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Thursday, 25 August 1994
Page: 440


Senator McKIERNAN (7.43 p.m.) —I will not delay the Senate for very long but, in picking up the tail end of the comments of the previous speakers, I want to put some remarks on the record about the Commonwealth Games. I have just heard that Qantas Airways has offered the parents of Cathy Freeman free travel to Victoria, Canada, to watch their daughter participate in other events at the Commonwealth Games. I commend Qantas for doing that.

  I hope that while her parents are in Victoria, they too will be able to witness Cathy doing a victory lap of the stadium carrying behind her not only the Australian flag but also the Aboriginal flag. One cannot say that without mentioning Arthur Tunstall, the Chef de Mission, the neanderthal who criticised her for carrying the Aboriginal flag following her magnificent victory yesterday. It is strange that someone who uses a foreign title should make a stand on what could be seen to be a nationalistic issue. I suggest that double standards are being applied there.

  Of course, those double standards came to the fore right at the start of those games when that individual disgraced himself and this nation in the eyes of the world. The biggest disgrace of all is that Tunstall was allowed to remain. It is an indictment of whoever is responsible for the Commonwealth Games organisation in this country that they did not immediately step in, sack him and return him to this country. He is way past his use-by date. He is out of touch with modern Australia. I suggest that the sooner he relinquishes the position, either voluntarily or by being forced out, the better it will be for the standing of this country and the athletes of this country who come from varied backgrounds. Again I commend Qantas for its initiative.

Senate adjourned at 7.47 p.m.