Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard   

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Friday, 20 February 1987
Page: 340

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Resources and Energy)(9.05) —I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to incorporate the second reading speech in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows-

Mr President the purpose of this Bill is to protect the Olympic insignia, that is the five interlocking rings, and the other designs of the Australian Olympic Federation from use by persons not connected with the Olympic movement. The Bill also provides that these insignia shall not be registered under the Designs Act 1906. The Bill invests the Australian Olympic Federation with a monopoly in the insignia and provides that the insignia are not to be used in trade or commerce unless a licence for such use has been granted by the Federation.


The Australian Olympic Federation is established under the charter of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Australia. It is the responsibility of the Federation to promote the Olympic principles in Australia and to co-ordinate the massive effort required to ensure that Australia is effectively represented every 4 years at both the Summer and Winter Olympic Games by the best possible team of sportsmen and women in the country.

It is a task that the Australian Olympic Federation has undertaken for 90 years involving the attendance of Australian teams at every one of the 23 Olympiads. This great distinction is shared by only two other countries, Greece and Great Britain. I would like to point out that this has been achieved despite the horrendous pressure from the previous Government on the Federation and the athletes selected to represent Australia to boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games. Had the previous Government been successful in its endeavours this great distinction would have been lost. Who, in this place, now remembers the nations that did not attend the Moscow Games? Who remembers the nations that boycotted the Los Angeles Games in retaliation, 4 years later?

The Federation's responsibility has, of course, increased greatly over the period of the modern Olympiads. The size of teams that the Federation has had to prepare has increased greatly-for example in 1948 Australia was represented by 88 athletes and officials whereas in 1984 Australia was represented by 335 athletes and officials-a four fold increase. The performance of Australians at the Olympics has been quite outstanding given the country's size and resources-right from the first modern Olympiad in 1896 when Edwin Flack won two gold medals, through to the champions in 1984-Glynnis Nunn, Jon Seiben, Dean Lukin and the team pursuit cyclists-Michael Grenda, Kevin Nicholls, Michael Turtur and Dean Woods.

The environment within which the Australian Olympic Federation has to set about its responsibilities has also changed dramatically over the years. The world of sport has become tougher and more competitive. The margin between success and failure is constantly shrinking with the pressures to improve and to win being greater than ever. It is the Federation's task to respond to these pressures in a way which strikes and sustains a balance between the desire to succeed and the no less important values and principles for which sport is rightly renowned. Indeed, it might be said that this is the challenge to Australian sport in 1986 and the years beyond. The Federal Government has been playing its part. We have taken up the challenge to offer more effective support to the sports community as it strives to realise its own high ambitions. Government funding to sport over the past three years has increased substantially.

This Government recognises the important contribution that the Australian Olympic Federation makes to Australian sport. The Federation has on its Board leading persons from all walks of life who are deeply committed to the furthering of all sport in Australia as well as the Olympic sports. The president, Kevan Gosper, is the managing director of the Shell Group of Companies. Phil Coles a great Australian sportsman is the Secretary-General. Mr Gosper and Mr Coles are also the Australian representatives on the International Olympic Committee and Mr Gosper was recently elected to the IOC Executive. They have taken over from Syd Grange and Judy Patching who retired at the end of last year and both of whom, on behalf of the Australian Government and all sports lovers, I would like to thank for their tireless and total commitment over the years in promo-ting Australia and the Olympic movement. I'm sure that Kevan Gosper and Phil Coles will emulate their efforts and ensure the attainment of the Olympic ideals in Australia. Judy Patching is of course continuing his great effort as the Secretary-General of the Oceania Olympic Committee.

The Olympic movement is respected world wide and makes an important contribution to the spread of goodwill and better understanding amongst all nations. It thereby contributes greatly to world harmony and it is fitting that this contribution is recognised, especially in this Year of World Peace.

The Government supports the Federation's endeavours wholeheartedly. It makes a substantial financial contribution to the Federation and considers it to be a blue chip investment in Australia's sporting future. For the 1984 Games the Government provided $1.4 million towards the preparation of the Olympic team. This compares with $40,000 provided for the 1960 Rome Games. The total cost of preparing the Australian team for the 1984 Games was $5 million and the Australian Olympic Federation was responsible for raising the balance of these funds. It did so through a range of marketing programs which involved the use of its various insignia.

With the escalating cost of participating in Olympic Games, the Australian Olympic Federation must ensure a continuing flow of funds. To do this it has embarked on a major marketing program based on the licensing and franchising of the Olympic insignia. This campaign has proved very successful with exclusive rights being granted to some 66 products of major international and national companies. This campaign will provide an on-going and major source of funds and will help to ensure that Australia is represented in a fitting and proper way.

