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Governor-General's XI and Indian Women's Cricket Team morning tea, Admiralty House


I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, the Cammeraygal People of the Eora Nation, and pay my respects to their elders, past and present, emerging leaders and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders gathered here today.

Welcome, all, to Admiralty House — especially our visitors from India. Linda and I are delighted to have you here.

Hosting cricket teams at Admiralty House is becoming a bit of a habit — a good habit. Last August we put on a morning tea for the Australian team who had just won The Ashes against England … and here we are now recognising the occasion of the Annual GG’s XI match.

I realise the event is in my name, but the Annual GG’s XI match is now into its fifth year and an important fixture on the cricketing calendar. It’s indicative of the increasing popularity of the women’s game, and tonight’s match gives the Indian team a crucial first hit-out ahead of the T20 Tri-Series  which starts in Canberra on Friday.

Can I say to both teams: Australia is proud of you.

Yes, the cricket itself is important. I get that. But there’s a bigger picture at play here: your contribution to the health and wellbeing of society — in Australia, India or elsewhere.

Linda and I officiated at a couple of citizenship ceremonies last week. We saw the smiles on the faces of people who had just become Australian citizens and we saw the elation among the families. I wondered what contributions our new Australian citizens would make.

Right now, you are pursuing your cricket and you are very good at it. But you are also role models and a source of inspiration to young women the world over.

It’s well known that participating in sport is good for one’s personal development. It’s good for you physically and mentally, and being part of a team helps develop all sorts of other important life skills. So, I commend you for the leading role you are playing in influencing positively young women around the world.

And, it is working — female participation in cricket at the grassroots level in Australia, for example, has experienced record growth in recent years:

  • In the past year, 873 new female teams took to the field.
  • Six out of 10 new cricket participants are female.
  • And, today, nearly half a million women and girls play cricket in Australia — almost one third of all cricket participants here.

No pun intended, but you’re on a good wicket; keep it going.

It’s been great to host you here this morning. Enjoy the hospitality, but don’t get carried away as you’ve got an important appointment at Drummoyne Oval tonight!