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This website is in imminent danger of being shut down. It has been online since 1995, but the personal circumstances of the owner, Malcolm Farnsworth, are such that economies have to be made. Server costs and suchlike have become prohibitive. At the urging of people online, I have agreed to see if Patreon provides a solution. More information is available at the Patreon website. If you are able to contribute even $1.00/month to keep the site running, please click the Patreon button below.

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Julie Bishop And Bill Shorten Speak At AFL Grand Final Breakfast

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten have joked their way through brief speeches to the AFL Grand Final Breakfast in Melbourne.


Bishop joked that the last time she was in Melbourne she had been given a warm welcome by students at Melbourne University. She said Cabinet had considered who should attend the breakfast: “Tony Abbott thought it was the ARL, and Malcolm Turnbull thought it was the URL. So we decided to choose between the women… oh… um, look, moving right along…” She then took a swipe at Shorten, likening him to a football selector choosing ALP leaders. [Read more…]

At America’s Cup 30th Anniversary, Bob Hawke Tells A Joke

Today is the 30th anniversary of Australia’s victory over the United States in the America’s Cup yacht race.

Bob Hawke had been prime minister for six months when Australia II, skippered by John Bertrand, defeated Liberty, skippered by Dennis Conner. Australia II was designed by Ben Lexcen with a revolutionary and controversial ‘winged keel’. Representing the Royal Perth Yacht Club, Australia II was funded by businessman Alan Bond.

Australia II’s victory was the first time in 132 years that the Americans had been defeated.

Even though few Australians knew much about the race, it captured the public imagination at the time. On the day of victory, Bob Hawke appeared on morning television wearing a specially made jacket. His appearance is remembered for his declaration: “Any boss who sacks anyone for not turning up today is a bum.”

  • Watch Hawke’s 1983 America’s Cup appearance:

At an event to celebrate the 30th anniversary today, Bob Hawke appeared with Bertrand and Bond and told a joke that he said captures the “irreverence” of Australians:

  • Watch Bob Hawke’s 2013 joke:

Bodyline, The Economy And A Republic: Wayne Swan Joins The Dots

The Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer, Wayne Swan, has released an Australia Day article that draws a series of connections between the 1930s Bodyline cricket series, the contemporary economy and a future republic.

SwanSwan remembers Bodyline as typifying Australian resistance to English imperial superiority. He sees Australia defending “fair play” and playing “within both the letter and the spirit of the rules”. Australia’s code, says Swan, is “not a gentleman’s code” but “a democratic code”.

Linking Bodyline with the 1930s Depression, Swan says “Australians didn’t cause that Depression and to a very great extent we were powerless to tackle it..because we lacked full economic sovereignty”.

Swan says Bodyline and the Great Depression “helped awaken a democratic and egalitarian assertion of Australian national sovereignty that still serves us well on Australia Day 2013.”

Despite the fact that the Rudd and Gillard governments have done nothing over the past five years to promote constitutional change, Swan says reflection on Bodyline and the Depression “will eventually” have the legacy of “hastening the approach of an Australian republic”.

Swan’s argument is similar in style to his musings last year on Bruce Springsteen’s opposition to economic privilege. In his John Button Oration, Swan sought to emphasise democratic and egalitarian values at the heart of the Labor government’s value system.

Swan’s article today is an attempt to add to the over-arching story the government has been developing as the federal election draws near.

Text of an article released by the Treasurer, Wayne Swan.

Forged in Fair Play – 80 Years on From Bodyline

It has been another eventful Australian summer, marked by bushfires that have once again tested some of our nation’s most important values: our capacity to stick together in a crisis, help out those who need help, display coolness, competence and courage under pressure.

In a time of transition, with our nation on the cusp of the Asian Century, our values are the most treasured commodities we possess, ones which will always endure. So as we celebrate this Australia Day, it is worth reflecting on the origins and nature of Australia’s national values.

There’s no one source of our national character. It comes from our indigenous heritage, from the struggles of the convicts and early settlers, the Federation period with its conflicts and mateship, and of course our nation’s experiences on the battlefields of war. [Read more…]

At Royal Ascot, Black Caviar Wins Her 22nd Race

Well, it’s important political news, isn’t it?

The Twitter hashtag #BlackCaviar went berserk before, during and after the race. This is a short video I took of my TweetDeck screen. At its peak it was twice as fast as this. In four years of Twitter use, I can’t recall any topic attracting such volume and speed of posts.

Howard And Beazley Pay Tribute To Packer

Kerry Packer was a “great Australian”, the Prime Minister, John Howard, said today.

PackerHoward wasted no time in holding a media conference at Kirribilli House, Sydney, this morning, just hours after Channel 9 broke the news that the station’s owner, Kerry Francis Bullmore Packer, had died, aged 68.

Packer was a loyal friend, the Prime Minister said.

Howard said the cliches “great Australian” and “larger than life character” were appropriate descriptions of Packer. He paid tribute to the media proprietor’s business acumen, citing Packer’s sale of the Nine network to Alan Bond in the 1980s. Packer subsequently bought Nine back at a fraction of the price. Bond went broke. Packer famously said “an Alan Bond only comes along once in life”. [Read more…]

