THE tropical warmth of the Coral Sea may be a long way from the chilly climes of Canberra, but that hasn’t stopped Opposition Leader Tony Abbott from accepting a position as the Cairns Surf Life Saving Club’s number one ticket holder.
Today, the club will formally announce the relationship, a major coup that will see Mr Abbott invited to participate in future club activities, schedule permitting.
“It’s fantastic that the club has managed to secure someone with such a high public profile as our number one ticket holder,” Cairns SLSC President Chris Haug said today.
“Some people might think it was a bit of a cheeky request, but we knew that Mr Abbott was a keen surf lifesaver and our club has a lot to offer.”
The club’s executive committee, in consultation with life members and other long-term members, nominated Mr Abbott as the “ideal person” to be the number one ticket holder because of his long association with Surf Life Saving and his position as a “highly prominent and respected Australian”.
Warren shows his support for the club, with president Chris Haug, the Speedos to be presented to Tony Abbott, and the letter of acceptance.
“The Cairns SLSLC is one of the oldest clubs in Queensland, established in 1924, so we thought Mr Abbott might like to swap the chilly waters of Sydney for our balmy seas as part of the club’s 90th year celebrations,” Mr Haug said.
The club sent the invitation to Mr Abbott in mid-March, also offering the use of the Cairns SLSC new supporter’s club facility at Palm Cove as an ideal venue for community meetings.
“You and your family would be welcome guests should you choose to holiday in beautiful far north Queensland,” the letter read. “We would love you to join us for a morning swim or paddle around Double Island or perhaps catch you a big fish out on the reef.”
By early April, the club had received a positive response from Mr Abbott, saying he was “honoured” to accept the position and thanking all members, past and present, who have “given up their time over many years to provide such an important service to the local community”.
Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch will also attend the announcement today as a senior representative of Mr Abbott’s Liberal Party, which has promised $10 million to surf clubs to help improve water safety.
“Well done to Chris and the Cairns SLSC for asking the question,” Mr Entsch said. “Surf life savers play a vital role in our coastal communities and are often unrecognised for their dedication, so it would be great to get Tony up here for some of the 90th birthday celebrations.
“And he looks much better in a pair of speedos than I do.”
The club’s annual themed fundraising ball this year is the Don’s Party Ball, to be held on the night of the Federal Election, September 14.
“Going by public opinion, this is the night that Mr Abbott is likely to become our next Prime Minister,” Mr Haug said. “An electoral win by our number one supporter would be a great gift to our club in its 90th year and to the life-saving community in general.”
To find out more about Cairns Surf Life Saving Club, click here