Oh dear: Conroy watched the soccer during the spill


It was an eventful night last Wednesday night in Canberra … many politicians and their staff had late nights as Julia Gillard gathered support for her successful prime ministerial leadership push against Kevin Rudd. Throughout the process – and since – Delimiter has been trying to contact Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to ask what side he was on.

With a cabinet reshuffle coming up, many have begun to believe that rival Labor Senator Kate Lundy – a staunch Gillard supporter — should be a contender for Conroy’s own job. So we wanted to get Conroy’s thoughts on the matter.

It turned out we needn’t have bothered – Conroy had higher things on his mind, as he made clear during an appearance on Santo, Sam and Ed’s Cup Fever on SBS this week. You can watch his performance online — Conroy enters around the 13min mark. News of this story came first from iTnews.com.au.

Draped in the colours of his favoured soccer teams (Chelsea and the Socceroos), Conroy made it clear he was quite busy on the night of the spill.

“I stayed in parliament House until about 11, 11:15, then I went home, watched England play, set the alarm, got up at 4:30, watched the Socceroos, magnificant performance, and turned up with 2 hours sleep,” Conroy told the hosts.

“Everyone said were you up all night making phone calls, on the phone, lobbying for the leadership? I said no, I was watching the soccer.”

Conroy himself apparently plays in the Federal Parliament’s own soccer team – which he said squares off against all the international embassies in “a parliamentary world cup”. And it’s been doing fairly well.

“We beat the UK high commission, we beat the Canadian high commission, we beat Indonesia,” said Conroy. “ We beat the UK High Commission, we beat the Canadian High Commission, we beat Indonesia. And then we played the Parliamentary staff team, and we beat the kids, which was very impressive.”

However, Conroy’s team was beat on Wednesday morning by Malaysia – including, he said, three guys with mohawks, who “may have been ring-ins”.

The Communications Minister’s interest in the world game has previously been revealed – he’s an ambassador for the Football Federation of Australia and regularly attends games, including as a guest of various organisations, according to his parliamentary disclosure record.

And the minister also revealed one detail which most people usually prefer to keep buried in their past. Asked by a presenter what they could call him – Senator, Steve, etc, or “Conners”, Conroy replied that “Conners” was what people called him when he was a kid.

Oh dear.

Image credit: Delimiter screenshot of SBS online broadcast


  1. You mean Conroy had faith that Gillard and co (you’re assuming he wasn’t available by phone if needed by the way) were going to topple Rudd so he decided to do something he enjoyed in what in reality is his personal time?

    I don’t think Conroy is the right man for the job either, but of you’re going to attack him at least have some dignity about it.

    • Sorry Tezz — whatever way you want to play it, it is either amusing or disturbing that while one of Australia’s greatest political ‘night of the long knives’ went down, Conroy claimed to be safe at home watching the soccer. To me this sounds like what in police circles they call an “alibi”.

      • Well the bottom line is that he didn’t really need to be in that meeting, his position was known and he wasn’t challenging for the leadership so really only Gillard and Swan needed to be there.

        Actually the fact he was up watching the soccer gives me slightly more respect for him. It’s not at the top of the list for my favorite sports but I still dragged myself out of bed to watch every Socceroos game, no matter what the outcome I was still going to cheer for the country and it turned out to be the best game they played during the tournament.

        As much as I disagree with some of his policies I think it’s good we’ve got a minister so actively involved in sport.

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