So, which political party is most likely to preselect sporting types in
winnable seats? Step forward the Victorian National Party which has four
former VFL/AFL footballers – Hugh Delahunty, Damien Drum, Peter Hall
and Bill Sykes – out of a total of 11 MPs. These lads dominate the
latest batch of editions to our growing list of pollies who excelled at sport.

Hugh Delahunty: Nationals Member for Lowan in the Victorian Parliament since 1999 and played for Essendon in the 1970s.

Peter Hall: Nationals Member for Gippsland Province in the Victorian upper house since 1988 and played 37 games for Carlton 1971-74.

Chris Natt: Former Port Adelaide ruckman who became NTFL
president before winning the seat of Drysdale off the CLP for Labor at
last year’s Territory elections.

Bill McGrath: Jeff
Kennett’s former Agriculture and Police Minister played one season for
South Melbourne alongside Bob Skilton before returning to the Wimmera.

Ron Best: Said to be the best footballer never to play VFL. The former National
Party MP and husband of current Victorian Liberal deputy leader Louise
Asher still holds the goal kicking record in the Bendigo League with
161 goals, and was vice captain of the country Victorian team.

Sir Gordon Freeth:
Gold medallist in rowing at the 1938 Empire Games and then won the
federal seat of Forrest in 1949 before serving as a minister in the
Menzies, Holt and Gorton governments before becoming Australia’s
ambassador to Japan in 1970.

Sir Frank Beaurepaire: Six-time Olympic swimming medallist who was Lord Mayor of Melbourne from 1940 to 1942.

Edward Best: Won three bronze medals in athletics at the Sydney Empire Games before becoming Lord Mayor of Melbourne from 1969-71.

Two more who fell short

Shirley Strickland: One of the founding members of the
Australian Democrats and stood five times as the number two Democrat
Senate candidate in WA, meaning she probably didn’t want to get
elected, but happily lent her celebrity support.

Rocky Galletari: Former Australian boxing champion Rocky
Galletari stood as a Liberal candidate for the seat of Cabramatta in
the NSW state election in 1995. Infamous for having an AVO taken out
against him by the successful Labor candidate – and current member of
the Iemma ministry – Reba Meagher.

Keep them coming to [email protected]

Peter Fray

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