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Thursday, 24 May 2001
Page: 27095

Mr RONALDSON (11:04 AM) —I will read to the House a quote from the Ballarat Courier:

A good bloke. A fine sportsman. A devoted family man. More Ballarat than Bertie. This is the man who is Steve Moneghetti—and he deserves all the praise he receives.

Honourable members would have heard me talk about Steve in the past, and I do that quite rightly because I am so proud of this Ballarat man. He signed off on 2 May at a celebration dinner held at the Ballarat Sportsmens Club, and I give a big congratulations to Steve Smith and the organising committee. It was a terrific night and I had the honour to be there. A rare honour was given when the City of Ballarat gave Mona the keys to the city. The scroll accompanying those keys said:

The City of Ballarat proudly recognises the sporting and personal contributions of Steve Moneghetti to the promotion of Ballarat as a place of sporting excellence.

Ballarat City Council and its citizens thank him for his continued support of Ballarat, particularly in the areas of tourism, sport and lifestyle.

Steve Moneghetti is undoubtedly one of our greatest ambassadors and we are deeply proud that he and his family call Ballarat home.

That was signed by Councillor David Vendy, the Mayor.

While I have spoken a lot about Steve in this House over the years, I actually want to pay tribute to someone who in my view is equally special, and that is his wife, Tanya. Tanya has been an absolutely fantastic support to Steve since they married. They are now raising a family and a lot of that responsibility has fallen on to Tanya's shoulders. So in some respects, Steve's successes have very much been Tanya's successes as well, and I am sure the House will want me to acknowledge the fantastic role that she has played. A celebration dinner was held in Melbourne prior to the one in Ballarat on 2 May, but the Ballarat night was really Ballarat's way of thanking Steve Moneghetti for his contribution.

This will horrify some members, but Mona has calculated that he ran something like 150,000 kilometres over a 20-year sporting career. You and I, Mr Deputy Speaker Quick—I should not speak for you, I suppose—would be battling to do a couple of those 150,000 kilometres. So he has put an enormous amount of work into his life, which of course has been his running.

We had a terrific group of people at the night in Ballarat. The Victorian Governor, John Landy, was there and he spoke at some lengths. Steve received messages from the Prime Minister and from Steve Bracks, the Victorian premier. This was the Prime Minister's message to Steve:

You're a great sporting figure for our country and I know you've been a great son of Ballarat. Thanks Steve for what you've done for Australian sport.

Steve Bracks said:

You're a fantastic ambassador for Australia and your promotion of Ballarat is unparalleled. What a fantastic career you've had.

There were some terrific views from a large range of people, and I know that those opposite also support me in thanking Steve Moneghetti for his contribution. Cathy Freeman was there, and she said to Steve:

Mona, thank you so much for all the memories. You have always been there for everybody and you will be greatly missed.

Ron Clarke also said to Steve:

You reach legend status when you make a difference. Steve's made a huge difference. He's a great sportsman and he's a really great bloke.

Also speaking about Steve were Chris Wardlaw; Lee Troop, another Olympic marathoner; Jim Murphy, a former sportswriter for the Courier; and Ian Cover, a media personality and fellow parliamentary colleague. I should also say that Garry Lyon—whose footy I have certainly admired—was in attendance. Mr Deputy Speaker, you will personally know the name Garry Lyon and will be aware of his fantastic contribution. Another fellow who was really close to Steve was Peter Howley, his physiotherapist, and he said:

We know he's a great athlete. He's a good bloke and a man of the highest character. Thanks for the memories.

Rex Hollioake was another one who spoke at the dinner. Everyone spoke very, very highly of Steve's contribution. I have 32 seconds left and I will finish with Steve's signature statement. I want to thank Steve Moneghetti and again thank the Ballarat Sportsmen's Club for allowing the Ballarat community to contribute. To borrow Steve's signature, which he always used and which I think gave everyone a great deal of pride: `Ballarat, Victoria, Australia—Steve Moneghetti, over and out.'

Main Committee adjourned at 11.09 a.m.