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Wednesday, 15 June 2005
Page: 116

Mr BAIRD (5:24 PM) —It is particularly interesting to follow the member for Bruce in this debate on the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games (Indicia and Images) Protection Bill 2005. In his speech we had a combination of two things: one was a vague ramble through the notes provided to him by the minister’s office, in which he showed no interest and which he seemed to have no inclination to read—his performance was so poor that he could barely read the words—and the other was political point scoring.

One of the things that you need to remember is that people have memories. As somebody who was minister for Sydney’s Olympic bid, I well remember the requirements that were made by the then Keating government when they provided $5 million for the Sydney bid. They wanted everything. The Prime Minister and his wife had to be there and had to be provided with tickets for all the events. They had to be given appropriate recognition at all the Olympic functions. They had to be included on the bid board—everything. The Keating government gave five million bucks and they wanted the world. They wanted to be on the stage, with clear recognition of the Prime Minister and everybody there—all the ministers had to be up there. You must think that we cannot remember you guys and what you required in return for the extremely modest amount of $5 million. New South Wales had to raise the rest of the bid money, which at that stage was quite substantial—some $25 million. The federal government provided all of $5 million and it wanted the world.

In relation to the Queen’s Baton Relay, which you have been going on about for some length of time, $15 million is being provided by the federal government. Shouldn’t they have some recognition?

Mr Edwards —What about the taxpayer?

Mr Griffin —What about the taxpayer?

Mr BAIRD —The same would apply in Victoria when you open roads. Of course the funding comes from taxpayers’ money, but I would have thought that it is appropriate that representatives of the various governments involved have some recognition in the whole process. Of course, the opposition would not want to have any recognition at all—that is clear! They would want to go absolutely unrecognised and not mentioned! The Keating government wanted to be up front and totally recognised on every occasion.

This is an extremely modest request, given the very large amount of money that the federal government is providing. They are providing $100 million in direct financial assistance and a further $170 million through the provision of support services. Total federal government funding is close to $280 million. Isn’t it appropriate that some recognition be given to the federal government for their involvement in and promotion of this event? I think it is entirely appropriate. It is a bit of a pity that the member for Bruce did not pay a bit more attention to the bill at hand and consider the implications of it. He did not seem to be worried about that. His speech was just a bit of a point-score, which shows where the opposition are all at.

The piece of legislation being brought forward here is quite reasonable. It protects the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. We might remember that no sooner had the logo for the Sydney Games been produced, looking magnificent, than copies started to come in. The legislation was not in place and merchandise came in from Asia in large quantities, so legislation had to be brought in fairly quickly to protect the bid name on a whole range of merchandise: ties, jumpers, logos, brooches, armbands, watches and the whole bit. Of course, as we went into the Olympic Games legislation was enacted which covered the marketing of the games, because protecting these things is important for sponsorship and sponsorship is crucial to games of these kinds. The Sydney Olympic Games was a multibillion-dollar sponsorship event, and that is why it needed to be protected. You spell out what is included; otherwise everyone else will claim credit for promoting your games.

Although a whole range of things are included in this bill, the legislation does provide exemptions for information provision, so, in terms of what the federal government is providing through the Queen’s Baton Relay, that is entirely in keeping with the legislation. The bill protects sponsorship, licensing revenue, indicia and images, particularly for the 2006 period. Anything related to the 2006 Commonwealth Games—and all the other things which are listed as part of the program—is protected. So sponsorships can be protected and ambush marketing—which is people claiming sponsorship when it does not exist—can be stopped.

A similar approach was taken for the 2000 Olympic Games, and the key factor is the restriction of the use of key words, phrases and images for commercial purposes. All the words are set out in the attachment. It contains exemptions for the purpose of providing information for criticism and review by the media as well as factual reporting of what is happening. It enables the Australian Customs Service to apprehend unauthorised goods which would use such terms as ‘Commonwealth Games’, ‘Queen’s Baton Relay’, ‘Friendly Games’ or ‘Melbourne 2006 Cultural Program’. It covers that as well. It contains a sunset clause, which means that the legislation will cease to have effect from 1 July 2006. It complements indicia protection provisions in the Victorian Commonwealth Games Act. At the time of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, the New South Wales government did not have any equivalent of the Victorian act—it was simply up to the federal government—but the Victorian police have the ability to apprehend goods. The Victorian act has an authorisation scheme and a register, a purpose test, and it recognises the Australian Commonwealth Games Association and the Commonwealth Games Federation.

What we have in this bill is protection for the Commonwealth Games, which is going to be a major event watched by many millions of people around the world. The bill will ensure the financial viability of the games by protecting the sponsors, the logos and the words that are associated with the games. I remember that in the Sydney Olympic Games ‘Ollie’, ‘Millie’ and ‘Syd’ were protected, and we will also be able to protect the various similar kinds of words associated with the Melbourne games. This is important for commercial sponsorship reasons. It is also important to ensure that the games can operate without being ambushed by all the bogus marketers who might want to climb on board. The protection this bill provides will ensure that goodwill will be associated with the Melbourne Games.

I congratulate the Victorian government on the preparation for these games. I think the games will be a great success and that they will be widely applauded. We certainly hope that, in line with what Juan Antonio Samaranch had to say at the end of the Sydney Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games in Victoria can be declared the best ever Commonwealth Games. We on this side of the chamber are doing our bit to protect the various logos and indicia for the Commonwealth Games, to ensure that we have a successful commercial enterprise that is appropriately protected. We do not want the political stuntsmanship that is going on on the other side of the chamber. Clearly the opposition spokesman had not read his brief. He picked up the brief from the minister’s office, but he barely read the words through before he started to get into political punches which were a lot of nonsense. We are providing $260 million for the Commonwealth Games, but the Labor party do not want to see us anywhere. It is a case of ‘just send the money and disappear’. I think the minister had news for them. Yes, it is appropriate that the Victorian government get due recognition, but we would expect some recognition for the very large amount of money provided by this government for the games.