8th October, 2012, Parliament House, Canberra: 175 Parliamentarians, staff members, diplomats and sporting bodies took part in the second Canberra Parliamentary Sports Festival on the Monday public holiday in Canberra. Competing across ten sports, a great day was enjoyed by all.
New Speaker The Hon Anna Burke MP enjoyed a short time out with her children to sail on Lake Burley Griffin on her last day as Deputy Speaker. Joined by Shadow Sports Minister Luke Hartsuyker, Senator David Fawcett and MP’s Dennis Jensen and Rob Mitchell the cross party crew enjoyed expert tuition from Olympic silver medalist Olivia Price.
Across town at Reconciliation Place football teams from the Embassies of Afghanistan and Japan took on the Parliament FC and Football United. The finals round took place at the Senate Oval with the Afghanistan Embassy, captained by their Ambassador securing the championship with a draw against Parliament in the final round.
Out at Deakin teams from the Sri Lankan High Commission, the Indian High Commission, the Lords Taverners and Parliament CC took part in a six a side competition. The Parliament team, with Colbeck, Hayes and McCormack to the fore fought hard but eventually went down to the excellent Sri Lankan team led by the High Commissioner. A small consolation for the T20 defeat the previous day to the West Indies.
Back at the Senate Oval, the Touch Football was in full flow with the Brumbies providing two teams to compete against Parliament, Touch Football Australia and the NZ High Commission. In a close final TFA defeated Parliament by one score.
In front of Parliament House Bernie Ripoll MP, Olympian Steve Hodge and other parliamentarians from the ‘Riders on the Hill’ were joined by local cycling group Pedal Power, Michael Milton and local politicians Andrew Barr, Alistair Coe and Shane Rattenbury. All then enjoyed a ride around the ‘greatest half day cycle ride in Australia’ before returning to Parliament House.
Further afield at the golf German Ambassador Christoph Moeller took out the comp despite strong opposition from Randall, Secker and Van Manen amongst others.
The hockey out at Lyneham also proved successful with Sports Minister the Hon Kate Lundy, Andrew Laming MP and the Hon Mark Dreyfus MP taking on an ACT Representative side.
Meanwhile, the tennis competition and the netball match, between the Parliamentary Owls and a Canberra Select team, further flooded the Parliamentary triangle with athletes of all abilities. From former world No. 8 John Alexander MP in the tennis, to multi talented Senator Bridget McKenzie who starred in both the netball and the AFL. The tennis saw Ambassadors from Turkey and Uruguay and a number of their colleagues take on the might of both Parliament and Tennis Australia. Across Parliament House at the netball courts a hard fought game resulted in an honourable draw, with netball declared the winner.
Many competitors then descended upon the Senate Oval for the final action of the day. Led by AFL greats Tom Harley and Dipper, The Senate won with the last kick of the day in an exciting display of AFL 9’s. The Festival was a great example of the cross party goodwill generated by parliamentary sport, politicians from all parties joined together to demonstrate the wonderful relationship building qualities of sport.