Legislative Council: Tuesday, June 27, 2023


Salisbury North Football Club Indigenous Round

The Hon. R.B. MARTIN (15:24): My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Will the minister please update the chamber about his recent attendance at the Salisbury North Football Club's Indigenous round?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (15:24): I would be most pleased to update the honourable member about the Salisbury North Football Club's recent Indigenous round. It was my absolute pleasure to attend the Indigenous round organised by the Salisbury North Football Club once again. I think it was last season was their inaugural Indigenous round celebrations, which I was also very pleased to be able to attend. I was joined in attendance by a number of my colleagues, including the Premier, a very keen and self-described ordinary footballer, the Hon. Peter Malinauskas MP—

An honourable member: Average. Average.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: —very average, not very ordinary; they have very similar meanings but I better correctly describe how he describes himself—and the member for Reynell, the Hon. Katrine Hildyard MP, who is an extraordinary footballer that I have clashed with on the football field a number of times, and I have never come off better for my clashes with the member for Reynell on the football field. I put that down to the coaching she receives from the Hon. Tammy Franks as part of the football coaching in that team, I suspect. The member for Ramsay, the Hon. Zoe Bettison, also recently attended. I want to particularly acknowledge the Mayor of Salisbury, who I think has been in attendance every time I have been to the Salisbury North Football Club.

Coinciding with the beginning of Reconciliation Week, this event celebrates the contribution that has been made by many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander footballers at a local level as well as at the highest levels of South Australian and Australian football. We recognise often, quite rightly and quite proudly, the substantial achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the game of Australian Rules football and also the contribution made by many Aboriginal people to its growth, in addition to many of the individual contributions made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Salisbury North is no exception to many of the clubs that have produced a remarkable array of Aboriginal footballers wearing the green and gold in their earlier days. This includes people like Brownlow medallist Gavin Wanganeen, Ricky and Michael O'Loughlin, Troy and Shane Bond, Shane Tongerie and, of course, Eugene Warrior, the current A-grade coach. The people I have mentioned have accumulated more than 800 AFL games between them, and many other Salisbury North juniors have gone on to become greats in the SANFL, including people like Wilbur Wilson.

Events like this highlight not just the game of football itself but encourage us all to look at ways we can break down barriers for more participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our society, particularly through sport. It also provides a unique opportunity to come together—and there were many discussions on the day that I had with various people who were there who had previously been associated with the club, such as Eugene Warrior senior, the father of the current A-grade coach, and people like Tim Agius, both of whom assured me of just how good they were on the footy field back in the day, particularly in the 1970s.

I would like to take this opportunity in particular to congratulate Eugene Warrior junior for the passionate way he goes about what he does, particularly the Indigenous round at Salisbury North Footy Club and the other activities that the footy club are involved in. I also want to acknowledge a five-goal win by Salisbury North on the day that capped off a very good Indigenous round for the green and gold.