By Stephen Mayne

The Age has this morning reported
that Phil Cleary, the VFA legend who replaced Bob Hawke as an
independent in Wills, is contemplating a tilt at this year’s Victorian
election either as an independent or with political start-up People Power. Phil is already on our burgeoning sport to politics list but it would be a rare feat indeed if he managed to crack both state and federal politics.

The names just keep on coming and here are another nine:

Don Chipp: The Democrats founder and former Fraser
Government minister played three VFL games for Fitzroy in 1947 and was also
a very talented sprinter.

Trevor Sprigg: the Liberal MLA for Murdoch in WA played
152 games for East Fremantle, six games for WA and is a former chairman
of selectors at the West Coast Eagles who also played first grade cricket
for Fremantle.

Paul Gibson: state Labor Member for Blacktown in NSW for more
than a decade, who played Rugby League for Penrith and other teams
in the 1970s.

Mike Horan: Parramatta Eels rugby league first grader 1967-69
and former Australian Universities (union)
captain. Elected National Party MLA for Toowoomba South in 1991, Health
Minister in the Borbidge Government and touted as a future opposition
leader after the merger fiasco. Mike’s sporting prowess was
overshadowed by
his son Tim, Wallaby legend and now rugby commentator.

Bob Cheek: former Liberal opposition leader in Tasmania who was
a ruckman for Clarence Football Club in the old TFL and even made its
Team of the Century – albeit on the bench. Was also in the State side
in 1969.

Murray Thompson: the son of former Victorian Premier Lindsay
Thompson and Liberal member for Sandringham played for Richmond
from 1973 until 1976.

Two more who failed to cut the mustard

Adair Ferguson: the Democrats candidate for the Federal seat of Ryan in 1990
was a rowing world champion who polled a very respectable 19%.

James Roxburgh: played for the Wallabies but became best known not playing
for the Wallabies when he was one of seven Australian players who refused to
play against the all-white Springbok team on their controversial tour of
Australia in 1971. Stood as a Democrat candidate for the federal seat of Hume
in 2001.

Once this list is finished, it will be interesting to whether there
is another developed democracy which has made so many sporting stars
politicians. Keep the additions coming to [email protected] and feel
free to start on a comparative international list.

Peter Fray

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