Famous British Sporting Quotes

  1. ‘This is really a lovely horse, I once rode her mother.’ – Ted Walsh (Horse Racing Commentator)
  2. ‘Moses Kiptanui – the 19 year old Kenyan, who turned 20 a few weeks ago.’ – David Coleman
  3. ‘He’s pulling him off! The Spanish manager is pulling his captain off!’ – RTE’s George Hamilton on Spain manager Luis Suarez’s substitution of Butragueno during their world cup qualifier with Ireland in Seville, 1992.
  4. ‘The black players at this club lend the side a lot of skill and flair, but you also need white players in there to balance things up and give the team some brains and some common sense.’ – Crystal Palace chairman Ron Noades, speaking in 1991.
  5. ‘Bill Frindal has done a bit of mental arithmetic with a calculator’ – John Arlott
  6. ‘I’ve never had major knee surgery on any other part of my body.’ – Winston Bennett
  7. ‘Sure there have been injuries and deaths in boxing – but none of them serious.’ – Alan Minter
  8. ‘The racecourse is as level as a billiard ball.’ – John Francombe
  9. ‘If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again.’ – Terry Venables
  10. ‘We’ll still be happy if we lose. It’s on at the same time as the Beer Festival.’ – Noel O’ Mahony, Cork City boss before the game in Munich
  11. ‘I would not say he (David Ginola) is the best left winger in the Premiership, but there are none better.’ – Ron Atkinson
  12. ‘He dribbles a lot and the opposition don’t like it – you can see it all over their faces.’ – Ron Atkinson
  13. ‘It took a lot of bottle for Tony (Adams) to own up.’ – Ian Wright (commenting on his teammate’s alcoholism)
  14. ‘Ah, isn’t that nice, the wife of the Cambridge president is kissing the cox of the Oxford crew.’ – Harry Carpenter (BBC TV Boat Race 1977)
  15. ‘Here we are in the Holy Land of Israel – a Mecca for tourists.’ – David Vine
  16. ‘Morcelli has four fastest 1500-metre times ever. And all those times are at 1500 metres.’ – David Coleman
  17. ‘Julian Dicks is everywhere. It’s like they’ve got eleven Dicks on the field.’ – Metro Radio
  18. ‘….and later we will have action from the men’s cockless pairs …’ – Sue Barker
  19. ‘Her time is about 4.33, which she’s capable of.’ – David Coleman
  20. Dennis Pennis: ‘Have you ever thought of writing your autobiography?’ Chris Eubank: ‘On what ?’
  21. ‘Sex is an anti-climax after that!’ – Grand National winning jockey Mark Fitzgerald. ‘Well, you gave the horse a wonderful ride, everybody saw that.’ – Desmond Lynam
  22. ‘To play Holland, you have to play the Dutch.’ – Ruud Gullit
  23. ‘Well, either side could win it, or it could be a draw.’ – Ron Atkinson
  24. ‘For those of you watching in black and white, Spurs are in the all-yellow strip.’ – John Motson
  25. ‘Strangely, in slow motion replay, the ball seemed to hang in the air for even longer.’ – David Acfield
  26. ‘What will you do when you leave football, Jack – will you stay in football?’ – Stuart Hall (Radio 5 live)
  27. ‘I’d like to play for an Italian club, like Barcelona.’ – Mark Draper (Aston Villa)
  28. ‘There goes Juantorena down the back straight, opening his legs and showing his class.’ – David Coleman at The Montreal Olympics
  29. ‘And for those of you who watched the last programme (Fanny and Johnny Craddock), I hope all your doughnuts turn out like Fanny’s.’ – David Coleman at the start of Match of The Day
  30. ‘…and Ray Illingworth is relieving himself in front of the pavilion.’ – John Arlott
  31. ‘These greens are so fast they must bikini wax them.’ – Gary McCord on the greens at Augusta
  32. ‘One of the reasons Arnie (Arnold Palmer) is playing so well is that, before each tee-shot, his wife takes out his balls and kisses them – Oh my God, what have I just said?’ – USTV commentator

Sports Minister Rod Kemp Addresses National Press Club

The Minister for the Arts and Sport, Senator Rod Kemp, has addressed the National Press Club, in Canberra.

Kemp spoke on the funding and organisation of sport in Australia. [Read more…]

Don Bradman Dies, 92

Sir Donald Bradman, the great Australian Test cricketer, has died at his Adelaide home. He was 92.

Once lauded by Prime Minister John Howard as the greatest Australian of the twentieth century, Bradman’s death will see an outpouring of sympathy and sporting memories rarely witnessed. [Read more…]

Cathy Freeman Lights Flame At Olympic Games Opening Ceremony

In what will be seen as a bold political and social statement, the Aboriginal athlete, Cathy Freeman, has tonight lit the flame to open the Games of the 27th Olympiad in Sydney, Australia.

Cathy Freeman holds the Olympic torch aloftWatched by the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, whose government has legislated to restrict native title claims, which disputes the existence of a “stolen generation” of Aboriginal children, and which also refuses to make a national apology, Freeman was the last of a succession of Australian female athletes to carry the flame into the Homebush Stadium.

The Olympic flame was carried into the stadium by Herb Elliot and passed to Betty Cuthbert, Raelene Boyle, Dawn Fraser, Shirley Strickland, Shane Gould, Debbie Flintoff-King and then Freeman, in celebration of 100 years of women’s participation in the Games.

Earlier, a lone horseman charged onto the stadium, followed by 120 men and women on horseback. They welcomed the crowd in classic Australian idiom: “G’day”. [Read more…]

Essendon Wins 16th AFL Flag, Crushes Melbourne By 60 Points

5.30pm – Essendon has won today’s AFL Grand Final, defeating Melboune by 60 points. The final score was Essendon 19-21-135 to Melbourne 11-9-75.

EssendonEssendon has now won 38 of its last 41 matches and equals Carlton’s record of 16 premiership wins. The club has won 4 premierships since 1983.

The easy victory was never in doubt throughout the afternoon, reminiscent of the easy win Labor’s Bob Carr had over the Liberals’ hapless Kerry Chikarovski in NSW last year, or Jeff Kennett’s crushing defeat of Labor’s Joan Kirner in 1992. [Read more…]