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Launch of Australia's bid for the 2018-2022 FIFA World Cup.



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Sun, 14th June 2009

Launch of Australia's bid for the 2018-2022 FIFA World Cup

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP Leader of the Opposition

E&OE

Thank you. Frank Lowy, Chairman of the Football Federation of Australia, Mr Ben Buckley, the Chief Executive of the Football Federal of Australia, my many parliamentary colleagues - the Prime Minister, Kate Ellis, the Minister for Sport, Andrew Southcott, the Shadow Minister for Sport and many other distinguished guests.

Australia’s greatest strength is its diversity. Our nation is a home to people from all over the world. There is no country in the world that has a higher percentage of its population born outside its own borders. And yet, regardless of which country Australians have come from, regardless of which country their parents or grandparents have come from, in that country

football is played. Truly this is the world game. The most universal and the most accessible of all games.

It is uniting the world just as it unites Australians in our passion, in our commitment to bring the FIFA World Cup to Australia in 2018 or 2022.

Only this morning I was passing by Queens Park in Sydney, and there were lots of little boys there playing soccer, and I thought to myself you can walk past any field like this, seeing these kids playing soccer or football, and you know that each of them is dreaming to be one of you; to be you Mark or you Lucas or any of your other colleagues. All of them see themselves in your shoes. That is their dream. And we know that perhaps, even among the youngest of them, one of them may be playing for Australia in a World Cup in Australia in 2018 or 2022.

This bid is of vital of national importance. This is the biggest sporting event in the world. Based on the experience and the success of previous FIFA World Cups, Australia would play host to around two million overseas visitors, with over 700 million people from 214 countries tuning in to watch the final - one ninth of the world’s population. In a world where we are reminded so often of the differences between us, here is a game, a world game that unites us all.

We have had a remarkable track record here in Australia in hosting great supporting events: the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games - the best Olympic Games ever, widely reputed and acknowledged - the 2003 Rugby World Cup and the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne.

Those events showcased Australia to the world and they demonstrated our ability to deliver an outstanding first class global sporting event, with a professionalism and a flair that only Australia can bring to hand.

Now Australia’s World Cup bid is testament to the energy and the commitment and the passion of many people, thousands of Australians. But it is the commitment and the passion

of one person in particular - Mr Frank Lowy, the Chairman of Football Federation of Australia.

Frank’s contribution to Australian society could fill libraries. His contributions as a businessman, as a philanthropist, as a citizen are remarkable and now he is leading the charge, yet again, determined to win, yet again, as we know he will, to ensure that the FIFA

World Cup comes to Australia.

Now this effort has the total, the unequivocal support of both sides of politics. It’s not often that the Prime Minister and I agree on something as big as this. Indeed some people think we disagree all the time. But on this occasion Kevin Rudd and I, the Labor Party and the Coalition, Government and Opposition - and who is to know, we might be the government by 2018, you never know; well beforehand I hope, I might add - but together, regardless of our capacities, regardless of which side of the House of Representatives we’re sitting on, I give you this commitment that the Coalition will line up with the Labor Party, today’s Opposition will line up with today’s Government, side-by-side, joined at the hip, as dual strikers, to bring the world’s biggest game, the world’s game to the greatest place on earth,

our home - Australia.