March 02, 2020

John Cootes is an Australian legend, and his legendary status was recognised on Australia Day when he was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia.

Many people will know John as a champion rugby league player, in fact he was the last country player to be directly selected into the New South Wales Origin team and the Kangaroos, and dare I say the last Catholic priest to be selected for the Kangaroos. He represented Australia in the late 1960s and the 1970s, and he was the Rugby League World Cup’s top try-scorer in 1970.

Others will know him as the head of the hugely successful John Cootes Furniture store chain, and also for his high-profile media career in the 1970s and 1980s.

However, John’s Medal is for his outstanding services to the community, particularly with the St Vincent de Paul Society and the Speers Point Sailing Club. These two volunteer groups are wonderful examples of the tremendous contribution volunteers make in our community, and I take this opportunity to pay tribute to them as well. As an aside, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing John’s prowess on the keyboard singing both country and western at the Speers Point Sailing Club presentation nights.

John, on behalf of the people of Shortland who I have the great privilege to represent in Parliament, I thank you and pay tribute for all your giving service over many decades. Also thank you again to St Vincent de Paul for being so strong in their support for both John and our broader community.

View my full speech here.