Joanne Ryan MP
Federal Member for Lalor
Joanne Ryan MP

Women In Sport

I rise as the member for Lalor, and I am very proud to do so. I remind the House that the electorate was named after Peter Lalor, who is famous for his role in the Eureka Stockade and who became a parliamentarian. It is not to be confused with the suburb of Lalor on the opposite side of Melbourne. I rise today to speak on this motion, because I think it is an incredibly important one, as is accuracy. I take some umbrage with the words from the member for Corangamite, because there seems to be a disconnect happening. This government cuts funds and then blames those on the end of those funding cuts for the decisions that they are forced to make, and the rationalisation they have to make to make ends meet. This government, and the member opposite, were careful to point out exactly what the size of those cuts were, and I thank her for giving us those details. Also, there is this tendency to continually talk about the taxpayer dollar, as if the ABC has been funded in some other way. I remind the member for Corangamite that that is why we call it 'our ABC', our national broadcaster.

I will go on to say that the ABC has done an incredible amount of work across the 35 years mentioned by the member for Bendigo. My first year of teaching was at Darwin High School some 28 years ago. The 28 years is important, because 28 years ago I asked my English class students to monitor the local media in the Northern Territory and collect data on what sports were being covered by local radio, television and newspapers. Surprise, surprise, what did they find? They found 28 years ago that womens sport was getting very poor coverage locally. It was getting some coverage, but it was marginal compared with men's sport. This was in 1985. My students would be shocked to find that those statistics have echoed across the years.

I did some research on this. In 2006 the New South Wales Department of Sport and Recreation did a similar survey of media coverage of women in sport and found that the gender breakdown of sports media coverage in 1996 was two per cent for television. Two per cent of television coverage of sport went to womens sport, 56.2 per cent went to men's sport and 41.8 per cent to mixed sports. It was better in the newspapers in 1996—it was 10.7 per cent of newspaper coverage. But this is what the New South Wales Department of Sport and Recreation said of the period between then and 2006:

Women have made a consistent and significant contribution to Australian sport at all levels, yet their achievements on the whole receive limited coverage by the mass media. The quality and quantity of the coverage of women's sport by the media is not an accurate reflection of the amount of sport played or watched by women. Media coverage is generally inadequate and selective. A high media profile is essential for attracting sponsorship, spectators and other sources of financial support.

That is a quote from 2006, some years after the survey my students did.

In 2012 I found a submission the ABC put to a Senate inquiry into women in sport and recreation in Australia. This report tracks some of the history of the ABC and the good work it did in covering womens sport and in increasing the coverage of it.

Since 1975, ABC Television has been broadcasting the national netball competition …

We now know that that has gone to pay TV. When I say to my small netball team that I coach on a Saturday morning, 'Did you watch those intercepts Laura Geitz made last week?', 'Did you watch the Firebirds game yesterday?' or 'Did you watch the Phoenix game?', they say, 'We haven't got Foxtel, Miss, we can't watch it.' In recent history, of course, the ABC covered the women's national basketball and it covered the trans-Tasman netball. In 1982, the Australian women's hockey championships were covered by ABC television for the first time. (Time expired)


Do you like this post?

Be the first to comment


Connect with Joanne Ryan MP