Arthur Beetson statement
The Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Nigel Scullion’s statement on Arthur Beetson:
Arthur Beetson was a giant, both figuratively and literally, on the rugby league field as one of the greatest players the game has seen.
As the first Indigenous person to captain a national team, Artie was a trailblazer and an inspiration for all Aboriginals.
Arthur lit the fuse that is State of Origin, showing champions have one more big game in them when at the age of 35 he captained the mighty maroons in the first ever Origin match in 1980.
He is an immortal in rugby league but was seen in a similar light to Indigenous Australians, a giant among his people as much as he was on the field during his playing days.
Arthur did much to help his people long after he had hung up the boots, lending his profile to many education programs aimed at helping Indigenous youth to stay in school or get training and a job.
It was terribly sad that on the day he died he was to attend the ARTIE Fun Day on the Gold Coast, a program he put his name to, which around 300 indigenous children were attending.
That 300 kids wanted to see big Artie, none of whom would had seen him play or even coach Origin, showed that his influence was as strong as ever.
He used his legendary status to try and benefit his people and that made him a true legend.
I wish to pass on my condolences to his family and friends and I am sure there are many young Aboriginal children all over this country will shed a tear in memory of a man who helped them on a path to a better life.
His legend will live on.
Vale Arthur Beetson.
Media contact: Russel Guse – 0438 685645