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Thursday, 28 August 1980
Page: 872

Mr CHAPMAN (KINGSTON, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether the Australian Institute of Sport has the acceptance and support of Australian sportsmen and sportswomen. Does the Minister believe that the Institute will make a significant contribution to Australian sporting performance and does the establishment of the Institute confirm the preparedness of the Government to support Australian sport?

Mr ELLICOTT (WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Minister for Home Affairs) - I am very grateful to the honourable member for the answer to his question. The Australian Institute of Sport has been received with great enthusiasm around Australia. I am grateful to honourable members - I hope on both sides of the House - for sending out a pamphlet that I distributed during July. I asked them to send it to all the sporting bodies in their electorates. Up to this point, over 300 young Australians have applied for admission to the Institute.

Mr Cohen - It was Frank Stewart's idea, of course.

Mr ELLICOTT - I heard what the honourable member said. I have searched through his policy and there is not one word there about the Australian Institute of Sport. I should think it might be better for him not to say anything about it.

Mr Cohen - I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. If the Minister reads the speeches I have made over the last few years he will see that I have repeatedly stated support for the Institute of Sport.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! There is no point of order.

Mr Cohen - If he wants to find a dishonest statement he should look at the comment he made after we released our policy.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member for Robertson knows that that outburst was unparliamentary and disorderly. I warn him that if there is a repetition of it I will deal with him.

Mr ELLICOTT - If the honourable member for Robertson is able to show me a reference to the Institute in his policy document 1 will apologise, but I have not been able to find it there. I can only say that so far, as I was saying, over 300 young people have applied for admission to the Institute, including over a dozen of our Olympic athletes. I am very grateful that the honourable member for Robertson drew attention to the fact that two Olympians are present in the chamber this morning. I will be very glad if they follow up the letter that I have written to them and to all other Olympians, whether they went to Moscow or not. I will also be very happy to greet them in my office later and give them an opportunity to see the facilities that are being constructed in Canberra for the Australian Institute of Sport.

I hope honourable members noticed that the other day I announced the appointment of Mr Don Talbot as the Director of the Institute. I hope everybody is enthusiastic about the fact that this fine Australian has decided to come back and lead this major development in Australian sport. Already his involvement with the idea that he might become the swimming coach has had an effect in relation to swimming. At this moment the Amateur Swimming Union of Australia is deciding whether it will introduce the club system into swimming in Australia. If it so decides it will have a considerable effect on swimming in Australia. The establishment of the Australian Institute of Sport is a most significant development. It will not only affect athletes at the top level but also filter through to the grass roots. I do hope that the policy on this development will become a bipartisan policy and I do hope that the Opposition, as well as the Government, will support it in the coming months.

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