Legislative Council: Wednesday, June 28, 2023


Women's World Cup

Adjourned debate on motion of Hon. F. Pangallo (resumed on motion).

The PRESIDENT: Before I call the Hon. Ms Bonaros, the amendment originally circulated and moved by the Hon. Ms Bourke contained a drafting error and referred to paragraph 6, and should have been paragraph 5. There is no paragraph 6 in the motion. I now ask the Hon. Ms Bonaros to move her amendments.

The Hon. C. BONAROS (16:55): I support the motion wholeheartedly and commend my colleague for bringing it to the attention of this house and thank all honourable members for speaking and move:

Before paragraph 1 insert new paragraph as follows:

1. Acknowledges Australia and New Zealand will co-host the FIFA Women's football World Cup 2023 from 20 July to 20 August;

After paragraph 5 insert new paragraphs as follows:

6. Expresses its sincerest condolences on the recent passing of former Socceroos coach Rale Rasic, the first coach to take Australia to the World Cup finals in 1974, and coach of Adelaide City Soccer Club between 1979 and 1980; and

7. Reflects on the considerable contribution Rale Rasic made to the advancement of women's soccer in Australia.

The Hon. F. PANGALLO (16:56): I thank all members who have contributed to this motion. As has been mentioned, this will be a significant event for Australia and New Zealand. The Women's World Cup is second only to the Men's World Cup and is regarded as one of the biggest sporting events to come to Australia since the Olympic Games in the year 2000.

In my speech to the motion, unfortunately in the period in between we have seen the passing of Mr Rasic, who has been mentioned in the amendment to the motion. I will give a brief summary of Mr Rasic, who I got to know when he came to South Australia in 1979 as coach of the Adelaide City Soccer Club and was there for two seasons—probably one of the most distinguished soccer coaches in Australian history. As mentioned, he coached Australia to its first World Cup in 1974.

It was an arduous journey to get to West Germany at the time. Australia I think had played more than 32 qualifiers in places around the world and, against all odds, managed to qualify for that tournament in West Germany. They were grouped into the most difficult of groups, with the eventual winners West Germany, East Germany and Chile. Australia did not score any goals in that tournament but they managed to get a draw with the Chileans to score their first point at World Cup level. I think at the time only 16 teams had qualified for the World Cup, and it was an incredible achievement by Mr Rasic and the other Socceroos involved in that campaign. They become overnight heroes and legends to this day.

As for Mr Rasic, he had a very colourful career as a club coach. He coached a number of clubs in the national competition before making his way to South Australia in 1979 and 1980. He came to South Australia with that huge reputation and also his skills as a coach and mentor for young players. He managed to secure Adelaide City's first national trophy in the national competition, winning the Phillips Cup in 1979. He was also instrumental in bringing one of the world's biggest sporting clubs to South Australia, the New York Cosmos, who came here in 1980 and played at Olympic Sports Field and attracted a huge crowd.

After leaving Adelaide City, Mr Rasic then went on to coach clubs in the Eastern States. A lot has been said of his coaching career but also the fact that he mentored women's football in Australia in the early 1980s. He was a very strong supporter of women's football. Not much has been recorded about the Matildas or the Australian women's team in the 1970s and 1980s, but they were a significant player in what was still a growing sport for women worldwide, and Australia took part in Asian competitions. Mr Rasic was a strong supporter of the women's football movement, and also of the national team, and gave them strong support.

Another aspect of Mr Rasic's support for women and girls playing the sport of football or soccer was his own coaching clinics, some of which I attended as an observer and a guest of his. Rale often would include girls and boys in his coaching clinics. You did not see much of boys and girls being encouraged to participate together in junior soccer clinics in the 1980s and 1990s, but Mr Rasic did that and, again, was very supportive of the women's football movement. It is a pity that Mr Rasic will not be here to see the Women's World Cup, because I am sure he would have been proud of the fact that it has come to Australia.

Unfortunately, he passed away about three weeks ago. It was during a trip to Taiwan that I heard the sad news of his passing. Of course, there have been many tributes paid to Mr Rasic by the soccer fraternity, not only in Australia but globally as well. There was a moving tribute made by the current Socceroos coach, Graham Arnold, while Australia was preparing to play Argentina in China recently. He paid testament to the strong contributions that Mr Rasic made to the game here. Of course, we know that he is an inductee in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

With that, I would like to again pass on the condolences of the Legislative Council to Mr Rasic's family and his children. He has two children, a male and a female, and there are also others in his extended family. I thank the other members for their contributions and I am looking forward to Australia doing exceptionally well in the Women's World Cup where the Matildas are one of the favourites. I commend the motion to the chamber.

The PRESIDENT: There are a number of questions I need to put before we finally put the motion. The first one is that new paragraph 1 as proposed to be inserted by the Hon. Ms Bonaros be so inserted.

Question agreed to.

The PRESIDENT: The next question I am going to put is that paragraph 5 as proposed to be struck out by the Hon. E.S. Bourke stand as part of the motion. If you are supporting the Hon. Ms Bourke you will say no.

Question resolved in the negative.

The PRESIDENT: So, the Hon. Mr Pangallo, you are supporting the Hon. Ms Bourke's amendment?

The Hon. F. PANGALLO: Yes.

The PRESIDENT: The next question is that new paragraph 5 as proposed to be inserted by the Hon. Ms Bourke be so inserted.

Question agreed to.

The PRESIDENT: The next question is that new paragraphs 6 and 7 as proposed to be inserted by the Hon. Ms Bonaros be so inserted.

Question agreed to; motion as amended carried.