Thursday, 15 February 2018
Questions without Notice
Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games
Yes, I can. I thank Senator Brockman for his question. There are many great days to be the Minister for Sport for our great nation, but few are better than days like today, where I can update the Senate on the incredible achievements of our Aussie athletes on the international stage. Yesterday Australia won its second medal of the games when the team flag-bearer and snowboard superstar, Scotty James, took home a bronze medal in the men's snowboard half-pipe. Anyone who saw his exploits and the exhilarating final was left in no doubt about the talent this young man from Warrandyte in my home state of Victoria possesses. Before his third and final run in the final, Scotty dialled in ACDC's Back in Black on his headphones and adjusted his red boxing kangaroo gloves before dropping into the half-pipe. The only way it could have been more Australian is if he took a bite of some Vegemite toast on top of the run.
The Winter Olympics team kicked off their medal haul with Matt Graham taking home a silver in the men's moguls. A local boy from the New South Wales Central Coast, he has committed his life to the sport he loves and now proudly has a silver medal to show for his efforts. Matt's success is down to his commitment and passion for his sport, and has been assisted by the tremendous support he's received in Korea from his parents, grandparents, partner and three mates from school. For a country known more for its deserts and sweeping plains than for its snowfields, the achievements of our Aussie medallists have been outstanding. I must also mention the fantastic efforts of those athletes who may not have made the podium but are representing our country brilliantly on the international stage. Every single member of our 51-strong team in Pyeongchang that has competed to this point has continued to write another great chapter in Australia's long history of sporting achievements. I take this opportunity to recognise the support provided to athletes by their families, friends and coaches. Without these dedicated individuals, often going to great lengths to assist our athletes, the success they're now achieving would not be possible. All Australians continue their support. (Time expired)
I know everyone in this place is fascinated by this topic, because there has been so much discussion of Steven Bradbury. Can the minister advise the Senate about opportunities for sports diplomacy and advancing Australia's interests in the upcoming trip to Pyeongchang?
I'll be travelling to Pyeongchang to support all our Winter Olympians, including Lydia Lassila, Danielle Scott, Laura Peel and Samantha Wells as they fly the flag for Australia in the women's freestyle aerial skiing. This trip is a fantastic opportunity to further Australia's interests by connecting with representatives from the nations at the games and continuing to advance the objectives of Australia's sports diplomacy strategy. The strategy recognises that sports diplomacy is an increasingly important aspect of diplomatic practice and a growing part of the global sports industry. In conjunction with the Minister for Foreign Affairs, I've used my role as Minister for Sport to help build relationships and trust between countries. In addition, I'll be liaising with Australian sporting administrators to discuss the government's priorities for the future of Australian sport.
Thank you very much, Senator Brockman. We recognise the enormous benefits that sport and physical activity can deliver to the community. Sport makes a valuable contribution to our health and wellbeing and creates social capital in our communities, particularly for those of us in the regions. It builds national pride through our sporting achievements and obviously contributes to health benefits. In order to ensure that this valuable contribution continues, the government is developing a sports plan that includes all levels of sport, from community and grassroots clubs all the way through to supporting elite-level competition. The government is working towards ensuring that its investment in sport continues to deliver health, societal and economic benefits to all Australians. Through the support the government are providing to Australian sport, we're ensuring that every Australian will be able to thrive in their chosen sport or physical activity no matter what the level or where they live.