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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 11656

Address at Opening of Olympic Star Club, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney

Photo of Howard, John

Howard, John

Period of Service: 11/03/1996 to 03/12/2007

More information about Howard, John on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 16/09/2000

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 11656

Subjects: Olympic Games opening ceremony; Cathy Freeman; Ric Birch & David Atkins; Australian athletes; Olympic Star Club

E&OE................................

Can I say John that last night was magnificent, it really was. And we have a saying in Australia whether something is the right to do or whether you've made a go of it, you say "Does it pass the pub test?". Well, when I go for my morning walk I try and avoid the pub, but I can tell you that last night passed the early morning walker test. Because walking around the harbour this morning, which was a great experience, no fewer than 15 or 30 people spontaneously said "Wasn't last night terrific?" and it was for me a very eloquent statement on behalf of the Australian community. I think everything you decided to do about lighting the flame, the choice of Cathy Freeman, the dedication of that last segment to the women of Australian athletics. I think all of that was just so nice and I think it will have a very deep resonance in the Australian community.

It is great to be an Australian always, particularly at the present time, and it is wonderful to see Sydney, the city we all love so much at its sparkling best. Last night was a tremendous start and it's going to be a wonderful few weeks. We are going to have some wonderful experiences and it is a magnificent opportunity to look all of our guests from around the world in the eye and in a friendly way. and also with a steely reminder of course that there will be a lot of fierce Australian competition in the pool and in various playing fields and on the track.

I want to thank Carlton United, and for the concept of this club, which will provide a marvellous drop-in centre for so many of the people connected in different ways to this magnificent event. The athletes, the officials, the visiting media, the corporate visitors from around the world, corporate visitors coming from other parts of Australia and visit this wonderful drop-in centre. I think it adds another dimension to all of the supporting facilities that have been provided for this magnificent event. It is a joyous moment in our history, it is, of course it is a clich‚ to say that Australians love their sport. They love it in every dimension and last night that love was very much on display. There's something very important about it and that is a mature and deeply held pride in what this country can do. Not only in what it will do in sport but also can I say a word of special congratulations to Ric Birch and David Atkins.

When you decide to stage something like that and the people who are entrusted with the job of putting it on, they are the masters of the universe so far as the Opening Ceremony is concerned. And you've really got to trust their artistic judgement and the trust that was imposed on them was repayed a hundred-fold last night and it has showed the depth of artistic talent that this country has, the depth of imagination that those involved in artistic endeavour have and I think they are very much to be admired.

So that's enough of speeches, it's all about athletics. But to all of you I hope that this club provides a nice drop-in focal point for so many people in different ways who are being touched by the Olympics in Sydney in the Year 2000. It's going to be a great few weeks, a great time to be here in Sydney.

Transcript 11656