Peo­ple at top seem in­tent on spoil­ing Games party,

The Gold Coast’s win­ning bid promised a fun-filled, laid-back event, but al­low­ing PC po­lice to run ram­pant has seen en­thu­si­asm drain from lo­cals

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - JANN STUCKEY MP Mem­ber for Cur­rumbin

THE Gold Coast Bul­letin edi­to­rial on Satur­day Jan­u­ary 27 ‘We need to put fun back into Games’ summed up the feel­ings of many Gold Coast­ers who are of the view the PC po­lice are hi­jack­ing the Com­mon­wealth Games and sani­tis­ing them to the ex­tent that we lo­cals can­not be our­selves.

The Gold Coast won the bid to host the Games amidst prom­ises of a fun-filled, world class event boast­ing bright blue skies, golden beaches, sparkling wa­ters and a bunch of wel­com­ing, laid-back Aussies.

Ex­cite­ment for the GC2018 Games should be gush­ing from the ground up, but the peo­ple at the top seem in­tent on spoil­ing the party. These are the ‘Friendly Games’ and I, like so many other Gold Coast­ers, want them to be mag­nif­i­cent, to be fun, to be mem­o­rable and our ath­letes to be hugely suc­cess­ful. And we want to be able to de­liver our unique Gold Coast hos­pi­tal­ity to all of our Games vis­i­tors.

In­stead of lay­ing down the law about how we should act dur­ing the Games, of­fi­cials should be ramp­ing up the lo­cal flavour and em­brac­ing us, not crush­ing our iden­tity and en­thu­si­asm bit by bit.

As the long­est serv­ing 2018 Com­mon­wealth Games min­is­ter and hav­ing the once-in-a-life­time hon­our of go­ing to Glas­gow and de­liv­er­ing a speech at the 2014 Games cer­e­monies, I am gen­uinely con­cerned that ‘our’ Games have been sab­o­taged, and that our gre­gar­i­ous, friendly na­ture is be­ing sti­fled by this ever in­creas­ing scourge of po­lit­i­cal cor­rect­ness. And it is damp­en­ing ex­cite­ment and even turn­ing our very own lo­cals away.

Only a fool would un­der­es­ti­mate the pow­er­ful ef­fect vol­un­teers and lo­cals have in shap­ing vis­i­tors’ and com­peti­tors’ last­ing mem­o­ries of these Games. Apart from the thrill of see­ing elite ath­letes com­pete, the wel­com­ing na­ture of the Scots and English in Glas­gow was all-em­brac­ing and etched in my mind for­ever.

Their ‘Scot­tish­ness’ and ‘English­ness’ were piv­otal in pro­mot­ing Games cul­ture and fes­tiv­i­ties. They epit­o­mised their Games slo­gan – Peo­ple Make Glas­gow. Their weather may be mis­er­able and the land­scape not as spec­tac­u­lar as ours but they made up for it with in­cred­i­ble friend­li­ness and com­mon lo­cal lan­guage.

Ev­ery vol­un­teer we met was brim­ming with pride and couldn’t wait to tell us about their home­land, the Games, and how pleased they were to wel­come us. As vis­i­tors we wanted to im­merse our­selves in their cul­ture, not some strained po­lit­i­cally cor­rect be­hav­iours.

At the time of my trip to Glas­gow ‘Fa­mous for Fun’ was the mar­ket­ing cam­paign on the Gold Coast. We de­cided to pro­mote our fa­mous surf and beaches cul­ture by trans­form­ing a Glas­gow restau­rant into a Qld Surf Life­sav­ing Club. Af­ter all, this is who we are. Our SLSCs are iconic and we should have them front and cen­tre stage dur­ing the Games. Even the Me­ter Maids made the trip to Glas­gow in a card­board cutout form and cre­ated quite a fol­low­ing. But here we are

less than two months from the Games and vol­un­teers have been ad­vised not to say ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, or mother and fa­ther; tradies were told to hop on their bi­cy­cles to get to work; In­va­sion Day BBQs were planned by GOLDOC staff; chil­dren are en­cour­aged to de­sign a re­pub­lic; and some vol­un­teers were told they have to work on Good Fri­day.

Con­tracts are go­ing to in­ter­state and over­seas busi­nesses – even the bus con­tract went to Wan­garatta coach lines. Fur­ni­ture for the Games Vil­lage went to a com­pany based in Asia and our small busi­nesses are not get­ting the in­for­ma­tion they need.

The Open­ing Cer­e­mony con­tract went to an over­seas com­pany, spon­sor­ships are not filled, and last week there were more than 185,000 tick­ets still to be sold.

Through all this the Premier and the min­is­ter have re­mained al­most to­tally si­lent, ab­solv­ing them­selves of any re­spon­si­bil­ity, yet this is two bil­lion dol­lars of tax­pay­ers’ money be­ing spent.

Peter Beat­tie’s re­sponse is to tell us all to just “suck it up.” Well I think it’s time they sucked it up and showed some lead­er­ship and some un­der­stand­ing. There’s less than 60 days to go.

We are Queens­lan­ders! Please stop treat­ing us with con­tempt, lis­ten to us, trust us and let us show you just how amaz­ing we are!

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