Monday, February 11, 2013

what are the odds?

What sadder thing could there possibly be
Than having the whole of our national identity
Defined by sport, or nearly all…
don’t forget gambling on two flies crawling up a wall
betting on which way two coins might fall
betting on which party might win an election
Or the chances of our footy team’s resurrection
Or which horse is faster over a short distance at our favourite track when the weather is dry but the turf is still soft and the horse is placed on an inside barrier and carrying top weight cos it’s normally faster than the other horses in similar races and the jockey is not an apprentice …

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority is a statutory body charged with keeping dope out of sport. Sometimes it seems to me that there are a lot of dopes in sport. I think ASADA has its work cut out for it.

Lance Armstrong might be in disgrace, but I bet our entire country’s sporting reputation is looking fairly tarnished in the face of the recent scandals at the Essendon Football club. Well, that’s what happens when we corporatise community organisations. This time I mean it: I am never going to admit again that I'm an Essendon supporter - well, at least not until we win another premiership.

I thought taking a dive or match rigging were only international cricket things. Much the same as insider trading and therefore quite common and therefore perfectly respectable.
But one of our football teams has been tanking? - deliberately losing matches to gain some advantage further down the track? Who’d have thought? Bring on relegation.

But wait, there’s more:

Footballers with substance abuse/ anger management problems or sexist, racist or homophobic attitudes are one set of things, but taking drugs to CHEAT?

No. A line must be drawn. Now.
The government – authors of ha ha ideas for reducing problem pokie-playing – is talking of an enquiry into all this cheating in sport BECAUSE IT IS MAKING GAMBLING A DIRTY BUSINESS.

I’m sure Australia is not the only country with a Sports Anti-Doping Authority. I’d put money on it.
Nonetheless, having a statutory, government funded authority just to deal with this issue says something about our priorities, or what we think is the role of government.

ASADA’s 2012 annual report says the federal government gave it an appropriation of about $13 million.
And a 2011 article in the Hun puts the cost to Victoria of the Grand Prix at $100 million and rising.

Further research… well, okay, a quick and grubby glance at Google… reveals that in 2010 in NSW it cost about $450,000 per year to keep one hospital bed open. Honestly, newspaper stories like that are just unAustralian.

the inimitable leunig


  1. You would think there would be better places to spend our money! If a team is cheating or doping...then they should just plain lose their support, end of story, end of team. I'm not a sports fan for the most part and as for Lance, karma will reign (or maybe it is already).

    1. MT, you lead a very rich and active life, so don't have time for sitting in front of the tele watching the footy [or Superbowl]. Me, I'm so lazy I can't even be bothered watching sport. The people in between deserve better, but without governments having to make people play nicely.

  2. The real shame is that we have to have an anti-doping agency at all....

    And the Grand prix...? Staggering that it's still in Australia to be honest.

    1. Staggering is one of many words we could use, Kath.

  3. The Sports Anti-Doping Authority seems to have been as effective as Victoria's Medical Practitioners Board.

    1. Topical reference to the Hep C disaster, but why stop there?

    2. I knew you would get it. I stop there because I am still in shock at the VMPB.

  4. Loving that leunig ... and setting up a new government agency has become tantamount to actually doing something. And the ~$160 mill from the mining super profits tax taken to date could pay for the ~$40 mill JG promised for a car park for the Adelaide oval redevelopment AND build another 3 elsewhere!!!

    1. Profits tax? GR is the world's richest woman because she and her daddy have dug bloody great holes in the ground. Yep, capitalism has always been a force for great good in the world. So why can't it help bring about a few more car parks?

    2. Personally, I'd rather have health care than a car park. Maybe we could 'shame' GR into becoming a philanthropist & funding a few of the things that the SPT was meant to pay for?? Like country hospitals, health care, that sort of thing ... and leave the car parks to those who need to buy a few votes!

    3. Shame? Good luck.
      Your comment has just given me a flashback to Downton Abbey where Maggie Smith [Dowager Countess] is listening to a dinner conversation and asks "Weekend? What's a weekend?"