Bill's Transcripts

Michelle Payne









It is a pleasure to congratulate one of my constituents, the remarkable Michelle Payne on her history-making achievement.

Racing is glamourous, it is exciting and it is hard work. But racing is also inherently dangerous.

Sadly the last six jockeys and track work riders to die in Australia have all been women.

Michelle Payne knows these risks as well as anyone.

In 2004, she fell from her horse, fractured her skull, bruising her brain.

Even those closest to her urged her to give up racing.

Eight years later, at a Sunday race meeting at Donald, she was thrown over the head of her ride, breaking her ribs, fracturing four vertebrae.

Again, she was told it might be time for her to walk away.

But last Tuesday, in front of more than 100,000 cheering fans and watched by millions around the world, Michelle piloted Prince of Penzance to claim the 155th Melbourne Cup by half a length.

She had started that day from barrier one, which was a spot drawn for her by her loving brother and devoted strapper, Stevie.

It was impossible not to be moved by the pride on Stevie’s face – a man who had never been defined by his impairment - leading a Melbourne Cup champion into the winners’ circle.

And in a wonderful post-race interview that only an Australian could have given, Michelle said to a watching world, anyone who thinks women aren’t good enough for group one racing: ‘can get stuffed’.

Hear hear.

Michelle Payne’s victory brought joy to an entire nation – it caps a wonderful year for women’s sport.

The brilliance of the Diamonds in the World Cup

And the Southern Stars reclaiming the Ashes

Inspiration and examples for girls and women everywhere.

And a message for the so-called experts who wrote, in 2012, a year defined by the Olympic heroics of Sally Pearson, Alicia Coutts and Anna Meares amongst others.

A message for those experts who wrote in 2012 that Black Caviar was Australia’s best female athlete.

Of course Mr Speaker, we shouldn’t forget Prince of Penzance himself.

The first horse to salute at 100-1 since Old Rowley in 1940.

We should also congratulate his trainer, Darren Weir, a former farrier from Berriwillock, a small town in the Mallee.

Normally, when a long-odds runner wins the Cup, it’s considered a good day for the bookmakers and tough beat for the punters.

On a small note, I backed Criterion, which ran an unlucky third.

But for all of us who listened to Michelle and Stevie Payne speak after the race, all of us who saw the joy and delight on the faces of trainers and connections

We instantly forgot who we backed, or the money we’d lost.

On Melbourne Cup Day, our nation stopped for more than the race.

We stopped to celebrate the journey of two children, growing up with eight brothers and sisters and without their Mum.

Looking out for one another in tough times, encouraging each other to beat the odds, sharing a dream of sporting immortality.

Last Tuesday, we were witness to a genuine sporting fairytale.

And every Australian was richer because of it.

Michelle Payne is a fantastic ambassador for women, for racing and for Australia – she is a gem.

And a small note on the Wallabies in response to the Prime Minister’s comments,  it was an incredible campaign.

To the audience who stayed up and watched the game, okay.

It was a great campaign, and it was a tough match against the All Blacks.

We congratulate the captain Stephen Moore, we congratulate the coach Michael Cheika and we look forward to renewed success from them in the future.