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ATSIC Chairman's All-Stars versus Carlton much more than just a football match.



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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission

Media Releases

ATSIC Chairman’s All-Stars versus Carlton much more than just a football match

7/2/2003

ATSIC Chairman GEOFF CLARK Northern Territory Minister for Sport and Recreation, the Hon. JOHN AhKIT.

Tomorrow night’s AFL clash between the ATSIC Chairman’s All-Stars and the Carlton Football Club is much more than just a football match, according to ATSIC Chairman, Mr Geoff Clark and Northern Territory Minister for Sport and Recreation, Mr John AhKit.

Mr Clark said the fixture, one of the biggest sporting events in Darwin history, is a celebration of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

“There was a time when Aboriginal people were excluded from joining football teams just as we were excluded from many other facets of Australian life,” Mr Clark said.

“Tomorrow evening at Marrara, we all will celebrate the achievements of the AFL’s Aboriginal footballers, both past and present.”

Mr AhKit said the Aboriginal footballers also serve as important role models to thousands of Aboriginal children around Australia, particularly in promoting better health.

“As we continue to strive for better health in Indigenous communities, our Aboriginal footballers are prominent in teaching our children what can be achieved with a healthy lifestyle.”

“Our AFL Aboriginal footballers today are also removing the obstacles and allowing other Aboriginal youth to follow in their tracks and enter the AFL.”

Mr Clark also noted it required an enormous amount of work and support to stage a match of this magnitude.

“I express my gratitude to Rio Tinto, ERA; the Australian Football League; the AFLNT; the Northern Territory Government; the Organising Committee; including ATSIC NT staff; and the coach of the ATSIC Chairman’s All-Stars, Michael McLean, as well as the spectators.

“A special thanks goes to the players on both sides for embracing this game with such enthusiasm, as well as to Carlton and the AFL clubs that released their Indigenous footballers.”

Mr AhKit said with many Aboriginal players prominent in the AFL, many drafted from the Northern Territory competition, this made Darwin the logical site for the first Aboriginal All-Stars game nine years ago.

“It seems more so this weekend, as we are honouring many of the Indigenous players of the past, as well as the men who will represent the All-Stars here at Marrara I hope this will encourage future All-Stars fixtures here in Darwin,” Mr AhKit said.

Contact: Giuseppe Stramandinoli (ATSIC Victoria) 0419 508 125 David Liddle (ATSIC NT) 0418 246 284 Chips Mackinolty (Minister AhKit) 0419 844 774

www.atsic.gov.au