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The Adelaide Reclink Community Cup in South Australian Parliament

The below is a transcript of speeches made on behalf of the Adelaide Reclink Community Cup by Tammy Franks MLC and Hon Kyam Maher MLC on the 14th of October 2015.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (20:34:25): I move:

That this council—

1. Recognises that Reclink Australia has been outstanding in delivering sport, recreation and arts participation opportunities to some of the community's most vulnerable and isolated people, at risk youth and those experiencing disadvantage, including mental illness, disability, homelessness, alcohol and other drug issues and social and economic hardship; and

2. Applauds the inaugural Adelaide Reclink Community Cup fundraising football match between players from community and mainstream media (the Adelaide Anchors) and local musicians (the Rockatoos) held on 16 August 2015.

I rise tonight, proudly, in my Adelaide Anchors scarf to note the work of the Adelaide Reclink Community Cup and their inaugural match held at Coopers Stadium in Norwood on Sunday 16 August. It was the first of such events to take place in Adelaide but it has been running interstate, in Melbourne and then Sydney, for 21 years now. It is a wonderful event and Reclink Australia is, indeed, a fine organisation.

Reclink Australia uses sport and the arts to enhance the lives of people experiencing disadvantage and it targets some of the community's most vulnerable and isolated people—those who are experiencing mental illness, disability, homelessness, substance abuse, addiction or social and economic hardship. It has a network of 300 or so member agencies around the country. It also encourages participation in physical activity in a population group that is often under-represented in mainstream sport and recreational programs. In the past 12 months, Reclink Australia has provided more than 100,000 individual opportunities to participate in over 10,000 sport and arts activities around the country, and the Reclink Community Cup is a very crucial fundraiser for that very valuable work.

In Melbourne and Sydney, the music and football loving communities have got to know and love the Reclink Community Cup but in Adelaide we have just had our first taste of it. I note that the Hon. Kyam Maher will be following me and making this a cross-party affair and, hopefully, the first of many Reclink community cups to come in our fair city.

The cup is played with passion and intensity that befits a take-no-prisoners battle between bitter rivals. It is a match between musicians and media. In Adelaide, those teams are known as the Rockatoos (the musicians) and the Adelaide Anchors (representing community and mainstream media personalities). I have chosen to support the Adelaide Anchors, not least because I like to suck up to the media, and that is what I told them in the change room as I awarded them their guernseys.

Certainly, there was an attraction in saying to Michael Owen on the field as he ran past, 'Go you Anchor' (which, if you say it really slowly, has a double meaning that I could not possibly say in this place), but the man who is known as the rude reporter I think enjoyed every single second, not only of the match (and I am sure the Hon. Kyam Maher will have more to say on that) but, indeed, the whole spirit in which the Reclink Community Cup is played.

Some of Reclink's most famous programs would be very well known to members of this council. One is the now-defunct Choir of Hard Knocks, which shot to fame after it was broadcast on ABC TV. Reclink still operates a number of community choirs to this day as well as arts, craft, education and sports programs and teams. It is one of the most wonderful causes of all time, and I have to agree with one of the organisers, Koral Chandler, who says:

Reclink is my favourite cause of all time. They engage disenfranchised and underprivileged members of the community back into the community by using sport and music, two things that I believe to have huge benefits for humans through some experience of my own.

Certainly, sport and music are wonderful things. When you mix a politician in there, I think, quite honestly, you cannot go wrong, and I hope to see many more politicians involved next year. As I say, I was happy to hand out the guernseys to the Adelaide Anchors team and I know that the Hon. Kyam Maher was very honoured to play for the Rockatoos.

Unfortunately, the Rockatoos were victorious on this occasion, but I know that that will be corrected next year. I will stay true to my team now that I am sucking up to all of the media in South Australia by supporting the Adelaide Anchors. I know that, like in Sydney and Melbourne, next year we will be victorious. I have to say that the Adelaide game was an aberration. I did think that, given it was being played on a Sunday, the journos would have held up better than the musicians. I was wrong. The fact that the game was played with two balls by the end and that confusion reigned, I think possibly had something to do with the victory of the Rockatoos, but I am sure the Hon. Kyam Maher will correct me if I am wrong.

I note that other politicians were involved and I commend the member for Fisher, Nat Cook, who volunteered and worked very hard behind the bar to make the day a success. Also, minister Penny Wong, senator for South Australia, conducted the coin toss with her young daughter in the centre of the oval. Next year I am promised by the member for Reynell that she will indeed play for a team. I am not sure if it will be the Rockatoos or the Anchors. I will be putting in a pitch for the Anchors and I am sure the Hon. Kyam Maher might have some thoughts on that.

