Bill's Speeches



Good morning everybody.

I wish to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land upon which we meet and I pay my respect to their elders both past and present.

I also wanted to acknowledge the passing, the passing of Drew Morphett who was compulsory Saturday listening.

The passing of Harry Beitzel, always passionate, forever enduing.

And of course, Lou Richards who hosted this breakfast for many years and absolutely roasted any of the politicians in attendance.

These were three great commentators, indeed entertainers who did so much to make the Grand Final and football more fun for everybody - and we will miss them all.

It's good to be here with the Prime Minister, both of us taking it just one week at a time.

I was having a chat to Malcolm in the rooms before we came on the North Melbourne Grand Final Breakfast field and I was explaining for his information, that if the scores are tied at the end of the game we play two extra five-minute halves.

And if the scores are still level after that, then we're going to have a national postal survey to sort it out once and for all.

I got home on Thursday evening from a five day visit to South Korea and Japan. I even went up to the DMZ, the de- militarised zone on the border of North Korea.

And North Korea, that's just a completely different world over there.

In North Korea they have a special public holiday, just so everyone can watch a parade.

Tens of thousands of people get together, they all wear the same colours, they all sing the same song - and they all cheer this one guy with a funny haircut.

Now some of you might be worried about missiles and nuclear war

I tell you if Adelaide win, I reckon Swan Street will be more dangerous than the Korean Peninsula.

Now I want to congratulate the Crows, who have already won their first-ever AFL Womens Premiership.

I was saying to their Captain Erin Phillips, who we'll hear from in a moment, my youngest daughter Clementine is seven and she has fallen in love with football because of AFL Womens.

I wouldn't have expected, growing up in Melbourne that I would ever have a daughter who was seven who would ask can she be an AFL player.

That's the strength of this new competition and the radical change which has happened so relatively quickly.

And I was so proud one day when she came home from school she asked me to teach her how to handball.

So we went into the backyard, she watched me demonstrate for a few minutes she then said:

“Nah not like that Dad, I want to see it like they do it on TV.”

I would like to congratulate Gil and the AFL for another season of record-breaking success.

But most of all I want to congratulate you, all of you, because football depends on the fans – at every level.

I'm thinking of the parents who volunteer at Auskick, who umpire those junior games, the old blokes who fill-up the water bottles and pump-up the footys at suburban footy grounds and country ovals everywhere.

There are millions of us: men and women, young and old, gay and straight, people whose ancestors have been here for more than 60,000 years and first generation migrants alike.

Footy is a game for everyone - I’m proud that the AFL does so much to back this up.

Last weekend we got the closest set of Grand Finals ever:

Both the TAC and VFL decided by a kick after the siren.

Thrillers in the SANFL and the VAFA

And – I should give my local comp a shout-out – a dominant display by Aberfeldie in

the Essendon District Football League.

So here’s hoping we get another nail-biter this afternoon.

As a kid who went to primary school in the late 1970s, I remember that everyone wanted the Richmond footy cards Francis Bourke, KB, Jimmy Jess, Royce Hart.

Those kids have been waiting a long time for their next flag, all grown up and a little bit older.

And so for them today I’m going to tip:

Richmond by 9 points.

Dusty for the Norm Smith-Brownlow double.

And a massive boom in the tattoo business.

Have a great grand final everyone.

Thank you very much.


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