It’s an appealing ad, but will the rest of the world get it?
This week the cycling world again has been plunged into controversy after doping statements made by Floyd Landis. This is a further chapter in a saga that started with doping allegations in the Festina Tour of 1998. The allegations made by Floyd Landis this week raise issues that many people believe go to the heart of world cycling – its ability to deal with doping that appears to be embedded in the sport.
It is submitted that cycling can only come out of its crisis by dealing with the issues it faces in an open, transparent and impartial manner. Nothing less will work.
Landis’ allegations have yet to be fully investigated. However they are not the only such allegations of doping and abuse of power within the administration of the anti-doping system by the International Cycling Union (UCI). These allegations evidence a growing concern that the rules are not administered in a fair and transparent manner.
The Federal government’s response to the Independent Sport Panel (Crawford Report, 2009) was embedded in the budget papers contained in the Department of Health and Ageing portfolio. Australian Sport: The Pathway to Success detailed the Government’s policy response to the most contentious of the issues raised in the Crawford Report, namely, funding priorities in respect of elite sport and community participatory sport. The importance of funding for Olympic sports was effectively questioned by Crawford arguing the money might be better spent on health outcomes through increasing participation in sport and physical activity.
A serious dispute has broken out between Australian oil company Woodside and the East Timorese government over the processing of gas from the Greater Sunrise field in the Timor Sea. The dispute looks set to lock up one of the richest gas fields in the region and cost Woodside hundreds of millions of dollars already spent on research and development.
At the heart of the dispute is East Timor’s claim for natural gas taken from the joint Australian-East Timorese field to be processed into LNG in East Timor. Woodside has rejected that option, saying it wants to process the gas on a floating platform in the Timor Sea. The East Timorese government has said, however, that its position is not negotiable and that without an agreement on refining in East Timor there will be no agreement to proceed with drilling.
There is a perception that in past two years or so, there has been an increase in sales. Some media outlets are even suggesting that sales are the new norm.
Involvement in professional sport is seductive. Winning seduces, but winning premierships is the ultimate force of seduction. It has, over many years, driven a win-at-all costs culture in sport.
In an era of professional sport systems and governance how is it possible for the Melbourne Storm to blatantly rort the salary cap? Salary cap rorting in professional sport is similar to white collar trangressions, and could be deemed the Melbourne Storm’s global (local) financial crisis. The penalties imposed by the NRL are harsh but necessary. The decision to strip the Storm of the right to earn premiership points in 2010 will place the club on the brink of extinction.
With a volcano erupting and disrupting people’s plans to make a pilgrimage to Gallipoli, a virtual ANZAC Day commemoration is looking more likely. As couples decide to have an internet wedding due to travel plans being disrupted by the volcanic ash, why not remember ANZAC Day online through an internet site? Social networking has been used for love before. Lots of people have an emotional attachment to ANZAC Day. With real travel plans disrupted, virtual tours may become more popular.
National identity is a theme that is on the arts agenda again. It is a perrenial theme, that recurs from time to time, usually when an artist is accused of plagiarism, copying or deception. With the visual artist, Sam Leach winning both the Archibald portrait prize and the Wynne landscape prize put on by the Art Gallery of New South Wales, he is placed in the pantheon of one of only three Australian artists who have taken out both prizes. His art prize bed fellows are Russell Drysdale and Brett Whiteley, both of whom went on to gain wide acclaim and sometimes notoriety for their art. Some people said it was antics, not art. Is this what we are seeing here with the Sam Leach affair?
Imagine, if you can, that you have spent the last 30 or more years in an environment of war, where your security is at best not guaranteed and at worst you and your loved ones have been regularly exposed to physical attack. Some, or many, people you have known and loved have been killed and many more bear the physical scars of war. Everyone bears its psychological scars.
You are at best a political outcast and vulnerable to repression, physical abuse, or worse. You or your sons or daughters flee your once loved home, seeking respite, hoping you can find safety and acceptance elsewhere.
This is the situation facing Sri Lanka’s Tamils and many Afghanis, who in desperation seek refuge in one of the countries lucky enough to be able to offer it. What they find, however, is that they are treated as criminals.