I note that at least a third of both the teams were women. There was criterion that of the 40 players in the team that at least 12 women had to be on the ground from each team at any one time. I note there were slightly different rules for the women, but I think that the talent certainly shone through for both men and women playing that day.

There were streakers. They were the most entertaining streakers I have seen at a football match in a long time and they were a welcome part of the match. Graham Cornes was the umpire and I think members of both teams quite enjoyed abusing the umpire in the great spirit of the Reclink Community Cup, in that sport was the winner on the day.

The work of sponsors, the Grace Emily Hotel and the Wheatsheaf Hotel, should be commended and also the other sponsors: Radio Adelaide, Three D, Fresh 92.7, Coopers, Channel 9, Norwood Coopers Stadium, Scene Change, XL Security, Pirate Life, Musitec, Foodland Norwood, Young Henrys, the Media and Entertainment Arts Alliance, Active Bodies Physiotherapy, Adelaide Vintage Watch Restorations, Against the Grain Publicity, The Salt, Rip it Up, St Johns and Music SA. It was a wonderful day which showed the power of sport and music to change lives.

It was enjoyed by all of the 1,100 who turned up on the day. The Beards were certainly standout musicians and I know that Max Savage—I am not sure what the name of the configuration of his band was for the day—also played at the half-time gig. Music was integral; sport was perhaps not the winner but certainly was enjoyed by all.

I encourage all members to support Reclink as an organisation. It does some wonderful work and it gets to people and empowers people in a way that any other mechanism might not. Through music, arts and sport you can certainly transform lives. The AFL shows the power of football in this nation to have a transformative effect and certainly the Reclink Community Cup brought that to the masses.

The joy of football and the teams and their training and the camaraderie and, of course, the good works that they would do at the end of the day engaging people who have often been disenfranchised from our society. With those few words I commend the motion and look forward to the contribution of the Hon. Kyam Maher.

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation) ( 20:43 :02 ): I rise today very proudly in my Adelaide Rockatoos top in strong support of the motion moved by the Hon. Tammy Franks. I agree with almost everything she said in her contribution, except for her support for the wrong team on this occasion.

As the Hon. Tammy Franks pointed out, Reclink, established in Victoria in 1990, is a not-for-profit organisation whose work with people experiencing disadvantage by providing opportunities to participate in sport, arts and other recreational programs is to be commended. The work it does in assisting people who may be experiencing difficulties in their lives cannot be overstated.

Reclink's mission statement says 'Respond. Rebuild. Reconnect.' That statement resonates. People experiencing bad luck or hardship do not want to be patronised or pitied but want opportunities to participate in our community in positive ways—and that is exactly what Reclink does.

Reclink's work can be as simple as facilitating a running group, games of basketball or singing groups, as the Hon. Tammy Franks has outlined. By supporting people to become engaged in social activities, participants are encouraged and supported to transition to mainstream sports or arts activities that are happening in their community, and also open themselves up to opportunities to get involved in employment and education. According to Reclink's 2014 annual report, there were more than 7,600 participants taking part in almost 900 different events.

Supporting the work of Reclink is the phenomenally successful participation and fundraising event the Reclink Community Cup, which as the Hon. Tammy Franks told us, took place in Adelaide for the first time this year. What is now the Reclink Community Cup had its genesis in Melbourne in 1993 when punters from the Espy Hotel and the Tote played a game of footy against each other. Organised by Jason Evans and some of his, no doubt, dodgy mates, these two iconic pubs and live music venues set the suburbs of St Kilda and Collingwood against each other, and in the process raised $500 in that first game in 1993 for the Sacred Heart Mission in St Kilda.

In 1997, this social game went to the next level when the Rockdogs, made up of Melbourne's music community, played the Megahurtz, made up from players from well-known community radio stations 3RRR and 3PBS. That game raised $6,000. In 2009, Reclink became the organisation that this social footy game supported. Since then, the Reclink cup has gone from strength to strength.

In 2011, the first game was held in Sydney with the media team the Sailors playing the musos the Walers, and it attracted a stellar cast of players including federal MP Anthony Albanese who has apparently consistently demonstrated why he is more well known as a rugby league fan, than he is an Aussie rules player. However, I am informed that, in the Melbourne game, local state MP Martin Foley has proven himself a bit of the star.

This year the Reclink Community Cup game for the first time also moved to be played in Perth and Adelaide. The Perth game, the last game of the year, saw the media, the Newshounds, take on the musos, the Bandgropers. As the Hon. Tammy Franks has told us, the inaugural community cup held in South Australia this year builds on the long-term success that Reclink has forged, using sport as a mechanism for people to participate and connect.

