In Parliament

Condolence Motion - Shane Warne



Thursday, 7 April 2022.

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (11:28):

Shane Keith Warne, what a bloody legend!

When Shane Warne passed it felt like Australia had collectively skipped a beat. Though we miss and mourn those who pass, there are some who touch us so deeply that we hold our collective breath when they pass and openly grieve as a community. Well, Australia stopped when Shane passed.

He has left a significant imprint on our nation: one of the five Wisden Cricketers of the Century, the greatest Australian captain we never but should have had. Deep and heavy footprints he has left across his 52-year life, a life filled ten times over.

Shane was a man of profound achievement, a man who like most of us started as a boy kicking a football and playing backyard cricket with his brother, dreaming about his future. The difference is that boy grew up and became a rockstar of cricket—a rockstar who delivered magic when he bowled.

Over recent weeks we have all seen the outpouring of love for Shane, and he was loved for many reasons. Part of that love can be explained quite simply. In many ways Shane embodied the Australian character.

He was an underdog who took up cricket after being denied his football dream.  He was egalitarian—he never had tickets on himself, no tickets despite becoming the cricketing legend who delivered the Gatting ball, the Boxing Day hat-trick and took a career haul of 708 test wickets. He was a larrikin and a self-described bit of a bogan in the best possible way, a bloke who took a sandwich maker and plastic cheese with him to India. He was a man with a big smile who never took himself too seriously.

Perhaps what we all loved so much about Shane was that despite his skill and achievement he was authentic. Of course, he made mistakes, like we all do, many of which he lived through publicly, but he owned them. He was a bit of a scallywag with a cheeky laugh, and not just the laugh—he really loved to sledge, and I confess I fell victim to it more than once.

I recall Shane arriving at an event in Brighton once soon after coming back from overseas. He had a fresh haircut. He had an undercut. I mentioned to him that it was a seriously edgy new look, and he paused, looked me dead in the eye and said, ‘I’ve done you a favour, James’. Can you imagine my response? I stopped absolutely dead. He had stumped me. I asked how the king, someone who I had idolised since I was a teenager, had done me a favour. ‘Well’, Shane said, ‘now Brighton won’t just be talking about your hairstyle, mate’—and he delivered it deadpan, before lighting up, overly pleased with himself.

Despite the sledge, I should point out that the event was in support of a Bayside sporting club, and that is the way he was: giving up his time to help kids. He would often get out and train with the local clubs, helping young kids learn sport. In fact whenever he would attend he would arrive, speak as briefly with the team executives as he could without being impolite and then head straight out onto the field, where he would spend hours with the kids.

He also gave to the community through the Shane Warne charitable foundation, which while it operated donated over $4 million to sick young people. And let us not forget his charitable $1 million donation to the bushfire appeal when he sold his iconic baggy green cap.

Shane was an incredibly loved person in Bayside. He was part of our community, and he gave to our community—a boy from Sandringham Primary, Hampton High and Mentone Grammar.

As he would often say, Brighton was his patch, and he had certainly worked his way through a lot of Brighton property. Now, he has done all of Brighton.

With that in mind, I want to acknowledge his parents and children, who spoke so beautifully at the recent memorial: Summer, who was so deeply honest and raw; Jackson, who spoke so openly of missing his best mate; and Brooke, who has always been such a brave eldest sibling.

To his family, we as a Parliament send our condolences, and on behalf of my community: Brighton will miss you, Shane, very much.

Rest in peace, legend.