It is easy if you are a famous sportsman to sometimes neglect the young children who want your autograph. Let us remember that not so long ago Michael Kasprowicz was one of those schoolchildren, standing on a boundary I am sure. He has realised his dream and the dream of many of us of playing in the Australian side.

I hope that both Healy and Kasprowicz have long runs in the Australian side and that they realise the full potential that we in Queensland know that they have. Ian Healy's knock of 161 not out was absolutely magnificent, another unbeaten innings in the second innings. He was also named Man of the Match. Hopefully, Brisbane State High School will not only have the Australian vice-captain but also one of our leading fast bowlers in the Australian test side for many years to come. I thank the Senate.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Chapman) —Before I call Senator Ray, I might interpose that, while I appreciate the contribution that Brisbane State High School has made to the present Australian test team, it has a way to go before it catches up to Prince Alfred College.