Adam Goodes

HUTCHINS (Minister for Local Government) — Today I rise to speak of a man, a footballer, and a hero; a dual Brownlow medallist whose courage and spirit inspire those both on and off the field; an Australian of the Year whose sense of pride in his culture has galvanised pride in his community and in his fellow Australians: of course I speak of Adam Goodes. Unfortunately despite all of these accomplishments we have recently seen what can only be described as racism, bigotry and sheer ignorance directed at Adam.

As Minister for Aboriginal Affairs it has been disheartening and as an Australian it has been devastating, because Aboriginal history and identity deserves to be recognised — and it deserves to be respected. While we have seen an utter lack of leadership from the federal government, we have seen an abundance of leadership from our broader community — from Adam, his teammates and his club; from other AFL clubs; and from Aboriginal leaders and the Aboriginal community. As recently as last night a flash mob war dance was held in Federation Square, coordinated by Richard Franklin.

Adam recently confirmed that he will be returning to the game, saying he had been feeling the love. I hope that is true, because he is truly loved. When he takes his rightful place on the field on Saturday in Geelong, I hope he knows that I and many others will be cheering him on — as a man, as a footballer and as a hero.