House debates

Wednesday, 11 August 2021


Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, Brisbane Olympic and Paralympic Games

7:50 pm

Photo of Graham PerrettGraham Perrett (Moreton, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Education) Share this | | Hansard source

Tonight I join my co-chair of the parliamentary friends of the Olympics, the member for Forde, in saying a big thank you to the Olympians. I do so with my wonderful Olympic tie and also with the boxing kangaroo—like the member for Forde, as a way to say thank you.

We know that the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games was an Olympic Games like none before. Starting a year late is just the beginning. Every talented athlete who travelled to Tokyo had to endure preparations like no previous Olympic competitor. From the moment our flag bearers, Patty Mills and Cate Campbell, led our Olympic team out, history was being made. Patty Mills is the first Indigenous Australian to carry our flag at the opening ceremony, and Cate Campbell is, unbelievably, the first swimmer to do so.

What amazing moments we were privileged to witness—and there were so many—especially while we were in lockdown. These are some of my favourites. There was the Boomers securing the bronze medal, a historic first Olympic medal for our men's basketball team; Patty Mills, Joe Ingles and many others were incredible. There was Peter Bol being Australia's first athlete to reach an 800-metre final since 1968—what a wonderful story; he fled war-torn Sudan as a youngster, took up running in high school almost accidentally and finished one place away from the podium. I think he will do better in the future. I met Peter at Milpera State High School in my electorate back in 2013. He was an inspiration to young students then, and he has gone on to inspire a nation. There was Sam Kerr and the Matildas; they didn't get the medal, but their never-say-die attitude was worth gold—and beating the Poms was definitely a highlight for me! There was the swim team's incredible record-breaking medal haul in the pool—only surpassed by one of their own, with Emma McKeon's historic seven Olympic medals. No female Olympian has won more at a single Olympic Games.

Of course, I'm delighted to congratulate Moreton's own gold medallists, Ariarne Titmus and Zac Stubblety-Cook—well done!—and every single Olympian from Moreton who did us proud: Charlotte Caslick, in the Rugby Sevens; swimmers Isaac Cooper, Abbey Harkin and Elijah Winnington; Rhys Howden and Gabriella Palm, in water polo; Alice Ingley, in archery; and Felicity White, in rhythmic gymnastics. It's no surprise I love the Olympic Games. Most people know I love sport; a lawyer I used to work with, Duncan Murdoch, is always giving me a hard time about sport in Canberra! But I do find the spectacle of the Olympics all the more thrilling. The 2020 Olympic Games came just at the right time, when we were in the middle of a lockdown that, sadly, many people are still experiencing.

We've now got the Paralympic Games starting in a couple of weeks, and I will be cheering the athletes on just as enthusiastically. Then, if we look even further ahead, we will be in for a real treat when Brisbane gains Olympic city status in 2032. Having the Olympic Games in our own backyard will be nothing short of sensational. South-East Queensland is Australia's fastest-growing region. Those of us lucky enough to live in the region know what a friendly and culturally diverse community South-East Queensland is. It's a community passionate about sport. Sport is a great bonding experience in my community. We've got first-class sporting facilities and great transport. The Nissan Arena is the home of Netball Queensland; hopefully netball will be in the Olympics. It's also the home of the Queensland Firebirds and the Brisbane Bullets, for basketball, and it's right in the heart of Moreton. The QEII running tracks are right next door. The Queensland Tennis Centre, with the Pat Rafter Arena, in my electorate at Tennyson, will hopefully be used as well. These are world-class sporting facilities, and they are ready to host the 2032 Olympics. All our world-class sporting facilities in South-East Queensland will be ready to host the best of the world in 2032.

What I'm really excited about is the young kids now, who will have that goal in front of them, after these Olympics, to compete at the Olympics in their home city. What a great inspiration. Hosting the 2032 Olympics will be great for Australia, great for Brisbane and especially great for sport in Australia. Let's face it: anything that inspires Australians to get off the couch and get active, whether they end up competing at the Olympics or not, is good for our society.

To finish, I want to thank everyone who was involved in getting the 2020 Australian Olympic team to Tokyo to compete. I know it takes much more than athletes, although it definitely wouldn't be possible without their incredible commitment. I want to thank the Australian Olympic Committee and the Queensland government especially, particularly on their successful bid for the 2032 Olympic Games. The decision reflects the confidence of the International Olympic Committee that Australia can deliver the world's greatest sporting event for the third time—unbelievable for a country our size. Bring on 2032 to Brisbane. I can't wait, and I look forward to our athletes competing and inspiring us again.