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Monday, 1 December 2003
Page: 23292

Mr CREAN (Leader of the Opposition) (2:04 PM) —On indulgence, first of all I join with the Prime Minister in congratulating the Davis Cup team on a magnificent victory on the weekend. The events of last week gave me a bit more time to watch the tennis on this occasion. I also had the great honour to be there with them at the celebratory dinner last night. I have had the privilege of following the Davis Cup team in their comeback. I was at the first round in South Australia when they had to play India to get themselves back into the game. I also had the opportunity to see the great game of Lleyton Hewitt and Federer in the semifinals—one of the best games of tennis that I have ever seen. But what must rank as the most fantastic set of tennis I have ever seen is the one that the Prime Minister alluded to: Mark Philippoussis coming down off the mat, written off for all money, and he won it 6-0. That was no mean feat.

The other great thing about this team is that not only did they have to come through and requalify, but, when you think about it, they played all five matches with the same four players: Mark Philippoussis, Lleyton Hewitt, Wayne Arthurs and Todd Woodbridge. If ever you wanted to see a perfect game of doubles, it was there on Saturday afternoon—a flawless performance by Todd Woodbridge, one of the greatest doubles players that has ever played the game. I am delighted that he has decided to stay on and help us next time around. I join with the Prime Minister in congratulating the Aussie team. Having lost the Rugby World Cup the week before, it was fantastic to see the Aussies back in it. It was a great achievement by them—great courage, great determination, great leadership by John Fitzgerald and great teamwork by the team as a whole.

I also want to thank the Prime Minister for his announcement in relation to Hazel Hawke. After I had spoken with Hazel's family I did write to him about what could be done to assist. I acknowledge the fact, and I did so in the letter that I wrote to the Prime Minister, that the government has had a capped amount available. From talking to the family, my view is that that amount will need to be raised because the demands on Hazel's time now and the associated correspondence will require additional secretarial correspondence help as well as access to transport. As you would know, she cannot drive.

I welcome the fact that the Prime Minister is prepared to look into this matter. In particular, I welcome the fact that the government has made a donation of $250,000. I congratulate the Prime Minister and look forward to this turning adversity to advantage. Hazel has always done it that way. The initiative that she took in coming out and speaking for the victims of Alzheimer's is a great tribute to the way in which she has conducted herself in the past. I hope that the nation as a whole can benefit from it.