Australian Parliament Sports Club
"The Australian Parliament House sports club does a great job bringing so many of us here together in a friendly and non-partisan way. I did say 'non-partisan way', although that wouldn't be strictly true with our parliamentary state-of-origin matches."
Address to the Federation Chamber, Private Members' Business - Australian Parliament Sports Club
Monday 6 March 2023
It's a privilege to speak on this motion and to follow the member for Wright. I commend his contribution and his action in bringing this to the attention of the House. The value of the Australian Parliament House sports club is no better seen than in the lithe movements of the member across the football field. Gazelle-like is a description that comes to mind. I note too the contribution made by the member for Solomon about the power of sport to do good, even though he seems to get injured in most of the sports that he plays here too.
The Australian Parliament House sports club does a great job bringing so many of us here together in a friendly and non-partisan way. I did say 'non-partisan way', although that wouldn't be strictly true with our parliamentary state-of-origin matches. On that point alone it is worth noting the strong correlation between my appearances for the New South Wales side and its victories. I also note that my two appearances for the parliamentary cricket team have resulted in victories over the Press Gallery. However, as we all know too well, correlation does not necessarily mean causation. That's pretty clear for those who've witnessed my efforts.
Whether it be netball, tennis, touch football, soccer, basketball or cricket, the sports club provides ways to bring parliamentarians and staff together in a way that can foster broader cooperation, understanding and unity—elements that can never be in short supply in this place. It does more than that though. Underpinned by the great work of Andy Turnbull, the sports club plays a deeper role in promoting sport and healthy activity and in fostering international relations development and friendship as part of a worldwide movement not just in our region but across the world. As the member for Wright and the member for Solomon have put so well, it makes us part of a broader movement that brings together like-minded democracies that unite the world through sports, such as the cricket and tennis teams visiting the United Kingdom later this year and the rugby team visiting France later this year as well.
The sports supported by the club provide both physical and mental benefits and encourage participation in sport for people of all abilities, including me, with a view to improving both fitness and enjoyment. In this sense the work of the club is a microcosm of the work of community sport not just across Bean but across all electorates. Community sport through participation at all levels, including as a volunteer in the roles that make sport work, is a critical part of our social fabric. For me it has been a real joy to be involved with sports clubs across Bean, whether it be football, tennis, cricket, bowls, netball, bocce or Bhutanese archery, which has a particular focus in Bean. My time is always enriched. It has been a particular privilege for me to have been able to bring the Brumbies W team and the Capitals here to the parliament as well.
As I stated before, the parliament sports club exists to foster local and international relations, development and friendship as part of a worldwide movement. It's progressive, open minded and inclusive, providing opportunities for all in a positive and vibrant way. The club advocates diplomacy and development through connection and collaboration, and it operates in a professional and bipartisan manner, with membership comprising not just federal members and senators of all parties and who are Independent but also members of state parliaments.
Since the club was established in 2005, over 500 politicians have taken to the sports fields and courts. In the last 15 years the club has raised over three-quarters of a million dollars for charitable causes through the efforts of members and the generosity of their many corporate partners. Much of that work is down to the extraordinary organisation of Andy Turnbull and his whole team. Again, I'd like to pay tribute to the work that they do and encourage more of our colleagues to get involved in sports here at parliament.