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Tuesday, 31 May 1994
Page: 908

Senator WEST —My question is directed to the Minister for the Environment, Sport and Territories. Is the minister aware of a national advertising campaign for sports shoes which has recently been running on radio, which extols the virtue of `performance enhancing shoes'? Is the minister concerned about the nature of this advertising campaign and particularly its potential effect on young sports people?

Senator FAULKNER —I have had this particular advertisement—

Senator Panizza —Obviously you are not wearing them!

Senator FAULKNER —Indeed not. I have had this particular advertisement drawn to my attention. I am aware that considerable concern has been expressed, particularly in Western Australia, about this advertising campaign and its possible effect on young sportsmen and sportswomen. At this stage I have only been able to read a transcript of this television advertisement. But the campaign portrays a number of sports stars with considerable appeal to young sports people: Craig Johnston from soccer; David Campese from rugby union; Dean Lukin from weight-lifting; and Dean Capobianco from athletics. The sportsmen are asked a range of questions in the advertisement. For instance:

Q. Would you compete without them?

Dean Capobianco: No.

Q. Do you think it's fair?

Craig Johnston: In this day and age, to get ahead, yeah I think it's fair.

Q. What would you say about young people using them?

Dean Capobianco: I'd say go for it.

The advertisement finishes up with the words:

Nobody said you can't use performance enhancing shoes.

In my view there is an implication that these approving words could be understood to be referring to performance enhancing drugs. But in case anyone missed the point, there is an associated poster with the campaign depicting a sports shoe being injected in the heel by what looks like a syringe with the same slogan underneath.

  As the minister for sport, I am very concerned that the approving themes in this campaign alluding to performance enhancing drugs in sport could undermine the strong stance that has been taken by the federal government against the use of these drugs. The government, through the Australian Sports Drug Agency, has been working very hard with sporting bodies, the athletes themselves, Australian sportspeople, to promote a drug free sporting life.

  The Sports Drug Agency is widely recognised as having one of the most effective drugs in sport education programs in the world. As minister, I very strongly support the education and testing programs of the agency. I cannot condone the undermining of that very important work by the images in this particular advertisement.

  The chairman of the Sports Drug Agency, and a former member of the Senate, Professor Peter Baume, has described this advertisement as `sad' and `tacky' and has said:

It is unfortunate that a company like Adidas has resorted to this form of advertising.

ASDA has also described the advertisement as extremely damaging. I have spoken today with the General Manager of Adidas in Australia, Mr Robin Berry, and indicated my views to him on this particular issue. He informed me that the advertisement had been approved by the commercial acceptance division of the Federation of Australian Commercial Television Stations. I know that Adidas has been active in sponsoring junior sport, as I am sure many senators would be aware, and it has, over the years, upheld its responsibility to sport in general. I have asked that the company reconsider the thrust of this particular advertising campaign in the light of any possible effect on young Australian sports people.