JULIE BISHOP: Thank you Michelle and Stacey. Yes we did plan this weather to show the different types of conditions!
History is filled with stories of women – particularly young females – who take to disguising themselves as men in order to take part in the man’s world. Female authors used to use male pseudonyms, in fact, the first women to ever circumnavigate the globe was a French woman who disguised herself as a sailor to get aboard the French naval vessel back in the 18th century.

But let’s fast forward to today when Stacey Jackson’s Ocean Respect Racing team will be the first female professional team to take part in the Sydney to Hobart race. Stacey and her team will be against some of the best sailors in the world and some of the best boats. Stacey like the other Olympians here today, Ian Thorpe, Danny Roche, is taking participation to a new level and leading an all-female crew. We have great expectations that Stacey and her team’s dream of lifting the Tattersall’s Cup and actually winning the overall handicap honours will come true.

Now I was absolutely delighted to be asked to be ambassador for Ocean Respect Racing. I kind of thought that I would end up as an ambassador one day so – tick. And while I’m not technically a sailor I have been a patron in more than a number of sailing clubs in Perth – which I think is the home of sailing in Australia – and I’ve opened many sailing seasons so I think that gives me some credibility to at least be an ambassador for the team. But I share Stacey’s passion for female participation in sport, the empowerment of the women and her absolute commitment to cleaning up our oceans and stopping ocean pollution. Now, I’m part of the team to the extent that I’m here to support and advise, and I’m also hoping to be able to sail with the crew. In fact, I’m planning to be on Wild Oats X on Boxing Day when the crew leaves Sydney Harbour. We’re just planning on how I get off once the boat leaves and heads and turns right to Hobart. We’re still working on that.

First I want to thank the Oatley family for gifting us – we thought giving us – but gifting us Wild Oats X and I should say to Sandy Oatley, we do have our eyes on Wild Oats XI don’t you worry! But this magnificent 66-foot mini-maxi will be a delight for the girls to sail and thank you so much to the owners for that incredible generosity. Now when a young female team decides to take the 628 nautical mile trek to Hobart aboard a 66-foot yacht, you must appreciate that they need a lawyer so I want to thank Bruce Cooper and the team from Clayton Utz and they have put together necessary documentation and important structures in a very short period of time.

We are partnering with 11th Hour Racing and that’s an organisation associated with Wendy Schmidt and we thank her for her personal support and advice and of course the values and passion of this team align very much with 11th Hour Racing ideals – of sustainable oceans and cleaning up ocean pollution. I also want to thank a great Australian design team KOOKAI and Caroline Elliott is here from the KOOKAI team. We gave them a few moments notice and said we’d like some non-yachting team uniforms and Rob Cromb came to the fore and said we can do that. We have white, black and a few combinations so the team will be looking very smart, and can I say there is a tribute to the red shoes?

Finally, I just want to mention the fact that Ocean Respect Racing is also aligned with the UN Clean Seas pledge and Australia recently signed up to the Clean Seas pledge to ensure that we raise awareness about ocean pollution, that we reduce the risk of single-use plastic, and that we are part of ensuring our oceans are healthy and sustainable. So I couldn’t be more delighted than to be part of Ocean Respect Racing and I wish Stacey and her team all the very best to bring home the Tattersall’s Cup.

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