Mr CHARLES CASUSCELLI (Strathfield) [5.24 p.m.]: I have noticed that a tradition seems to be forming in this House of bragging about something in one's electorate.
Mr Ray Williams: No.
Mr CHARLES CASUSCELLI: I am sorry, but I have seen it happening. This afternoon I am going to brag about a club in my electorate and issue a challenge to a number of people from my side of politics including the Premier, the Treasurer, and members representing the electorates of Newcastle, Charlestown and Penrith. Up until now I have kept silent about a treasure in the Strathfield electorate but I can remain silent no longer. It may seem strange that an Italian would develop affection for a cricket club as Italians are not renowned cricket players, but as an Italian I admire longevity and tradition.
The Western Suburbs District Cricket Club, which has 117 years of history and tradition, has now attracted my attention and my affection after I attended a presentation night to celebrate its 117th year of cricket. Many people would not know that the Western Suburbs Cricket Club is the home of current Australian cricket captain Michael Clarke. Michael Clarke attended on the night and I thought I would be a bit cheeky and give him some words of advice since he has recently been married. Having been married 32 years, I thought I would be in a position to give him some advice on the subject. I said two things to him.
ACTING-SPEAKER (Mr Gareth Ward): Order! The member for Strathfield will not mislead the House.
Mr CHARLES CASUSCELLI: I promise this is true. I said to him, "Michael, you have to love them to death." He looked at me and said, "Yes." I said, "Secondly, you have to do as you are told." I am not sure whether it is appropriate for me to tell the House how he responded but, to hell with it, I will do so. He said, "I have been married a couple of weeks and I know that already." I thought I was on a winner. I went back to my seat and told my wife what I had just done. She looked at me in the way in which my wife normally does. The member for Hawkesbury would know what happens.
Mr Ray Williams: She doesn't look at me.
Mr CHARLES CASUSCELLI: She does not look at the member for Hawkesbury in that way. My wife said, "What advice did you give Michael Clarke?" I told her what I had said. She looked at me and said that I should listen to my own advice. I kept quiet for the rest of the night. Let me give members a brief history of this wonderful club. The Western Suburbs District Cricket Club has had the honour of producing three Australian captains, dating back to Warren Bardsley in 1926. Warren played grade cricket from 1898 to 1933. He played 291 innings, scoring 12,116 runs. That is the third highest number of runs in grade cricket today. The club also produced Bob Simpson, OBE, who played between 1963 and 1978. And of course today it has Michael Clarke. I challenge the Premier and all other members to look at their electorates and to tell me whether they have a cricket club that has produced three Australian cricket captains. I say to the member for Newcastle that I think it is worth bragging about.
Mr Tim Owen: It definitely is.
Mr CHARLES CASUSCELLI: The highlight of the evening was seeing young men and women win awards for their outstanding contributions to the local community. What touched me was the genuine affection between the elders of the club—those who have been around for two, three, or four decades—who were mentoring a new generation of cricket players. It struck me that the elders of the club felt they had an obligation to provide leadership for the young talent. The respect that the young players have for those who for decades have proven themselves in the history of the club did not escape my attention. The highlight on the night was when Alan Davidson, who played 44 test matches, scoring 1,328 runs, with a batting average of 24.59, spoke about leadership in the game and in the community.
Something he said drew applause and laughter in equal measure. He said, "Being Australian cricket captain is the highest office in the land." Then he reflected on what he had said and continued, "No, that can't be right. The Prime Minister's office has got to be higher." He again reflected on what he said and continued, "No, I think the cricket captain is the highest office in the land because at least he is honest." I acknowledge the president of the club, John Hardgrove, the secretary, Wendy Stead, and the treasurer, Ian Willis. I extend my thanks to the sponsors of the evening, the Wests Ashfield Leagues Club, Mannatech, Triforce Sports and Activate Cricket Centre. The Western Suburbs District Cricket Club will go from strength to strength. I commend its members for their contribution to the community by developing our youth.