When Politicians Do Sport


Our Prime Minister has been in the news for his sporting efforts, although not the glamorous type as he was trying to shoot a basketball in Perth over the weekend.

The Wildcats probably won’t be contacting his Chief of Staff about a contract anytime soon.

That of course sparked an office discussion about some of the other times our leaders have dipped their toe into the sporting world with varying levels of success.

Malcolm Turnbull loves AFL

When the AFL announced a game would be played in Shanghai between Port Adelaide and the Gold Coast earlier this season Turnbull was on deck for the announcement. It’s fair to assume Malcolm may not be the most knowledgeable or active AFL fan but was quick to sing the praises of the code which lead to this video mash-up by the ABC’s Insiders of Malcom Turnbull’s speech declaring his love of AFL and the iconic Aussie movie “The Club”

Paul Keating – Collingwood’s number 1 ticket holder.

Paul Keating was fooling nobody when he adopted Collingwood as his team. In order to appeal to the common man the antique clock collecting, Italian suit wearing Keating decided that going for Collingwood – an historically working class club in the Labor heartland would be the team for him. The Magpies were quick to embrace Keating making him the number 1 ticket holder of the club for a number of years. Prior to the 1990 Grand Final the then treasurer Keating couldn’t contain his excitement on the way to the ground when interviewed by Channel 7 news

When trying to embrace Rugby League Keating once famously declared that  Steve “Blocker” Roach for  “kicked a lot of tries for Balmain”. There are also stories of at one stage Keating staying at the same hotel as the Australian Cricket Team and not having any idea who they were.

Keating set the precedent for Labor leaders embracing the Magpies with then opposition leader Mark Latham hoping on the Magpie bandwagon in the leadup to the 2004 federal election and current leader Bill Shorten is also a Magpies supporter. Despite being Victorian rumors of Shorten’s commitment to the Pies are circulated around speculation he changed teams from the Sydney Swans quite late in life.


John Howard’s Bowling Fail

John Howard was a massive cricket nut and he spent the majority of his summer holidays glued to action, but it is fair to say that he won’t be getting a call-up to the Australian Test side anytime soon. In 2005, Howard was given the opportunity to show off his bowling ability in Pakistan, but in arguably the most famous moment of his Prime Ministership it did not go to plan.

During his tenure as PM Howard famously modeled tracksuits of our national sporting teams when on his morning walks be it the Wallabies, Olympic team or the cricket team Howard made sure he was pounding the pavement in full Aussie tracksuit most mornings.

Tony Abbott – Heavyweight Boxer

Before the budgey-smugglers Whilst studying at Oxford University former prime minister Tony Abbott was a student heavyweight  boxer. In Abbott’s first bout he knocked his first student opponent cold within 45 seconds. He won his second fight in the first round, his third fight against a marine and a much bigger bloke than he was Abbott won by a TKO and in his fourth and final fight Abbott won over another opponent from Cambridge with the bout being stopped in the first round.

Earlier this year Queensland Labor Senator Anthony Chisholm was prepared to challenge Tony Abbott in the ring as an undercard for the Horn-Pacquio fight for charity. Rumors of the fight happening circulated for up to 24 hours but the offer was declined by Abbott and dismissed as “Fake News”.

Albo Takes a Chest Mark 

A politician who seems reasonably legit when it comes to supporting Souths Labor front bencher Anthony Albanese has featured in the annual Reclink Community Cup AFL match in Sydney. The game which started off as a charity footy match in Melbourne is now a national event with Albo featuring in the Sydney edition a couple of times. Unlike some of his other parliamentary colleagues who have stuffed up when attempting sport Albanese was able to take a solid chest mark that’s taught to kids when starting Auskick.


Aussie Sports Stars get elected to parliament/run for parliament.

There have been many a retired sportsperson that has found themselves elected into parliament over the years. Currently in the federal parliament former professional tennis player, commentator and to some referee on Gladiators John Alexander currently serves as the Liberal member for the electorate of Bennalong  since 2010 along with former Geelong player and Fremantle Coach Damien Drum who was elected to federal parliament at the 2016 federal election as the National’s member for Murray. Drum was also minister for sports and veterans affairs in the Victorian parliament before stepping to Canberra. It can also be said that federal Greens leader Richard DiNatalie could also fall under this category as he played footy in the VFA (Now VFL) for Coburg.

Some other recent notable sportspeople turned politicians include Rugby League great Glenn Lazarus who served one term in the senate for Clive Palmer before defecting to start his own “Glenn Lazarus team”; Former NRL referee Tim Mander is currently serving in the Queensland Parliament for the LNP as a shadow minister, Carlton legend Justin Madden served in the Victorian parliament as a minister in the Bracks/Brumby ALP governments and retired from politics in the leadup to the 2014 Victorian election and  Australian winter Olympian Kirstie Marshall served two terms in the Victorian Parliament.

1956 Olympics golden girl the late Shirley Strickland ran for parliament several times at both a state (Western Australia) and federal level for the Democrats. She was never elected.

It also wouldn’t be any article about sports stars running for parliament without mentioning Billy Brownless being considered as a potential candidate for the Liberal Party in 1999 for the seat of North Geelong…

And of course Mal Meninga’s brief flirtation of running for the ACT legislative assembly

It’s not just our pollies at home that love to get in on the act, all around the world we see them trying to show off their fandom and prowess.

George W Bush “Now Watch This Drive”

Bush 43 loved spending his spare time on the golf course and managed to conduct an impromptu press conference before teeing off.

Bush managed to turn the tone of the conference from sombre discussion of terrorist to jovial encouraging media members to “watch this drive”.

Bush was a part owner of the Texas Rangers MLB side from 1989 to 1998 and in that time served as managing partner, actually speaking of baseball…

US Presidents at the Baseball

Almost every US President has taken part in the tradition of throwing out the first pitch at the baseball.

In the old days, the President would toss the ball into a group of players from his box, but recently guys like Bill Clinton, George W Bush & Barack Obama have taken to the mound for their turn.

Current President Donald Trump has so far spurned the first pitch tradition however in his previous life as a celebrity he did take the mound for a local New Jersey team.

In true understated Trump fashion he decided to land a chopper in the outfield for his arrival.

It was certainly a rushed delivery as he raced to the mound and fired the ball towards the catcher, unfortunately it did not quite make it all the way and the catcher was forced to take it on the hop.

Barack Obama From Downtown

Obama never had the opportunity to welcome his Chicago Bulls to the White House but he was famous for being a massive basketball fan.

During the 2015 NCAA tournament he took on Clark Kellogg in a shoot around at the White House and found a smooth rhythm for his jump shot.


Tony Blair as a Striker

The former UK Prime Minister probably won’t be able to expect a call up to the English national side for Russia next year if this is anything to go by.

His technique could use a bit of refinement and playing in dress shoes is not something you will see Wayne Rooney doing.

Blair is reportedly a fan of Newcastle United having been at the games with his father growing up.


Ed Balls Because Dancing is a Sport Too

In all honesty, we just wanted to put Ed Balls in because of his name.

While the former British Labour MP’s primary involvement in sport is as Chairman of Norwich FC in England’s Championship, we just couldn’t look past his dancing efforts in the UK TV series Strictly Come Dancing.

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