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Thursday, 21 November 2013
Page: 1108


Mr PERRETT (Moreton) (10:51): In just a few minutes the Ashes will begin about one kilometre outside my electorate—at the Gabba, in the federal seat of Griffith. Normally the member for Griffith, the Hon. Kevin Rudd, would be here to talk about that. Unfortunately he is away. I am sure the next member for that area—hopefully Labor's Terry Butler—will be able to sing the praises of that great sporting centre that hosts cricket and the Lions. But I am here to talk about another sporting event which is taking place next month in my electorate.

Sport is an important part of Australia's culture. There was that very first boat race 225 years ago, when the ships of the First Fleet raced to get on shore. Many of us have strong memories connected to our first cricket match or our first netball, soccer or footie game. Sport brings friends and families together and promotes healthy lifestyles. Sadly, our nation is, I think—I ask the former health minister to confirm this—the fattest nation in the world at the moment. That is a record that we should not be at all proud of.

Sport plays an important part in all our lives. Sport also hooks in with tourism by providing sporting events which bring people to Australia. The event I want to talk about is being held on the south side of Brisbane at the Queensland Tennis Centre in Tennyson. Obviously, any suburb named after a poet immediately gets my attention—with all respect to Byron Bay and other places. Tennyson is right on the Brisbane River. It is a beautiful part of Brisbane, a beautiful part of my electorate. I ask everyone—the member for Mitchell and other members—to come up to Brisbane and attend the Brisbane International tennis tournament at the Pat Rafter Arena. One of the best international-standard tennis centres, the Pat Rafter Arena seats 5,500 people. Come up to the $82 million state-of-the art facility at the end of December and the start of January to see some great tennis.

If need be—I cannot organise a wedding—I am sure I can organise for you to look at an investment property or something like that, if you come up! Come up—have a political meeting with me if need be!—but make sure you come along to the tennis to see what is on show. In the lead-up to the Australian Open, former world no.1 Roger Federer will start the upcoming tennis season. The event will host six of the world's top 10 female players including Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka, Maria Sharapova, Jelena Jankovic, Angelique Kerber and Caroline Wozniacki. The calibre of players on the field for Brisbane International 2014 is one of the greatest on record. It has been getting better and better every year and I think this year will be the best. I know the fans are looking forward to it. There is no better place than Moreton and the suburb of Tennyson, not only for seeing the tennis but also for experiencing the great cafes and function facilities and seeing the new talent coming through in some of the junior competitions. The Pat Rafter Arena is a great facility and I guarantee that you will have a good time. If you can combine it with a trip to the Gold Coast or other parts of Queensland, then come along and I will make sure that you enjoy the tournament. Obviously, it is of great economic benefit to the Tennyson community. They do do this event well in terms of bringing in people on public transport and looking after them, ensuring that they have a great experience. It actually has a great focus on family and community. There is actually a playground right across the road from the tennis court and it is probably one of the best that I have ever taken my children to in my life. I know that will be of interest to the member for Ballarat, with a young family. It is a fantastic hub for the community because, when the tennis is not on, everyone goes right beside the river to play.

The Brisbane International is shaping up to have its best year ever. It is great for the local area; it is great for Queensland. So take young people along and show them the great sport that is tennis, which is truly a sport that you can play until you drop. I have met people there who are in their 90s and who are still playing tennis and still enjoying it. It is a great way to exercise. I would ask everyone to come along at the end of December to my electorate of Moreton and to Tennyson. (Time expired)