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Thursday, 22 September 2011
Page: 11302

Mr McCORMACK (Riverina) (12:04): With a decisive forehand backed by a determination which has defined her tennis career, Australia's latest tennis ace Samantha Stosur reached the top with her magnificent grand slam glory. Her United States Open win this month at Flushing Meadows, New York elevates her to a place amongst the best this nation has produced. What a pantheon of greats—a hall of fame on the women's side, which includes such notables as Margaret Court, from Albury, and Griffith-born Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Barellan's golden girl from the Riverina. What wonderful role models Margaret and Evonne are, particularly for youth, particularly for girls and especially for those from regional Australia. Sam Stosur now joins those former champions as someone to look up to, particularly for youth, particularly for girls. Kids need heroes and heroines. They need superstars they can have as pin-up posters in their bedrooms, superstars they can pretend to be as they play their backyard versions of Flushing Meadows, Wimbledon, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Sydney Olympic Park, Lang Park or whatever the case might be—their own field of dreams.

Sam Stosur has now gone all the way from being a 10-year-old with golden locks to gracing the world stage and being the best. That word 'gracing' is significant. Not only did Sam prove her skills with racquet in hand, defeating American Serena Williams in the final in straight sets 6-2, 6-3, but she did so with good manners, dignity and poise. What a role model. In her winning address to the arena, Sam said, 'This was a dream of mine to be here one day.' Enough said. For every athlete, scientist or even politician the dream is the same and the dream is different. The goal is a grand slam, a medical breakthrough, a pleasing result for a constituent—all of which signal we are doing our best; we are doing the right thing. Sam Stosur's triumph reminds us all of the dreams and visions we have for our jobs, our roles and our lives.

The Tour de France win of Cadel Evans saw an instant rise in bike sales, and I am sure Sam's win will inspire thousands of children, especially with the onset of warmer weather, to pick up a tennis racquet and have a go. That is what life is all about: having a go; trying hard; doing our best.

Coincidentally, little more than an hour after Sam's success I caught up with Evonne Goolagong Cawley who was in Parliament House as a patron of the Learn Earn Legend! Work Experience in Government program. She was understandably elated with Sam's terrific win and the image it will set for Australian tennis. She was also overjoyed when I told her Barellan had just recently won the Northern Riverina Football League premiership with the very last kick of the match against Lake Cargelligo in the grand final at West Wyalong. You can take the girl out of Barellan but you cannot take her heart away from her home town, the place where the townsfolk have a giant racquet and ball in the main street in her honour.

Sport plays such a significant role in bringing communities across Australia together. People such as Evonne, Margaret and now Sam have that rare ability to unite a nation. May Sam continue to do so for many more tournaments to come.