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Tuesday, 13 September 1983
Page: 652

Mr GRIFFITHS —Is the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism aware of a number of newspaper articles intimating that certain people are to be appointed to an Australian Sports Commission? Can the Minister inform the House of the stage reached in the development of the Sports Commission? When will the Minister announce the names of the members of the Commission? Will the Minister also inform the House of the proposed functions and objectives of the Australian Sports Commission?

Mr JOHN BROWN —Those of us who know of the high standards of the Australian Press will not be surprised to find that its predictions have been pretty accurate.

Mr Moore —Have you got Jones on the Commission?

Mr JOHN BROWN —No. We have an intelligent group of people up here who have been making predictions which have, in fact, been true. I am quite happy to tell the honourable member at this stage that the Government has decided to set up an interim committee of the Australian Sports Commission to advise the Government on the formation of the permanent committee. I am also delighted to tell the House of the members who will constitute that interim committee. The committee will be chaired in a part time capacity by Mr Ted Harris, the Managing Director- -

Mr Hawke —A good tennis player.

Mr JOHN BROWN —He is a good tennis player. He is also the Chief Executive Officer of Ampol, a former sports commentator and a man with a great and innate love of sport. The part time deputy chairman will be Mr Herb Elliot, former top Australian athlete, Olympic gold medallist and now the Managing Director of Puma Australia Pty Ltd. The other part time commissioner will be Mr Mike Fitzpatrick who, of course, is a household name in Victorian football circles. He is the captain of the Carlton Football Club and is a man with innate personal qualities . He is a Rhodes scholar, an economist with the Victorian Government and somebody who will make a real contribution to this Commission.

Mr Peacock —A failed captain last Saturday.

Mr JOHN BROWN —So he failed last Saturday, but nobody is perfect.

Mr Hawke —Last Saturday week.

Mr JOHN BROWN —It was last Saturday week. The honourable member for Kooyong made a mistake on Thursday too but none of us are perfect, are we? I hope it is a happy mistake for the honourable member. The full time people on this interim committee will be Mr Greg Hartung, former political correspondent with the Daily Telegraph, former sports columnist with the Australian, both in Brisbane and in London-a man who is very versed in the administration of sport and who I am sure will make a very strong contribution-and Miss Libby Darlison, who is a lecturer in sports science and sociology at the Cumberland College of Health Sciences in Sydney and who has a particular interest in the sociology of sport and leisure and women's involvement in both those activities.

I am sure that the setting up of this interim committee is a further example of this Government's commitment to sport and a further example of our implementation of election promises. The Sports Commission will replace the Sports Advisory Council, which is only a part time body. It will have a number of very important responsibilities. I think our commitment to sport was exemplified in financial terms in the Budget. We happen to believe that sport is the opiate of the masses in Australia and that we have developed to a stage where not enough of us participate--

Opposition members-Ah!

Mr JOHN BROWN —What is wrong with that? I read the back page of the paper first. Do not all honourable members? We happen to believe that we have a responsibility to the people of Australia to get them active in sport and get them healthy again. This is an example of how we are going to do it. The priorities of the Commission will include looking at additional sources of funds for sport besides government, liaising with private enterprise to see that funds can be made available to sport, ensuring that there is a more equitable distribution of the Government's contribution to sport and advising the Government on the allocation of awards and funds.

I am sure that the Australian Sports Commission, now that it has been set up, will put a very professional edge on the administration of sport in Australia. To this stage it has been rather inexpertly done by well-meaning amateurs. This body will liaise between government and sport in general to see that sport once again achieves the high levels in Australia that it has achieved in the past.