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Thursday, 19 February 1987
Page: 334


Mr WHITE(12.18) —The purpose of the Olympic Insignia Protection Bill is to assist the Australian Olympic Federation in raising money to send our teams to the Olympic Games. The AOF undertakes a major marketing program before every Olympic Games in order to raise the funds to send our athletes and team officials overseas. This Bill seeks to give protection to the Olympic insignia and any other logos that the AOF may wish to register. By doing so, it gives that insignia and those logos some exclusivity so that the Federation can say to the sponsors: `Yes, you can use that logo or insignia and no one else is entitled to use it'. It is the same sort of principle that has been adopted with the Advance Australia logo and the bicentennial logo. It seems to us an eminently sensible move and the Opposition does not oppose the Bill. We are just a bit surprised that the Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism (Mr John Brown) has not set up yet another of his committees to supervise the implementation of these measures.

I am glad to see that the Minister is in the House, because I have some things to say about this Bill and other matters which will be of interest to him. The Minister is obviously planning to leave this Parliament. I ask the Minister whether it is true that he has leased his house in Parramatta-which he has done according to the local paper-and has now moved outside his electorate. This Bill will give the Olympic movement a chance to raise money and reduce its claim on the public purse. One of the biggest claims on the public purse has been this Minister. I take the case of his trip to the 1984 Olympic Games on which he spent $62,000--


Mr John Brown —Mr Deputy Speaker, I take a point of order. This honourable member is particularly prone to misquoting and misinterpreting absolutely whatever happened at the Olympic Games in 1984. This Bill is related to the Olympic Federation's desire to protect the Olympic insignia. What this has to do with my trip to the Olympic Games in 1984 is something I would like to know. I would have thought that this debate would have been above the personal innuendo at which this man is particularly adept.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Mildren) —Order! The honourable member for McPherson will address his remarks to the Bill.


Mr WHITE —Mr Deputy Speaker, I take the point about personal innuendo which the Minister specialises in, and in which he indulges in this House time after time. I refer to the activities in which he indulges in carrying out his portfolio responsibilities. I do not refer to him personally. He is the one who comes into this House and indulges in personal abuse. I will not accept his trying to shift the blame to someone else. I also put it to you, Mr Deputy Speaker, that when we are talking about the Olympic Games, and funds to be raised for the Olympic Games, the Minister's trip to the 1984 Olympic Games is pertinent to the debate-a trip on which he spent some $60,000-odd of taxpayers' money. We are talking about taxpayers' money. We are talking about the AOF's chance to reduce its claim on the public purse.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member has made his point. His remarks are of very doubtful relevance. Some matters may be canvassed in passing. I think the honourable member has done so. I ask him to get back to the Bill.


Mr WHITE —I will do as requested, Mr Deputy Speaker. Over a number of years the AOF has had the responsibility of increasing the size of our team and the amount of money raised. In 1948 some 88 team members and officials were sent to the Olympic Games. In 1984, when the last Olympic Games were held, 335 team members were sent to the Games and $5m was raised. It is anticipated that something like 400 athletes and officials will be sent to next year's Olympic Games in Korea. It is estimated that that will cost $10m. So the figure has risen from $5m in 1984 to $10m next year. The size of the team and number of officials will certainly be increased. The cost is a direct result of our devalued dollar. It is commendable that the AOF states that in due course it hopes to relinquish its claim on the public purse altogether-which has happened, for example, in the United States, where the United States Olympic Federation raises the money.

The AOF has been very successful in recent years in reducing its claim on the taxpayer. In 1984 it asked for and got some $1.4m, which was about 28 per cent of its total expenses. For next year it has already been agreed, as I understand it-the Minister can confirm this-that the AOF will be given some $2m out of the $10m total the Federation wants, some 20 per cent. So the AOF is reducing its claim on the public purse, which is to be commended.

The AOF is undertaking a most professional marketing program. Some 70 international and national companies have already agreed to participate in the national program. As a result of its activities, the AOF has already raised nearly $2m of the $8m share it is seeking to raise. I hope that, partly as a result of this Bill, the AOF will be able to pursue its marketing programs with more vigor because it will be able to say to its sponsors and those who are involved: `We can guarantee that this design and logo is for your exclusive use'.

Some safeguards are built into the Bill, such as the fair use of the insignia and logos by the media for the dissemination of information. Those who have used the logos and the insignia or some form of the logos and insignia for some time in their business activities, when they were not under any sort of protection, will be able to continue on a reasonable basis, which is fair enough. An appeal system is in place, which involves the Federal Court of Australia, for appeals against decisions relating to the registration of designs, which seems sensible. The 12-year period of registration by the AOF for the insignia and the logos is of interest to me and, I think, to others. Twelve years seems a long time. However, it will cover three Olympic Games. These logos will be in use for that amount of time. Many of the designs which are registered under the Patents, Trade Marks, Designs and Copyright Act get protection for 16 years. So, on balance, it would seem that 12-year protection is fair enough. The maximum number of designs which the AOF can register is limited to 10. It will probably not use anywhere near that number.

