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Transcript 16623

Speech at the launch of Australia's 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup Bid

Photo of Rudd, Kevin

Rudd, Kevin

Period of Service: 03/12/2007 to 24/06/2010

More information about Rudd, Kevin on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 14/06/2009

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 16623

Friends of football, one and all.

And I begin also by acknowledging the first Australians on whose land we meet and whose cultures we celebrate as the oldest continuing cultures in human history.

Well what a great day for Australian football.

That we as a people and as a nation could have the audacity, Frank, the sheer chutzpah, not to mention the organisational skills to launch a bid to host the greatest event on earth, the FIFA World Cup.

It is a stunning tribute to Frank's vision, his determination and his ability to get inside the head of any politician.

Frank, the smart bloke that he is, cornered me prior to the last election and said ‘how bout it Kevin?'

I'm sure he did the same thing to Mr Howard.

Well, whatever the outcome, Frank knew that he had the support of government and I appreciate the comments just now made by the Leader of the Opposition.

When I look by the way at this particular arrangement of the Great Hall in Parliament House here today, notwithstanding what the Leader of the Opposition just said, perhaps we could just leave it here.

Because we've got Question Time tomorrow, don the jerseys and off we go, be over in a shorter period of time. It could be more eventful. Perhaps this is one of the most creative and the public may think more useful purposes to which Parliament House has been dedicated in recent times.

I'm old enough to remember 1974. I remember watching it on black and white television in country Queensland as we made it for the first time. As a kid growing up I used to watch ‘Match of the Day' and it seemed to me unbelievable that a country such as Australia could've made it to the World Cup as we did in ‘74. And I remember that great game against West Germany.

And then beyond that the extraordinary achievements of 2006. Win against Japan, the great achievement against Croatia. And then of course going down to Italy and let none of us forget, Italy then went on to be the champions, something the Italian Ambassador reminded me of last night as we watched the rugby here in Canberra where Australia for the record won 31 to 8, but let's not dwell on that with any chutzpah.

And then, the extraordinary achievements in recent times on behalf of the Socceroos to secure for us our right to participate in 2010. Great result against Qatar, the great result against Bahrain and of we wish them all the best against Japan later this week.

2010, Australia in South Africa. I was just talking to Malcolm before. Frank said that I should go and help lobby for our rights to hold the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup. May need me around for that, so if Malcolm and I could agree on a truce, than we could both be there together. On the condition of course that we have an equal truce but I probably have more sway with that because there is (inaudible) election held at that time.

If you look at the sheer odds that we're up against for 2018, this is tough. Let's be frank about it. We're up against nine other competitors from around the world at least that I know about. We're up against the United States. We're up against England. We're up against a combination of Belgium and the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal. We're up against Indonesia and others within our own region.

This will be tough. But the reason why the Government has got behind it with a significant investment early on of some $45 million is to make sure we as a nation can rise to the occasion. And when the world looks at us in the time between now and when decisions are made at the end of next year, what we want the world to conclude is that we are as one behind this great bid. Not just in politics, but the entire community, business, unions, all of us in this together supporting this great national bid.

I'm confident that we can do that.

Some ask why? The great doubters, the great naysayers will say why? Even if you have no passion for this game or sport at all, look simply at the economics of it.

This is an extraordinary opportunity for Australia.

Last time I looked the numbers of the cumulative viewing audience for the 2006 World Cup was in the order of 26 billion, 26 billion. The Rugby World Cup we hosted here in 2003 had a combined viewing audience of some 3.2 billion. It's projected that in 2010 in South Africa this figure will rise to something like 40 billion.

The total revenues to be derived for a country like Australia where you take the visitations in Germany, I think last time some two million international visitors. Add to that all the other associated opportunities for business. The calculations are that we stand to earn as a nation some $5 billion from this single event being held in Australia. And for the econometricians among us, that's 0.5 per cent of GDP. It's not to be sneezed at.

But you know something, this is much bigger than economics, it's much bigger than the opportunities for business. It's about providing an extraordinary opportunity for Australia to showcase itself to the world, an extraordinary opportunity for our young people to see in themselves the opportunity to play for Australia and to bring the world game, the global game in all of its dimension and anchor it finally and formally and fundamentally into our national culture. This I think is a prize worth fighting for.

As you've just seen on the great display around us, we are good at hosting big events. We've done it with the Olympics in Melbourne. We did it again with the Olympics in Sydney. We've done it with three Commonwealth Games that I can remember. I can't really remember Perth in ‘62 but the ones since then anyway, in Brisbane and again in Melbourne.

We've done it with the Rugby World Cup. We are good doing these things and it's the combination of that expertise, that national expertise in partnership with our friends in the State and Territory Governments that will underpin our prospects in realising this bid.

Ladies and gentlemen, the challengers are great, but the prize is much greater. I salute those who've had the courage and the initiative and the creativity to bring forth this idea. And I congratulate each one of you, our friends in the media, our friends in business for getting behind this great Australian national initiative.

It is therefore with great pride as Prime Minister of Australia on behalf of the Australian Government and the Australian nation to officially launch Australia's bid to host the FIFA World Cup.

Transcript 16623