Today the Turnbull Government’s lack of respect for the Sport portfolio was sadly again on display.
Bridget McKenzie was apparently too busy this morning to attend the first Senate Estimates hearing since she became the fourth Minister for Sport in just over a year.
A benchwarmer, Senator Nigel Scullion was sent in to cover for the Minister with, in his own words, “about half an hour” of notice.
Perhaps the Minister was too busy trying to hang on to the portfolio as her National party colleagues clamour for cabinet positions in the wake of Barnaby Joyce’s resignation.
Whatever the reason, Senator McKenzie was too busy to explain how and when submissions will be turned into a National Sports Plan and too busy to explain whether the Government will pursue a lottery or an online gambling tax to boost sport funding.
Australian sport is eagerly awaiting details of the National Sports Plan, which was announced way back on May 22 of last year by former Minister Greg Hunt.
The Australian Sports Commission and others have been working hard to compile valuable insights and input from the sport sector – input the various Ministers could’ve been listening to since 2013.
Australian sport deserves a Minister that will prioritise its future, from the boys and girls enjoying a game at their local, grass roots club to the outstanding achievements of our elite athletes on the national and international stage.
Minister McKenzie has a huge task ahead to get this chaotic, dysfunctional, out-of-touch government’s plans for sport back on track.
Historically, some of Australian sports most iconic moments have been unlikely comebacks.
For the sake of Australia’s sporting future, let’s hope Minister McKenzie can do the same.