Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates was disappointed but philosophical when informed that PM Gillard will not be able to attend the Olympics or the Prime Minister’s Olympic Dinner, due to a clash with the G20 Summit and Rio+20 United nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
“Of course I’m disappointed, but it’s a matter of priorities. The Olympics are a big deal, yes, but not as big a deal as multilateral talks concerning our economic prosperity and sustainable development, nor are they really the business of government. You might say that it’s crucial that the Prime Minister make Australia’s voice heard at international meetings like G20 and Brazil.
“Snub”? No, that’s just silly. Of course she would have wanted to go, but again, isn’t sustainable economic development, rather than a sporting event, a more appropriate focus for the PM?
I think it’s vital that we show the world that we do understand these priorities and that we’re not simply sports-mad musclebound meatheads who only open the newspaper at the sports section and don’t give a toss about our participation on the international stage except where lycra, liniment and ligaments are involved.”