Paying for a selection mistake. Just as in sport, the selectors play an important role in government inquiries. Who gets given the job determines the outcome. So when a government asks a group largely representative of major team sports to determine where the emphasis of sporting policy should be put, that government should not be surprised that major team sports get the favoured nod. So it has come to pass with the so called Independent Sport Panel Report released by the Federal Sports Minister Kate Ellis yesterday.

Consider the independence of these panel members:

David Crawford: BHP Billiton director who was commissioned by the AFL to review the structure of the code which led to the creation of an independent commission to oversee its development before helping the government by chairing the Soccer Review Committee into the structure, governance and Management of Soccer in Australia.

Mark Bouris: The Wizard businessman whose company was a major sponsor of rugby league and who is himself ia Board member of Sydney Roosters Rugby League Club.

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Sam Mostyn (BA, LLB): Who in 2005 was appointed as the AFL’s first female Commissioner.

Pamela Tye: Who had a long association with the Australian Women’s Hockey Association before her appointment as the inaugural President of Hockey Australia.

Colin Carter: A senior adviser to the Boston Consulting Group who is chairman of the AFL Foundation.

The emphasis of the report by these five has earned the considerable ire of the Australian Olympic Committee for downplaying the importance of funding for minor sports that compete in the Olympic Games. The flavour is very much that there should be a non-elitist approach in sports funding that concentrates on expanding participation among the whole population.

Doctrinally that approach will have some appeal within the Labor Party but Kevin Rudd will be very foolhardy if he takes any notice of it. Sport in Australia is about far more than physical fitness for the masses. It is a source of national pride for the masses and the politician who forgets it will be sorry.

Quote of the day: You can say you want to cut down the influence of lobbyists, you can register them, you can require them to declare an interest, but nothing is better for their business than a successful decision to impose protection. – Peter Costello in his Sydney Morning Herald column on the parallel book import decision

Your taxes at work. Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts Peter Garrett, yesterday announced funding of $420,500 for arts and cultural activities at 27 community festivals around Australia. Some examples of where your money is going:

UMI Arts Limited, Queensland — For Small Sister Small Brother at Big Talk One Fire 2010 Cultural Summit (NORTH CAIRNS)

The project is designed as a way to allow young people 12-25yrs to play an active role in Big Talk One Fire, and to increase their interest and involvement in Indigenous arts and cultural practices. In the lead up to the festival students in regional and remote communities around Cairns will take part in workshops led by Indigenous artists and performers together with UMI development officers. Students will work with artists/young leaders to develop digital presentations involving elements of animation, photography and music that reflect their thoughts on questions of cultural maintenance, and what it means to young people. The students will travel to Cairns to present their works as part of the Big Talk One Fire 2010. Funding: $14,500

Port Lincoln Tunarama Incorporated, South Australia — For Cique du Cie at Port Lincoln Tunarama Festival

The project will host circus/acrobatic workshops to provide youth and adult members of the community the opportunity for performance skill development. The workshop program will culminate in a performance each evening at the festival portraying the life cycle of a tuna which is representative of the working lifestyle of the region due to its close harmony with the fisherman/farmer ethic, and portray the regions cultural lifestyle founded in the farming and fishing industry. Funding: $24,545

Glenorchy City Council, Tasmania — For Glenorchy Moves at The Works

The Glenorchy Moves project is the centrepiece of the final day of celebrations of the festival and is an original piece of physical theatre celebrating Glenorchy’s sporting community. Built around a small group of skilled aerial circus performers, the project will be led by a team of professional choreographers/physical theatre workers collaborating with a wide range of local sporting groups. From the frenetic pace of mass netball drills to the juggling skills of local afro Tasmanian soccer players, to the quiet elegance of eastern martial arts such as Tai Chi and Aikido, the project celebrates the diversity of the community sporting passion. The final show will include a live soundtrack featuring local funk rock group, a Latin American percussion ensemble, and a small brass section.
Funding: $25,225

Multicultural Arts Victoria — For Talanoa: Walk and Talk at Emerge Festival (COLLINGWOOD)

Multimedia and performance artist Shigeyuki Kihara will work in partnership with 4 cultural performance groups/communities to explore intercultural dialogue ‘Talanoa’ by staging live collaborative public performances in two CBD locations Melbourne (VCA) and Fitzroy (Fitzroy Town Hall ). Inspired by her Japanese/Samoan up bringing Multimedia and Performance Artist Shigeyuki Kihara will work in partnership with 4 distinct cultural performance groups including refugee and emerging communities with distinctive styles. The project will engage with four communities which include, Samoa, Kiribati, Sudan and Indigenous Australia. Funding: $28,000

Get ready for the citrus tang of Koshu. The Japanese wine industry is on the export trail. The Koshu grape has been grown in Japan for some 1200 years and wines made from it are beginning to be exported as the perfect accompaniment to sushi.

I’ve not tried the wine but I noted review in a recent Japan Times that out of 10 wines tried, only three were particularly well balanced. The other wines suffered from either a syrupy sweetness that masked defects in the wine or an ill-tempered acidity. But there were some more elegant renderings of the grape.

Homophobia or grave security breach? A fascinating trial is due to start tonight Australian time in Germany involving a homosexual spy from that country’s Federal Intelligence Service (BND) and his Kosovo interpreter turned lover accused of betraying state secrets amid counter claims that the two men are simply victims of official homophobia. Der Spiegel has a fascinating introduction to this real life spy thriller on its website which would Deighton and Le Carre proud.

Our contest winner. Rob Ciolli is our new champion Newspoll predictor. He got the two party preferred vote spot on and was much closer to predicting the fall in Kevin Rudd’s approval rating than most of our entrants. The tea towels will be his.

I subscribe to Crikey because I believe in a free, open and independent media where news and opinions can be published that I can both agree with and be challenged by.

As a Crikey subscriber I always feel more informed and able to think more critically about issues and current affairs – even when they don’t always reflect my own political viewpoint or lived experience.


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