Madam Speaker, I wish to take a few moments this afternoon to speak in support of the ACT Brumbies. The Brumbies were formed 21 years ago as one of the founding teams of the Super 12 (now Super Rugby) competition. Since that time, they have become the most successful Australian team in the competition, reaching six finals and winning two – better than all the other Australian teams put together. The Brumbies were also the first team outside New Zealand to win the Super 12 championship, a victory they achieved in 2001.
But the Brumbies do much more than just win their own matches on the playing field. They occupy important spots in both the national and the local rugby scenes. On one hand, nearly 50 per cent of the club’s representatives have earned Australian honours playing for the Wallabies. On the other hand, the Brumbies play an outsized role in Canberra’s amateur rugby ranks. As noted by former club president, Geoff Larkham, the community rugby program supported by the Brumbies here in the nation’s capital is viewed as being better than anywhere else in Australia.
I personally know a current Brumbies player who has expressed to me how much the club has helped him from the time of his youth till now. With his permission, I will share a few of his words, quote: ‘I’ve used rugby to better myself and my family, and the opportunity to do that will be a great struggle without the presence of the Brumbies here in Canberra ... Young boys and girls won’t have the pathway to make something of themselves in sports that they used to’.
But the reach of the Brumbies goes far beyond the world of rugby. The club supports numerous charities on an annual basis, including Bosom Buddies ACT, the Cancer Council, Lifeline, the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, the Woden School, and nearly 20 others. They also provide Brumbies merchandise and tickets, to assist with fundraising and charity events, and both Brumbies players and ‘Brumby Jack’ are available throughout the year to attend community events such as school visits, charity days and hospital visits.
The Brumbies are proud representatives of Canberra and the region, on both the national and international stage, and I sincerely wish them all the best for their contest against the Highlanders at GIO Stadium this Saturday.