Senate debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Statements by Senators

South32 Rottnest Channel Swim

1:40 pm

Photo of Glenn SterleGlenn Sterle (WA, Australian Labor Party) Share this | Hansard source

I love licorice! I want to talk about the South32 Rottnest Channel Swim. It's a 19.7-kilometre open-water swim from Cottesloe Beach in WA to Rottnest Island, held this year on 24 February. I have to tell you, before I get carried away, that it is highly regarded worldwide and one of Western Australia's iconic events. The Rottnest Channel Swim is a 19.7-kilometre open-water swim, as I said.

I have participated in the Rottnest Island channel crossing on a number of occasions. I have skippered twice and I have paddled solo three times for my daughter, who has done team events and, I think, about four solo crossings. I have to say that there were no fewer than 2,600 swimmers and, I think, about 1,000-odd boats in the water between Cottesloe and Rotto that day, and I believe there were about 600 people all-up who were involved in volunteering and helping out.

I want to take the opportunity to sincerely recognise and thank the Rottnest Channel Swim Association president, Dr Kirsty Bellombra. I couldn't be there this year, because I was home at my place on that beautiful day, 24 February, helping Dr Bellombra's husband babysit my grandchildren. Love you, Kirsty—great effort. Fantastic. There were many records broken. I had the pleasure of going over on the Sunday with the grandkids to see Rottnest still alive, with people walking around Rotto with their numbers still on and with sunburnt noses. There were a few hangovers and all that sort of stuff, but it was a truly amazing weekend. I've said to Kirsty, 'Look, I am retired now, and the odd shark sighting has put me off; I'll put it down to getting a little bit too old,' in response to which she told me I got a reprieve for about seven years while she was having children. She said she's going back next year. I think I'll be one of the volunteers helping on the island. Well done to Kirsty and to all in the Rottnest Channel Swim.


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