Julia Gillard’s Olympic Games absence not unusual: Lundy
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s absence from the London Olympics is nothing unusual, Sports Minister Kate Lundy says.
PRIME MINISTER Julia Gillard’s absence from the London Olympics is nothing unusual, Sports Minister Kate Lundy says.
“She sends her warm wishes to the athletes,” Senator Lundy told reporters in London.
The minister will rub shoulders with world leaders in an exclusive seating area at the Olympic opening ceremony as Ms Gillard’s representative at the Games.
“It’s absolutely appropriate that the prime minister is (in Australia) managing the country, that’s the expectation on her,” she said during a press conference at Olympic Park.
“The only prime ministerial attendance in recent times was prime minister Rudd at Beijing, but prior to that I think it was a long time ago, maybe as far back as 1972 that a prime minister attended an Olympic Games, so it’s nothing unusual there.
“It is appropriate that I’m here as the minister for sport.”
A keen rower – the result, she says, of past Olympic inspiration – Senator Lundy is in the UK partly to promote Australia’s investment in sport and the Games’ positive effect on future generations.
Having been allocated an official Olympic vehicle by London Games organisers, she said she’ll travel to “as many events as possible” to cheer on the Aussies.
And the Senator has an added interest in the gold medal tally after entering a wager with British Sports Minister Hugh Robertson.
If the gold scales tip Australia’s way, Robertson must wear a Hockeyroos shirt, grab his hockey stick and dribble a ball around Australia’s High Commission in central London.
Lundy’s punishment, if it goes the other way, will be to wear a British flag t-shirt and row a length of the Eton Dorney Olympic course.
In the meantime, the Senator will fly the flag for Aussies and female athletes.
She has been quick to speak against criticism of Australian swimmer Leisel Jones’s fitness level, labelling it “wrong, unfair and downright rude”.
And as for the Australian team’s torch bearer, Senator Lundy is hoping a woman gets the call-up.
“I think as a general sentiment, it would be fantastic if it were a female,” she said. – AAP