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Reception honouring the Australian Cricket Team for their victory at the 1999 Cricket World Cup, the Members' Hall, Parliament House, 28 June 1999: transcript of address.

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28 June 1999





Well, thank you very much.  To Kim Beazley the Leader of the Opposition, to

Steve Waugh and the victorious Australian Cricket Team, to many others - first

time I've had all of you cheering for me - but ladies and gentlemen it is a

tremendous pleasure tonight to have everybody along and I want to particularly

welcome the members of the Australian Women's Cricket Team who are amongst us

as our special guests as well.


Tonight is one of those rare occasions where the guns of political battle are

stilled, that everybody, irrespective of their differences of opinion on other

issues, come together to pay tribute to a remarkable sporting achievement.  To

pay tribute to a group of men who have demonstrated their tremendous capacity

on the sporting field, have brought immense pleasure and immense delight and

immense national pride to all Australians.  And the performance, Steve, of you

and your colleagues to win seven in a row, the third and second last of those

two being amongst the most exciting one-day cricket matches that I think

any of us have ever witnessed, I think it is fair to say that these sleep deprivation

syndrome of members of Parliament and of their staff and indeed millions of

Australians all around the country was very intense indeed.


Australia is a great sports loving nation, Australia is a great cricket loving

nation.  And cricket in a way unites all of us like no other sport because it

is in every sense of the word our true national sport.  And to you, Steve, in

particular tremendous credit is due.  You followed two very fine Australian

Captains, you experienced, along with your colleagues during the early stages

of the World Cup tournament, you experienced a tremendous degree of criticism

from some sections of the press.  There were many people who at various stages

were willing to say that Australia was not going to make the semi-finals let

alone the finals let alone take out the trophy.  But you persevered and you

yourself with that marvellous 123  - one of the best if not the greatest

one-day innings that I have ever seen.  You kept your cool in remarkably

difficult circumstances.  You showed tremendous grit, tremendous leadership

and when we think of the true Aussie spirit and the true Aussie grit many

Australians will instinctively think of your personal performance in that

particular match.  And, of course, one doesn't have the time to talk about all

of the individual performances but collectively the team has done us proud. 


And to all of you can I say that nothing has quite brought such sporting

joy to a sporting nation as much as did your victory.  And the reception that you

have received in Melbourne, in Sydney today, the reception that I saw a number of

you receive at Stadium Australia on Saturday night before the rugby test

between England and Australia, the gathering here tonight which brings

together Members and Senators, Ministers, Shadow Ministers, Prime Minister, Opposition Leader, staff and most importantly of all the cricket loving youngsters of the parliamentary family.  And because every time we do well on the sporting field, every time we do well on the cricket field we build something that is most important to all of us who are cricket lovers and that is a renewed enthusiasm

for the greatest sport of all amongst the young people of Australia.  And that

is what your victory has done more than anything else, it has brought fresh

enthusiasm and pride and love of this wonderful game to the young people of

Australia.  And can I say of all the gifts and of all the pleasure that you

have given to the people of Australia I think the most important thing you

have done is once again to enthuse and re-enthuse and re-ignite the passion of

young Australians to the great and noble game of cricket.


Can I say on behalf of the Government, on behalf of the people of Australia

And I know my sentiments will be echoed by my colleague Kim Beazley in a few

moments, thank you very much for what you have done, you deserve tremendous

credit.  I hope you and your families now have the opportunity of a bit of a

break before you join the fray again but you really have done us proud.  You

are a tremendous group of sportsmen and you have brought a great deal of joy

and a great deal of pleasure to all Australians.  Thank you very much.







al  1999-06-30  11:04