It is pertinent to this Bill to talk about our efforts in the recent Olympic Games. It is true that we have not done as well in recent years as perhaps we did when we were at our peak in 1956 when the Games were held in Melbourne. As the Minister pointed out during his second reading speech, it is pertinent to pay the compliments of the House to those who won: Glynis Nunn, Jon Sieben, Dean Lukin and our pursuit cyclist team-Michael Grenda, Kevin Nicholls, Michael Turtur and Dean Woods-great winners who did a great thing for Australia. One of the reasons that the Institute of Sport was set up some years ago was our declining relative performance in the Olympic Games. I hope that the Institute of Sport will play a very significant role in lifting our results in the 1988 Games and lifting the level of sport generally in this country.

I take this public opportunity to congratulate Ron Harvey, the new Director of the Institute, on his appointment. I am sure that he will bring to the Institute the cohesion and financial accountability which unfortunately it has lacked in the past. The problems of the Institute have affected the coaches and athletes, so the Institute's performance as a whole has been below the level one might have expected. I hope that all that has passed and that we can now look forward to the Institute playing the role which it should be playing-the role of the major sporting institute in this country.

I commend the decentralisation program which the Institute commenced and which has been going on for some years. I hope that the program will continue. Under the decentralisation program two sports are now going to Adelaide. The financial details surrounding these two sports still seem to be very vague. I have said before, and I will say it again, that the reasons for putting cycling in Adelaide seem to me to be very thin, especially when what is probably one of the best velodromes in the world is in Launceston. I have no argument with the cricket going to Adelaide-if it has to go anywhere, Adelaide is as good a place as any-but I have questioned before whether cricket, which is a wealthy sport with an enormous cash flow, should be taken under the wing of the Institute of Sport. If it is to come under the Institute of Sport, fair enough; but whether other sports are more deserving in terms of financial support is a matter for discussion. I realise as well as anyone else that an enormous number of Australians play cricket. It is part of our national heritage and prestige and it is a sport which generates an enormous cash flow. I question whether it should get assistance at this time. However, until I see the details of the assistance it will get and until the final financial package is worked out by putting the cricket academy in Adelaide, I will not make any further comment.

I take this opportunity to congratulate the present members of the Australian Olympic Federation and all those members who served on it over the 90 years of its existence. The Federation has raised money to send teams to every one of the 23 Olympiads, and that is an effort which deserves commendation. The Federation and this nation are facing a much tougher sporting environment because our athletes are competing against the athletes of countries that have elevated sport so that it is totally professional-particularly some of the communist countries where sportsmen are full time and fully paid. They are looked after by the state and this is reflected in their performances. I do not think we will ever be able to compete with them on that basis. I do not want to see Australian sport become so professional that it becomes a business. Nevertheless, it will be a challenge to compete with that approach of some of the communist bloc countries.

I also take this opportunity to congratulate the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Sallyanne Atkinson, and her team on their enormous and very nearly successful effort in trying to attract the 1992 Games to Australia. I do not think anybody could have worked harder or more successfully to attract those games. I think it was universally acclaimed throughout Australia as a most successful bid. The pity of it is that it was not successful.

The cost of this Bill will be minimal, certainly to the Department of Sport, Recreation and Tourism. It may have some slight effect on the Office of Patent, Trade Marks and Designs but it will be very small. I hope that the Minister takes note of the example of this Bill in terms of his own travel. We have been down that road before-Mr Deputy Speaker, I can see your beady eye upon me-so I do not propose to go down it again at this stage. On this occasion I am happy to join with the Minister and to support this Bill for the betterment of Australian sport. The Minister comes in here time and time again and makes pleas for us to take a bipartisan approach to sport and other matters. The trouble is that his personal conduct, behaviour and administration of his portfolio make it impossible to come to some bipartisan agreement on most of these matters. I talk about personal travel excesses, the proliferation of boards and committees and the growth in the administration expenses of his Department.

Nevertheless, this Bill is a progressive step. It will give the AOF greater access to the private sector in terms of raising money and we are glad to support it. I wish the AOF, our athletes and our officials all the best for the 1988 Olympics. We hope that the problems associated with the bid by North Korea to get extra games will be resolved satisfactorily, that the 1988 Games will proceed and that they will be a great success as games for Australian athletes.