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Monday, 15 June 2009
Page: 5906


Mr CRAIG THOMSON (3:51 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Early Childhood Education, Childcare and Youth and Minister for Sport. Will the minister update the House on Australia’s bid for the 2018-22 FIFA World Cup?


Ms KATE ELLIS (Minister for Early Childhood Education, Childcare and Youth and Minister for Sport) —I thank the member for his question and I would of course be delighted to update the House on the exciting developments with the official launch of the World Cup bid yesterday. Before doing that I would like to take the opportunity to place on the parliamentary record the Australian government’s congratulations to Football Federation Australia, to Pim Verbeek, to captain Lucas Neill and of course to the phenomenal Socceroos on their recent historic qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. I know that the whole parliament will join in adding their congratulations. This achievement should not be underestimated. It is after all only the third time that Australia has qualified to compete with the best of the best on the world stage in this sport. But it is also the first time that we have been able to go back-to-back, and the manner in which we did it was without conceding a single goal and we qualified with two games remaining, all of which make it a truly remarkable achievement.

The Socceroos have shown that Australia has become a major player on the world stage when it comes to football. This was also demonstrated yesterday with the official launch of our FIFA World Cup bid. I know that the official launch of our bid was attended by members from both sides of the House and quite literally brought football into the parliament. When the bid was launched by the Prime Minister yesterday, the message that Australia sent to the world was clear: Australia is ready and we want the world to come and play on our home turf. I would like to particularly note the contribution that the Leader of the Opposition made yesterday when he stated that the bid had ‘the unequivocal support’ of both sides of the House and that the opposition and the government will be ‘side by side, joined at the hip, as dual strikers’ to bring the World Cup to Australia. I think it is important that we note that, on these major international ventures, this parliament does work together very productively because we know that bipartisanship is crucial to the success of the prized goal.

We also know that, beyond politics, the involvement and the inclusion of the community is crucial. We need to show the whole world that as a community we are united behind this bid, and the community will be included with a strong role to play in the battle going forward. Chairman Frank Lowy announced yesterday that we want the community to play their role as thousands of individual ambassadors. Already, one Facebook site that is dedicated to supporting Australia’s bid to host the 2018-22 World Cup now has over 80,000 people registered as members. In fact, just prior to question time I received an email from the Subiaco Junior Soccer Club under-15s, who were offering to be—


Ms Julie Bishop —A wonderful team.


Ms KATE ELLIS —I am sure they are a wonderful team. In fact they are travelling overseas to compete in Sweden later this year. They have offered to act as ambassadors for Australia’s bid on the world stage. This is an offer that we will certainly take them up on. I would like to call on all Australians to get involved and log onto the newly launched website, www.australia2018-2022.com.au, to register their support for our bid and to get behind the campaign to show to the entire world that there is no better place on the planet to hold the World Cup than right here in Australia, because there is no doubt that there is a lot of hard work that lies before us from this point on.

We also know that there are significant benefits in terms of infrastructure and job creation and of course massive benefits in terms of tourism potential. So we as a government will continue to work very hard to support Frank Lowy, Ben Buckley and Football Federation Australia. We will work on a coordinated approach across government but we will also be working in very strong partnership with all of the states and territories, which have signed up to supporting the bid through COAG. Australia will be making its first presentation before FIFA later this year, in December, before submitting the formal bid in May of next year, with a decision being made in December next year.

We know that the competition is very tight but we also know that when it comes to hosting major sporting events there is nobody in the world that does it better than Australia. Together we will work on a united and inclusive bid to show to the whole world that Australia will put on the best World Cup the world has ever seen.


Mr Rudd —Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.