Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Disclaimer: The Parliamentary Library does not warrant or accept liability for the accuracy or usefulness of the transcripts. These are copied directly from the broadcaster's website.
Latest on the New Dehli Games preparation -

View in ParlViewView other Segments

We cross live to ABC Correspondent Paul Lockyer in New Delhi for the latest on the chaos in the
lead up to the Commonwealth Games.


KERRY O'BRIEN, PRESENTER: International pressure is building on the organisers of the Commonwealth
Games in New Delhi as preparation remain in chaos.

Today, Canada, New Zealand and Scotland announced they were delaying the departure of their
athletes for safety reasons, but the list of overtly dissatisfied countries has now grown to eight.

The Indian Government has reportedly taken the reins from the organising committee, and the Prime
Minister has convened an emergency meeting with his Sports and Development ministers.

Also, the Commonwealth Games Federation president Michael Fennell has flown to New Delhi to try to
head off a revolt.

I spoke just minutes ago with Paul Lockyer, who's in New Delhi, to cover the Games.

Paul Lockyer, the news has been somewhat disastrous out of New Delhi over the past several days and
even the clouds are looking ominous behind you. Is there any sense that this crisis is abating?

PAUL LOCKYER, REPORTER: Not at all, Kerry, in fact the latest report is that eight unnamed
countries have sent a letter to the organising committee of these Commonwealth Games and to the
Indian Government demanding a whole list of improvements on the hygiene and security front,
otherwise they say their athletes won't come. The village that is going to accommodate the athletes
is in a dreadful state of course and there are whole squads of cleaners and builders in there
trying to improve things. But really, time is running out fast for this Commonwealth Games.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Now when you say "eight unnamed countries" one assumes that's on top of Scotland,
Canada and New Zealand that we know have already delayed their arrival.

PAUL LOCKYER: I suspect it includes those three and more, and it probably would include England for
sure, I would think, Kerry, and that's why it is very, very important that the organisers here
finally act. I mean, they've been told for months to get this right and they've obviously refused
to do so. So the crunch time has really come now, and as we say, time is running out. I think by
Monday if things have not improved at the village, if one country goes and a major country goes, it
could be like dominos. I just don't think the event would go ahead if that occurred.

KERRY O'BRIEN: And yet it would seem that the Australian officials aren't all that unhappy?

PAUL LOCKYER: No, there a little bit more relaxed about it, and in fact if you look at what's
coming from the other countries, you'd think that Australia is more committed to these Commonwealth
Games than any one of the other 71 countries of the Commonwealth. But in terms of the village at
least, they are in better shape because - and at Olympic Games and at Commonwealth Games, Australia
makes a habit of getting there early and picking out the best accommodation and it did it this
time. And the best accommodation, which was finished first, was around the main dining hall. So
Australia, while they've got the cleaners in there and they're tidying up, are in better shape in
the village. So I think from that position, Australia is still saying the athletes will come. There
are still security warnings going out from the Australian Government. But at this stage, Australia
says all will come, and so far, only one athlete has pulled out.

KERRY O'BRIEN: So, is it your sense that it is much more about the conditions at the Games, and
presumably that was heightened by those two incidents, the bridge collapse and the partial roof
collapse, that probably heightened the situation. But it would seem that that is more the concern
than the security aspect of these Games?

PAUL LOCKYER: Well I think all it has done, Kerry, is shift the focus at this last moment onto the
lack of preparedness, but that lack of preparedness goes to the security as well. And if you talk
to the major - most of the countries, they will still say despite the problems with accommodation,
security is the big issue. After all, there have been, as the Prime Minister of Australia warned us
today, 14 major terrorist attacks in New Delhi - here in New Delhi the last 10 years and everybody
is still saying that there is a major risk of a security threat hanging over these Games. So that
is the big one. But with the lack of preparedness on top of that, the combination is just

And remember that 12 months ago, the head of the Commonwealth Games Federation Mike Fennell, who's
rushed here today to have emergency meetings, told the Indian officials that time was their biggest
enemy. Well many other factors have become their enemy since and the ferocious media of India in
this, the world's greatest - biggest democracy, really has gone on the attack today, describing
this as the, "Commonwealth Games of horror", "the house of horror" here in New Delhi. And they're
just not going to the village, they're going to allegations of corruption, they're going to
allegations of shoddy workmanship and cost blowouts.

However this Games runs and whoever comes, Kerry, when this ends, the repercussions in this country
are going to be extraordinary, because after all, this was supposed to be India's proud moment.
This was supposed to replicate what Beijing did with its Olympics for China. This hasn't happened.
Pride now has turned to a sense of betrayal in this country. And I see it in the eyes of the
younger generation, the volunteers who really, really supported these Commonwealth Games and now
feel that they've been let down by an organising committee and a government.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Just briefly, Paul, you've covered three Olympics and one previous Commonwealth
Games; have you seen anything that comes even close to this?

PAUL LOCKYER: The only thing that would come close would be the Athens Olympics, Kerry. We might
recall there were bomb explosions in Athens in the months leading up to that. Enormous security
problems with Athens, especially after 9/11, and the preparedness was a huge issue because there
were a lot of venues that weren't finished until just before the Games. In fact, they were sealing
the road to Marathon just a few days before the marathon ran. But, they got everything finished in
time to be able to have security checks on the venues. They got everything happening and it looked
OK on the small television screen. This one is probably the worst that has ever been attempted at
Commonwealth or Olympic Games level.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Paul Lockyer, thanks for talking with us.

PAUL LOCKYER: Thanks, Kerry.