December 9

Sports Commission’s folly – an international embarassment

Could anything be worse than the Tourist Commission’s appalling campaign,“Where the bloody hell are you?”  The Australian Sports Commission has now decided to do worse and trawl the depths in tasteless, internationally embarrassing taxpayer funded advertising.

The ASC says this is to attract  the 10% of Australians it believes have sporting talent – 280,000 people aged 12 to 29 and who may be contemplating role in the next Olympics.

Apparently the ASC has decided that surpassing the British Gold Medal tally at the London Olympics will be some sort of performance indicator. Of course this is not to be an indicator  for the athletes – it  will be to justify the taxpayer funded Commission.

As everyone knows most government advertising is usually a waste of the taxpayers’ hard earned money.

Just recall the awful “ unchain me” advertising for the GST. Nobody would spend their own money trying to sell the unsalable – a new tax. But this was the taxpayers’ money so it didn’t matter.


The ASC  advertisement involves an actor posing as a hooded British thug lurching around in front of a mantelpiece which holds a picture of the Queen, threatening the viewer in an accent so thick you have to listen to the advertisement more than once to understand what he  saying.

Apparently he is saying: 

“So you think you got talent, well let me tell you something. No chance, not over here in our fair green land… You won't win nothing Aussie, nothing, zilch.”

He wanders off and a message flashes across the screen: "Let's rip the Brits to bits in London 2012."

David Packwood from the ASC has vainly tried to explain the advertisement to an incredulous  London press. According to The Guardian ( 7/12), he said: "We're not having a pop at you Brits. This is our way of getting Australians off their backsides and thinking, jeez, I might be able to be in London 2012. 

"The hoodie was not chosen to represent the British in any way. He was chosen to try to bait the Aussies. The idea was to stir up the Australians to say, 'The British are serious. What are you going to do about it'?" 

Whatever the ASC  says, the advertisement is an international embarrassment and should be immediately withdrawn.


It is in the tradition of “ Brit bashing “ which requires for example that we create myths to the effect that we had to fight the British for self government , rather than this being given to us.

It was the same hatred that impelled Paul Keating to make his disgraceful and ill informed attack on Britain, one of our closest friends, in the national parliament in 1992, an attack which the British wisely ignored (see this column, 11/8/08).

(Just imagine what Dr Mahathir would have done had Malaysia been targeted. Subsequently Mr.Keating caused a diplomatic incident when he accused Dr Mahathir of being "recalcitrant" for not attending the APEC summit, when he probably meant "intransigent".)

The Chairman of the ASC, Greg Hartung and the acting CEO, Brent Espeland should kill this embarrassment before more damage is done.

The Minister for Sport,the  Hon. Kate Ellis,  [email protected]  should let them know that the sports budget is for athletes, not to be wasted on this sort of folly.



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