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Sport and Politics do mix !

The Australian Prime Minister and Opposition Leader play on the same team when it comes to supporting the bid to host the 2022 World Cup. Prime Minister Julia GILLARD - Mr Speaker, on indulgence: I am sure you are wondering why everybody in the chamber is so resplendent in their 'Come Play' scarves. We are doing that because decision time in Zurich begins today. Today the process begins that will tell the nations of the world which nation has the privilege of hosting the Football World Cup in 2022 - the greatest sporting event on earth. The verdict in Zurich will mark the culmination of a decade of planning and preparation by the Football Federation of Australia, working in partnership with the Australian government and state and territory governments.

Our bid has been prepared and composed carefully and methodically. It is a compelling case based on the great strengths of our nation-the strengths that set Australia apart from its competitors: our love of sport, our excellence in delivering major sporting events and our welcoming multicultural society. I have been honoured to support that bid by hosting a dinner for the FIFA inspection team at Kirribilli House in July, and I acknowledge that the member for Moncrieff also attended that dinner in his capacity then as the shadow minister for sport, indicating very clearly the bipartisan commitment to the bid, and I thank him for that. I personally visited the President of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, in Zurich seven weeks ago to underline Australia's commitment. Today in Zurich our nation is privileged to be represented by our first citizen, Her Excellency the Governor-General, along with the Minister for Sport, Senator Arbib, and an impressive delegation led by the remarkable Australian Frank Lowy. Frank's passion has ensured a strong, compelling and unified bid. No nation could hope for a better case to be submitted on its behalf than that which Frank and his team have put for- ward. No-one could have prosecuted the case with more enthusiasm or zeal. It is a great bid and it de- serves a great result. Years of planning, years of striving all come down to the vote.

We hope that the name 'Australia' emerges just as the word 'Sydney' emerged in Monte Carlo 17 years ago. Like then, our nation is united in anticipation and bonded together by hope. I wish our bid team all the best, and I am confident every Australian does so.

Opposition Leader Tony ABBOTT (Leader of the Opposition) Mr Speaker, on indulgence: I support the sentiments of the Prime Minister and point out to the House that Australia is the undisputed champion of the world at running sporting events. We ran the world's best Olympics, we ran the world's best Commonwealth Games, we ran the world's best Rugby World Cup, and we will run the world's best soccer World Cup if we get the chance. Like the Prime Minister, I place on record my thanks to Frank Lowy, who has been the chairman of the bid, and I wish our delegation led by the Governor-General every success.

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