It may be seen as a measure of the success of the Australian Olympic Federation's marketing program that it has encountered problems with unscrupulous persons whose use of the Olympic insignia suggest, deceptively, to the public that they, or their products, are associated with, and help fund, the Olympic movement. Given the Government's support for the Australian Olympic Federation, and the Federation's responsible efforts to ensure its own financial independence, such unauthorised and deceptive use must be prevented. The Government has decided that, as with the Advance Australia Logo and the Bicentennial logo, legislation is necessary to aid in securing the rights of the Federation to its insignia and to prevent them from being used in a deceptive manner. It will also ensure that, if they are used deceptively the Federation has a speedy and simple mechanism available to curtail such conduct. This is the purpose of this Bill. The ability to ensure exclusivity of use is also a matter of critical importance for the Federation when negotiating the best terms for its licensing agreements.

I might add that this protection is not without precedent in Australia. Prior to the 1956 games held in Melbourne the Government of the day brought in legislation prescribing the Olympic rings, the Olympic motto and the words ``Olympic champion'' as prohibited trade marks, that is they could not be registered under the Trade Marks Act. That, however, does not prevent persons using them as unregistered marks and in these commercial times when sponsorship plays such an important role, greater protection is required.

This certainly would have been the case with Brisbane had its bid for the 1992 Olympic Games been successful. Regretably it wasn't. Nevertheless, the Brisbane City Council and in particular the Lord Mayor, Alderman Sallyanne Atkinson, together with the Olympic Project Office must be commended for their tremendous endeavours to win the Games for Australia. They showed real confidence in the ability of Brisbane and Australia to take on such a mammoth task. They were also well aware of the really significant benefits through tourism and increased employment which major sporting events, such as the Olympics, bring to both the national and local economics.

Major Features of the Bill

The Bill provides that the Australian Olympic Federation has a monopoly in design in Australia with respect to the Olympic rings thus ensuring its rights to use the rings in relation to any article. The Bill also provides that the Australian Olympic Federation has ownership of the copyright in the Olympic rings. These provisions will not, of course, impede the fair use of the rings for the purposes of disseminating information on the Olympic movement or its activities by the media.

The Bill makes provision for the Australian Olympic Federation to grant licences to use the insignia in return for a payment or other consideration. Mr President, the Australian Olympic Federation is a voluntarily organisation whose purpose is to promote Olympic sport in Australia. The Bill provides speedy and effective mechanisms to ensure the Australian Olympic Federation is not in a situation where it must devote scarce resources, through common law actions, to protect its rights. The Australian Olympic Federation, or the holder of a licence in relation to the insignia whose interests are affected, may bring action against an unauthorised user of the insignia. The remedies available to the Federation include injunctions, damages and accounts of profits.

It is recognised that some persons use the Olympic rings in conjunction with their goods and have done so for a considerable period. These persons have never held themselves out as being connected with the Olympic movement and do not increase their activity in Olympic years when the Australian Olympic Federation's fund raising campaign is at its peak. The rights of these persons to use the insignia are recognised and the Bill expressly preserves existing property rights in the insignia.

Mr President, the Australian Olympic Federation does not restrict its campaign only to the Olympic rings. The Federation has developed a range of logos for which it grants licences. Senators would be familiar with ``Willy the Koala''. I have it on good authority that `Willy'' unlike some of his cousins, is very well behaved in public! In addition to Willy, these logos include the Olympic rings and Boomerangs and the Olympic rings and kangaroo.

The Bill has provision for these logos to be registered as Olympic designs. Registration provides similar protection to that provided for the use of the Olympic rings. It also provides similar remedies for their unauthorised use. As these designs may change over time, registration for each logo will be for a period of 12 years, after which registration may be renewed. The maximum number of designs that may be registered at any one time will be restricted to 10. This will ensure that when the Australian Olympic Federation no longer has a use for a logo it will pass into the public domain. It also minimises the administrative costs associated with the process of registration.

Mr President, in terms of financial impact I would like to assure Senators that the on-going financial cost to the Government of administering this legislation will be minimal. The Department of Sport, Recreation and Tourism will have no on-going administrative costs. The office of Patents, Trade Marks and Designs will incur costs associated with the registration of Olympic designs. However, given that the Australian Olympic Federation is the only eligible applicant, and that a maximum of 10 designs only will be registered at any one time, the administrative costs will be minimal and, in any case, will be offset by the payment of an appropriate fee, for each registration. This fee is currently set at $65. This is the same as the amount charged for design registrations under the Designs Act (1906).

The Government firmly believes that the measures provided for in this Bill will greatly assist the Australian Olympic Federation in ensuring that it is able to field the best possible teams in Seoul and Calgary in 1988 and in subsequent Olympics. It is likely that the increased security of the Olympic designs will improve the Federation's capacity to raise funds from its marketing program and consequently reduce its call on Commonwealth financial assistance.

I commend this Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Senator Kilgariff) adjourned.