Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - /contents - Pho­tog­ra­phy MICK BRUZZESE In­ter­view ADRI­ENNE TAM

Sports pre­sen­ter Mark Beretta on be­ing crowned 2019’s Aus­tralian Fa­ther of the Year.

You have just been named 2019’s Aus­tralian Fa­ther of the Year. You’re in fine com­pany with past win­ners in­clud­ing former prime min­is­ter John Howard, artist Ken Done and sci­en­tist Dr Karl Kruszel­nicki, among many oth­ers. How does that feel? I feel like I’d bet­ter go! [Jok­ingly gets up to leave.] It’s re­ally hum­bling. I feel very out of my league. I’d like to think I’m just a nor­mal dad. But look, if it’s some­thing that makes peo­ple think about the roles dads play, it’s a good thing. What con­sti­tutes a good dad? It’s about keep­ing an eye on ev­ery­thing hap­pen­ing around you and be­ing able to lis­ten. I have an engi­neer­ing back­ground so I’m into res­o­lu­tions – if you give me a prob­lem, I will give you a so­lu­tion. That’s ap­par­ently not al­ways the right thing to do; some­times you should just lis­ten.

What did your wife Rachel and your kids [Ava, 15 and Dan, 12, all pic­tured at right] think when you told them you had won? They were very ex­cited. And they thought it was hi­lar­i­ous.

Does win­ning mean you never have to do the dishes again, walk the dog or take out the rub­bish? Ab­so­lutely. I just sit on the throne now. No, I’ll be busier than ever. There will be ex­tra things for me to do.

Speak­ing of things to do, you have re­cently joined the Army Re­serves. How many push-ups did you have to do to get in? I did 15 push-ups, 45 sit-ups and you have to do the beep test – you have to run 20 me­tres and you have to keep up with the beeps. So it beeps, and the beeps get faster. I’m 53 and I’m try­ing to do what the new re­cruits do at 18.

One of the cri­te­ria for be­ing nom­i­nated for Fa­ther of the Year is to be an in­spi­ra­tional role model. You must be one be­cause you’ve won it, but who are your role mod­els? I would prob­a­bly go to my own dad, first up. He’s al­ways had a tremen­dous sense of com­mu­nity. That in­stilled in me the sense of giv­ing back, and I think I may have got that through to my chil­dren as well. If I had one legacy, or one thing I’m most proud of, it’s hope­fully giv­ing the kids the sense that they are part of a big­ger com­mu­nity and it’s im­por­tant to take the time to give back to that com­mu­nity. I also take a lot of in­spi­ra­tion from Kochie [Sun­rise co-host David Koch]. He is some­one I’ve looked up to for a long time; he’s an amaz­ing man in what he’s done in his life and just his whole at­ti­tude to peo­ple. He’s a very warm, car­ing per­son for a huge, big fella.

Does your dad’s par­ent­ing style in­form your own? Ap­par­ently they’re al­most iden­ti­cal! Like all chil­dren, I thought I would do some­thing dif­fer­ent, but ap­par­ently not. No, look, it’s amaz­ing. I’m happy about that.

So ba­si­cally you’re say­ing your fa­ther should claim credit for your award. [Laughs.] He’s in­cred­i­bly hum­ble. He would never even think about that. Whereas if Dan won it, I’d cer­tainly take the credit.

Do you re­mem­ber the mo­ment when you first be­came a fa­ther? Ev­ery sec­ond. I re­mem­ber the mu­sic I was lis­ten­ing to driv­ing back to the

hospi­tal ev­ery morn­ing, to see Rachel, to bring them home. And that mo­ment of driv­ing out of the hospi­tal, where all of a sud­den you are handed this beau­ti­ful bun­dle of a per­son. “Over to you now, you gotta do this!” And they for­got to give us the in­struc­tions, like they do for ev­ery­one [laughs]. It’s the great­est thing to hap­pen in life.

After more than 15 years on the Seven Net­work’s Sun­rise, what do you think are the best and worst parts of break­fast TV? We can’t do any­thing on week­nights. And on Fri­day nights, we are so tired – you’re just ex­hausted a lot. But I love it, and it’s a priv­i­lege. I work with an in­cred­i­ble team who I con­tin­u­ally ad­mire and re­spect.

Today is Fa­ther’s Day. How will you spend it? I would love to do a big bar­be­cue and have some friends over. My mum and dad are in Gee­long so it’s un­likely I’ll see my dad, but I’ll give him a ring and have a good chat. They’ve been go­ing through a bit of a tough time at the mo­ment; my mum’s hav­ing chemo. She’s go­ing good. They are just fan­tas­tic in­spi­ra­tions as par­ents. They’ve had a won­der­ful mar­riage for the bet­ter part of 50-plus years. And they’ve raised three boys, who’ve not al­ways been on the right track. We all de­vi­ate a lit­tle bit. But I think they’re gen­er­ally proud of us.

What is the tough­est thing you’ve learnt as a dad? Oh, there are so many things I’ve learnt. We’re at a re­ally tricky stage with Ava at the mo­ment. Year 9 is quite no­to­ri­ous. I am deal­ing with the par­ties on Fri­day and Satur­day nights. And some­thing I thought I’d al­ways be pretty cool with, but turns out I’m not, is the out­fits that go out the door some­times. So I look at Rach and she just says, “Don’t say any­thing.” But, you know, it’s your lit­tle baby grow­ing up, and all of a sud­den the skirts are a lit­tle bit shorter than you might like and the tops are a lit­tle more midriff than you might have thought was the way to go, but what do you do? You just suck it up and keep your bloody mouth shut.

“Oh, there are so many things I’ve learnt… You just suck it up and keep your mouth shut”

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