The musician's team for the game was the mighty Rockatoos taking on the other team, the Anchors, or as the Hon. Tammy Franks has pointed out, when you say it very quickly, it does not altogether sound like the Anchors. The South Australian community cup brought together members of South Australia's media, musical and political community: names such as Koral Chandler, Adam and Ben Hooper, Trevor Dragani, Michael McGuire, Jay Bangers, Amos Gill, Phil Jarvis, Michael Owen and many more.

The community cup was held at Norwood on The Parade at Cooper's Stadium, home of the Norwood Redlegs, in front of a crowd of more than 1,100 people. I must thank the member for Fisher, Nat Cooke, who was taking money off people as they came through, and many MPs, like the Hon. Tammy Franks and Senator Penny Wong, gave of themselves on that day for a great cause.

The final score in the game was the Rockatoos 13.4 (84) to the Anchors 10.4 (64). The result was hardly surprising. After all, the Rockatoos fly up and the Anchors go down, and that is exactly what happened that day. As the Hon. Tammy Franks has said, I was fortunate enough to pull on my boots and play half the game for the mighty Rockatoos in the forward pocket.

The Hon. J.S.L. Dawkins interjecting:

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: What's that?

The Hon. J.S.L. Dawkins: How many kicks did you get?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER: I got a few; I will get to that. The Hon. John Dawkins asked, 'How many kicks did I get?' In fact, I remember distinctly, very early on in the game, in the opening minutes of the game, I had the ball, no-one around me, about 30 metres out, almost straight in front, ready to kick the opening goal, and I kicked it straight out of bounds, but the game carried on. I played in the forward pocket and, unfortunately though, I was not able to contribute to the Rockatoos score in a meaningful way as I was held goalless by the nuggetty back-pocket defender, Michael Owen, my direct opponent for half of that game.

My personal highlight of the game, however, came in the dying minutes of the final quarter. I just happened to be in the right place at the right time to take a mark on the 50-metre line and there was not anyone else from the opposition between me and the goal except for Michael Owen, but with the ball under my arm I ran at Michael Owen. It was the old conundrum: the unstoppable force meeting the immovable object. With the strength of all 69 state MPs I was able to put my arm out, push Michael Owen aside, run into an open goal and give someone else the ball so that they could kick a goal. It was a fantastic game that was enjoyed by all.

Following the game I enjoyed a couple of cheeky beers with my new teammates and got to live out one of my dreams and join the formed for that night all-star band on stage as a back-up singer for a couple of songs. However, when Eagle Rock was played, I did not do what I might have done in my younger days as is traditional with that song and went down and joined the crowd.

The game was played in a great spirit. People thoroughly enjoyed what they did and they remembered what they were there for. I would particularly like to thank Koral Chandler for the role she played in organising the event in South Australia. Can I just say that Koral and her band, the Goodbye Horses, have been nominated for four South Australian Music Awards: Best Female, Best Songwriter, Best New Artist and Best Music Video. Not bad.

Last year Koral played in the Sydney Reclink Community Cup and was astounded at the power of that game to bring people together to do something good that was bigger than the sum of the people playing in the game. Koral, after that game in Sydney last year, got in touch with Reclink and dedicated herself to putting on the event we saw this year. It raised more than $16,000 and had a small army of volunteers all working for this cause. It was a stunning result and a true credit to Koral and her team of organisers.

Plans and preparations are already underway for a bigger, better Community Cup next year with a curtain raiser followed by the big game. Reclink Australia's CEO, Mr John Ballis, hailed the event as a major success and hopes to make this a regular fixture on the South Australian sporting calendar. I know I enjoyed the opportunity to put on the Rockatoos football top, take to the field and support this organisation and help raise funds to ensure Reclink can continue to do what they do.

I, in particular, want to pay tribute to Jason Evans, the bloke who helped start this game back in the early 1990s and is still heavily involved to this day. He came over to Adelaide for this event. He was the coach of the Rockatoos who inspired his charges but more importantly made sure everyone knew what they were playing for—the inclusion and social justice that Reclink represents. I look forward to future Community Cups and the opportunity hopefully to once more don the Rockatoos top for this worthy cause. I have told my teammates I am prepared to do whatever it takes, including learning an instrument, perhaps the triangle, to claim to be somewhat of a musician to take part next year. I thank the Hon. Tammy Franks for moving this motion and look forward to supporting it when it comes to a vote.

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