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Tuesday, 8 November 1983
Page: 2438


Mr JOHN BROWN (Minister for Sport, Recreation and Tourism and Minister for Administrative Services)(11.05) —Let us have a look at soccer which has 440,000 registered participants. Last year soccer got $52,000; this year it got $100,000. Let us look at squash which is a sport that appeals to everyone- mums, dads, kids, women, men; the whole lot. Last year this sport, which has 96, 000 registered participants, got $58,000. This year, under this Government, it got $120,000.

If the swimming people were honest in their criticism they would admit that the Amateur Swimming Union of Australia has fallen apart. Water polo and diving have hived off because they could not put up with the hierarchy that runs swimming in Australia. This year we have given water polo, which happens to be ranked fourth in the world, $73,000 which is a huge increase on the $30,000 it got last year. Diving, which is ranked fifth in the world, has $31,000. Swimming has $110,000. Add together the amounts for the three groups that constitute water sport in Australia and we find that water sports got $214,000. Add to that the increase from $600,000 to $800,000 that the Surf Life Saving Association got this year from this Government and honourable members will appreciate the way in which the Government feels about the capacity of Australian kids to swim.

Swimming has been extremely generously treated by this Government. If one bothers to go out to the Australian Institute of Sport one will find that this year I opened a new swimming pool. Admittedly it was started by the previous Government and I give Bob Ellicott full credit for that. However, this year we completed the pool. I opened that extremely expensive swimming facility which is just for the use of the elite swimmers who make up the group that the honourable member for Mallee (Mr Fisher) sought to defend. Our record in sport is incredibly good.


Mr Ruddock —Is it like the one you have at home?


Mr JOHN BROWN —It is not quite as good as the one I have at home. The Swimming Union of Australia needs to show its capacity to generate proper control of its sport and eliminate the sorts of dramas we have seen in swimming from Dawn Fraser on. When I remind honourable members of the drama of Michelle Ford who wanted to withdraw from the last Olympic Games team because of the way she was being stood over by the fogies who run swimming and of Neil Brooks, who has also withdrawn from Australian swimming, honourable members will realise that I have grave misgivings about the way the Swimming Union is organised. I have referred the administration of swimming in Australia to the new Sports Commission because I think it is a sport that it should look at. That it cannot hold itself together, that water polo and diving have sought to hive themselves off from the hierachy of swimming, says a lot about the way that swimming is administered.

Swimming has been treated extremely generously by this Government with $110,000 in view of the number of participants that that sport has. I will admit that the standard of swimming in Australia is improving very rapidly. The kids out at the AIS will perform extremely well in Los Angeles. They will perform extremely well basically because of the money we have made available. The $110,000 is made up in this way: There is $30,000--


Mr Groom —That is rubbish!


Mr JOHN BROWN —Oh, what would the honourable member know about rubbish? The honourable member has played too many games; he should have worn headgear. An amount of $30,000 has been allocated for a full time executive director; $10,000 for support staff; $20,000 to the appointment and ongoing costs of a full time coaching director; $10,000 for coaching projects; and $30,000 for international competition overseas between now and the Olympic Games. Add to that the fact that swimming is one sport that attracts very big sponsorship, particularly from Speedo--


Mr McGauran —And tobacco companies.


Mr JOHN BROWN —Yes, and tobacco companies; swimming attracts support from all of those. As I have said, swimming has been treated extremely generously by this Government. I in every way deny the criticism that has been put in the most sincere fashion by the honourable member for Mallee tonight. This Government's record in sport is unsurpassed in the history of Commonwealth governments in Australia and it will continue to be so because we happen to believe that if we can get more kids out swimming, diving, running, jumping, bush walking or whatever we will reduce bad health and make Australians healthy again.


Mr SPEAKER —Order! It being 11.10 p.m., the House stands adjourned until 10.30 a .m. tomorrow.

House adjourned at 11.10 p.m.