In the name of the games. A right royal tiff has sprung up with three contenders to the thrown fighting it out in a public battle to see who will take the pride and honours of centre stage with her Majesty Queen Elizabeth at the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2006 Melbourne -Commonwealth Games
Link to original story Herald-Sun
On one hand you have Australia's Prime-Minister, John Howard, who wants the job. He is close to the Queen and believes that because the Australian Government is chipping in up to $500 Million Dollars and he is the head man of the Australian Government he should be the one. Most of the money he is contributing goes towards the cost of security primarily because his governments policy and support for the war in Iraq has made Australia and the 2006 Commonwealth Games a potential terrorist target. Someone forgot to tell the PM that it is the Melbourne Games and not the Australian Games.
Steve Bracks, Premier of the Victoria, inherited the games from his predecessor Jeff Kennett who was talked into holding the games by head honcho and former head of Crown Casino, Ron Walker. Steve Bracks and his government have contributed over $800 Million and rightly so thinks he should have the honours of officially welcoming guests to the games.
And on the outside lane is our Lord Mayor, John So, the man who seriously thought the Lord Mayor should be a member of the State Cabinet. The City of Melbourne has contributed over $30 Million and Clown Hall is of the view that John So is the one who should have the role and task of official welcomer. Yes the games are the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games and the City of Melbourne is one of the host organisations. HOWEVER the fact is it is the Greater Melbourne not the City of Melbourne who will host these games. Many of the games venues are not even in the City of Melbourne. The City of Melbourne were not even part of the initial organising committee and have only recently muscled in on the act.
Personally I think the games are a total waste of money and limited public resources have been re-allocated to put on this extravagant event (another one of Ron Waker's public events paid for by the public purse) and just like the Grand Prix will be a financial disaster for Melbourne but we shall not know the full cost until sometime next year well after the November State election when the glory of the event will have faded.
Right now I would be betting that Steve Bracks and his team wish the games were being held in September or October but that would conflict with the ALF and the lead up to the State Elections in November. I am sure the idea never crossed their minds.
In trying to help decide the issue as to who should be the one .... it is clear the honour and responsibility should stand with Steve Bracks representing Victoria and the Greater Melbourne Community. Both John So and John Howard will just have to contend with being in on the side lines sitting in the back row but never the less on the same stage as her Majesty.
As for me I hope to be overseas far-away from the event itself in some safer location. It is an event I have never supported and believe will prove to be both a financial and economic disaster - another one of Ron's flights of fancy. My money is on the Australian Open a truly International sporting event worthy of support. Full points for the Herald-Sun who constantly prove it is the leading newspaper in Melbourne when it comes to local issues.
Anthony van der Craats