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Thursday, 12 May 1994
Page: 769

Senator HILL (Leader of the Opposition) (3.43 p.m.) —I think there has been an arrangement between the whips that this is an appropriate time for me to seek leave to move the motion that I gave notice of this morning in relation to Allan Border. In the spirit of goodwill, I will be moving it not only on behalf of the Liberal Party but also on behalf of Senator Faulkner for the Labor Party, Senator Boswell for the National Party, Senator Kernot for the Australian Democrats, Senator Chamarette for the Greens (WA), and Senator Harradine.

  Leave granted.

Senator HILL —I move:

  That the Senate—


    (i)the retirement from international cricket of Mr Allan Border after a record 156 test matches, including a record 93 as Australian captain, in an outstanding career which saw him become the greatest-ever test run scorer,

    (ii)Mr Border's major contribution as an ambassador both for Australia and Australian cricket, and the key part he played in restoring Australian cricket to a position of pride in the international sports arena, and

    (iii)the positive role model he has provided for all Australians, particularly our young sports people;

  (b)congratulates Mr Border on his achievements; and

  (c)requests the President to convey to Mr Border the sentiments of the Senate.

The pages of Australian sporting history are graced with the names of many champions—Sir Donald Bradman, Dawn Fraser, Rod Laver, Margaret Court, to name but a few. These sports men and women, by their deeds, have not only written their names into the history books but also left a profound and lasting impression on the sporting psyche which is such a large part of the Australian way of life.

  In December 1976, a 21-year-old Allan Border began a first-class cricket career which today sees his name sit comfortably alongside those of Australia's sporting icons. Two years later Border was making his test debut against England, scoring, as I am sure Senator Ray knows, 29 and a duck, a modest debut when compared with the records he has since claimed; but one must remember that even Sir Donald Bradman managed scores of only 18 and 1 in his test debut, which coincidently was also against England.

  Since that debut Border has stamped himself as one of the world's premier cricketers, playing a record 156 test matches, captaining Australia in a record 93 tests, compiling a record 11,174 test runs and taking a record 156 test catches. But Border, like Australia's true sporting champions, will not be remembered just for statistics and records. Rather, it is the qualities he displayed during his long and remarkable career that have struck a chord with Australians from all walks of life.

  Border appealed to average Australians because he was always the dependable, gritty and determined fighter whom everyone looked to when the Australian side was in trouble. Those fighting characteristics were never more evident than in the second test against the West Indies in Trinidad in March 1984, when he scored 98 not out and 100 not out against the most lethal pace attack in the world. It was those same qualities which stamped him as a leader and a natural choice for Australian captain when Kim Hughes stood down from the job in December of that year.

  Border's captaincy reads like one of his great innings. He came into the job at a time when Australian cricket was in real trouble and desperately searching for a hero. He simply set about his task with a minimum of fuss, earning the respect of his team mates, his opponents and the cricketing world at large. The strength, dedication and leadership shown by Border in those early years pulled Australian cricket back from the brink of disaster and set the Australian team on course for a victory in the 1987 World Cup and then an historic four-nil drubbing of England in 1989 to regain the Ashes.

  The restoration of Australian cricket to a place of pride in the international arena is a true testament to the tireless efforts and leadership skills of Allan Border. His work and achievements as captain and his personal characteristics have been a source of great pride and inspiration to Australians and, on the international scene, have marked him as an outstanding ambassador for Australia and Australian sport.   Such has been his contribution that it is hard to imagine Australian cricket without Allan Border—AB—out in the middle calling the shots. But, hopefully, he will continue his successful association with the sport at the highest level in a non-playing role.

  I am particularly pleased, in this quite unique circumstance, to have been able to move this motion congratulating Allan Border on all he has done for Australia and wishing him well in his retirement.