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The Olympics

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(Statement by the Acting Prime Minister, Rt Hon.. J.D. Anthony, M P )

It is a matter of concern, if it has been correctly

reported , that a representative of the Australian Olympic Federation,

Mr David McKenzie, should have said that "only total war should

prevent the Olympic Games from being held". Mr.McKenzie, a

delegate to a meeting of National Olympic Committees in Mexico

City, is reported to have said that although he did not favour a

boycott, his Government had instructed him to relay its opposition

to the meeting. ' - · . ·

The Australian Government's concern is not just for

sport, but for the future peace and security of this and other

nations. Our desire is to work to establish the conditions in

which that peace and security can be achieved. That wider

responsibility demands a wider view. -

We are not engaged in a philosophical debate about"sport

and politics. We are faced with the stark fact that the host

nation for the 1980 Olympics has recently invaded and is .

occupying - another country..

As the Russians have made clear, to them the Olympic

Games is a political event, and the holding of the Olympics in

Moscow is seen by it as an acceptance of its policies and a

vindication of its political system. By not participating in the

Olympic Games in Moscow, Australia - and Other like-minded countries

can make clear to the regime of the USSR, and its citizens, in a way

not otherwise possible, . the repugnance of the Soviet actions in

Afghanistan and the determination of free nations that there should

be no repetition. . ·

Australia, while one of the first nations t o ■indicate that

it would be opposed to participation in the Olympic Games in Moscow

if Soviet troops are not withdrawn from Afghanistan, is not alone --

f a r .from it. Already a significant number of countries have come .

. . / 2

out clearly and publicly in support of that stance. These include

influential countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, as well

as in Europe and North America. Against this, very few countries

-- apart from the East European Bloc -- have come out publicly in

support of continued attendance at Moscow. .

In the light of Mr McKenzie's reported comments, it

should be recalled that on 22 January the Prime Minister wrote

to Mr S. Grange, the President of the Australian Olympic Federation

asking that the Federation join with the United States Olympic

Committee and other National Olympic Committees in expressing to

the International Olympic Committee the strong views that if

Soviet troops did not withdraw from Afghanistan by 20 February,

Moscow will become unsuitable as a site and the Games should be

transferred to another site or sites or be cancelleu for this .

y e a r . ' · ’- ·

. 2.

. On 25 January the Australian Olympic Federation

issued a press release setting out its resolution that it: .

express to the International Olympic Committee the Australian

Government's view as set out in the Prime Minister '_s letter;

request the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee

to receive a delegation headed by the Vice President of the .

Australian Olympic Federation (Mr McKenzie) so that the views of

the Australian Government may be placed before its members; and,

make every effort to communicate the views of the Australian

Government to other National Olympic Committees. . .

Canberra 5 February 1980