Women in Sport

29 Jul 2019 speech

Ms FLINT (Boothby—Government Whip) (11:42): I am delighted to speak on this motion today, and I thank the member for Lalor for proposing it to the House. Like the member for Lalor, I am passionate about women's sport, especially netball. The member for Lalor and I had a good chat about the Netball World Cup series early in the morning, after we had just lost to New Zealand by the most narrow of margins; I will say more a little later about the incredible performances that we saw from our netballers.

First, I would like to acknowledge the incredible performances of our Australian female athletes in recent months in the global sporting arena. I congratulate tennis champion Ash Barty on her spectacular efforts this year: reaching the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, winning the French Open 6-1, 6-3 and progressing to the fourth round at Wimbledon. Ash has retained her No. 1 ranking, which is absolutely wonderful for our nation. She is an inspiration to all Australians, but particularly to tennis-playing women around the nation. We have also seen strong performances this year from the Matildas at the FIFA Women's World Cup and from the Hockeyroos at the Women's International Hockey Federation Pro League. I would also like to congratulate surfing champion Sally Fitzgibbons for her success at the 2019 Oi Rio Pro and golfer Hannah Green, who recently took home Australia's first major win in a women's golf tournament in over a decade at the Women's PGA Championship. Our international women's cricket team has been hitting sixes to win the multiformat Women's Ashes.

These are all fantastic results, but, of course, my personal passion is netball. I want to congratulate the Samsung Australian Diamonds netball team on an outstanding Netball World Cup, even though they lost the grand final by one goal to our great netball foes and rivals, the New Zealand Silver Ferns. I watched almost every single Diamonds match this World Cup except for the grand final, which, unfortunately, was broadcast at 1 am because it was being played in the UK, and it was therefore a little early in the morning for me to be awake at the start of a parliamentary sitting week. What I can say is that every single game I saw was testament to the skill, strength and character of our netballers, and the matches were some of the best that I have ever seen. The very close scores in the finals demonstrated how talented netballers from around the globe are, particularly those netballers in England, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. The close results in all of the finals demonstrated that we are, in fact, at a peak moment in competitive netball internationally.

These women are inspiring other women and girls to have a go in each and every sport you can play in our nation. I know that in my local community, in my electorate of Boothby, so many women of every age are having a go at so very many different sports: netball, hockey, tennis, lacrosse, baseball, basketball, soccer and, increasingly, cricket, footy, rugby, swimming, sailing, croquet and even bowls. As you can see, I have a very active electorate.

There has been a huge increase in female participation across all codes but particularly in Aussie Rules football, rugby, soccer and cricket. Unfortunately, investment in change room facilities has not kept up with this rapid growth, so I've worked very hard since being elected as the member for Boothby to see this situation rectified. I've supported new club room and change room facilities, particularly to help support women's participation at the Flagstaff Community Centre, Hewett Reserve, Blackwood Footy Club, the Brighton Oval precinct— which supports a number of different clubs—Glenelg Footy Club, Glenelg Baseball Club, Price Memorial Oval, Kingswood Oval and Mortlock Park. These upgrades will support female footy players, cricketers, netballers, soccer players, tennis players, runners, lacrosse players and baseballers, and many of these upgrades are already in progress. For example, just a few weeks ago I visited the Blackwood Football Club to see their new change rooms installed. The additional change rooms will help cater for the 25 teams that the club currently has in the competition, including eight women's teams, which is really exciting. I also recently visited the Brighton Oval precinct to help turn the sod on the start of the $13 million redevelopment, which will deliver brand-new club rooms and change rooms including for women so that the lacrosse, cricket, football and rugby clubs can continue
to grow. Player numbers are also growing at the Brighton Lacrosse Club, where I recently attended their annual Ladies of Lacrosse day, which celebrated the female players.