Commonwealth Games: friendly rivalry

6 November 2013

PDF version [2405KB]

Dr Rhonda Jolly
Social Policy Section


Executive summary

  • Elite athletes from the Commonwealth meet every four years to compete in the multi-sport event known as the Commonwealth Games.
  • While the Commonwealth Games boasts many similarities to the Olympics, it differs in the more relaxed and ‘friendly’ spirit of competition, which is a highlight of most events.
  • The spirit of friendship has not always prevailed, however, and there have been serious rifts between Commonwealth nations that have manifested themselves in boycotts of the Games. While these have threatened at times to dissolve, or seriously weaken the Commonwealth, solutions have always been found and the Commonwealth and its Games have endured.
  • Australia was one of a group of nations that first participated in competition between Britain and its colonies in 1911; it has participated in the Games in all its forms since that time. It is acknowledged as the most successful of the Commonwealth nations in this sporting competition—winning over 200 more medals than its nearest rival.
  • Australian cities have hosted the Games four times. While there have been some hiccoughs in the staging of each event—some social, and some economic—Sydney, Perth and Brisbane have all received accolades and Melbourne was praised as ‘the best’ following the 2006 Games.
  • In 2018 Australia will host another Commonwealth Games—on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
  • This paper looks back at how the Games came to be, Australia’s experience of staging the event and contemplates how the Gold Coast will deal with that legacy and surmount perceived and unexpected complications that will inevitably surface before the 2018 Games’ Opening Ceremony.


The Commonwealth
Games background

Box 1: some Games facts
Table 1: Results: British Empire and Commonwealth Games

Games crisis: racism and boycotts

Table 2: Commonwealth Games 1986: nations competing
Box 2: Bermuda reverses boycott

Awarding and staging the Commonwealth Games
Comparison: the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics

Table 3: Commonwealth Games and the Olympics
Figure 1: the Commonwealth Games ‘Bar’

Australian Commonwealth Games: early experiences


Figure 2: 1938 Commonwealth Games logo
Table 4: medal tally: 1938 British Empire Games
Table 5: Australia's medal tally: 1938 Empire Games
Box 3: from Sydney Games to public life


Figure 3: Perth Games logo
Box 4: Perth trivia
Table 6: Australia: Perth 1962: medals by sport


Box 5: Matilda
Protests and possible boycotts
Figure 4: Matilda
Figure 5: State of Emergency
Cost of the Games
Box 6: some Brisbane trivia
Economic benefits
Table 7: Brisbane Commonwealth Games capital expenditure
The final word
Table 8: Brisbane: Australian medals tally

Australian Commonwealth Games: Melbourne’s moment

Cost expectations
Games mascot

Figure 6: Karak and the PM

Festival 2006
The Games’ village controversy

Figure 7: Games mascot Karak assisting in pre Games clean-up tasks


Games security
Box 7: Melbourne trivia

Medal tally and sporting success

Table 9: medal tally: Melbourne Commonwealth Games

Government contributions to the Games

Victorian Government
Table 10: summary: Victorian Government budget and actual costs: Commonwealth Games
Federal Government
Box 8: Australian Government support: Melbourne Commonwealth Games

Economic and social success

KPMG report
Table 11: KPMG assessment: construction activity and expenditure associated with hosting the 2006 Games
Insight Economics report
The final word
Table 12: Insight Economics triple bottom line assessment of the Melbourne Games

Australian Commonwealth Games: Gold Coast expectations

The Bid

Table 13: proposed Commonwealth Games budget 2018

Logo and mascot

Figure 8: Gold Coast Games logo


Australian Government
State government
Table 14: expected funding for 2018 Games
Local government

Tales of failed Games bids
Recent Games’ experiences


Figure 9: Delhi athletes’ accommodation


Figure 10: impression: Glasgow athletes’ village

Concluding comments
Appendix A: Commonwealth states
Appendix B: Brisbane Commonwealth Games: economic impact tables
Appendix C: Australian performance facts
Appendix D: Australian medal tally: all Commonwealth Games

Acknowledgements: thanks to Kai Swoboda and Dr Matthew Thomas for their constructive criticism and comments on an earlier draft of this paper.


Elite athletes from the Commonwealth family of nations have met every four years since 1930, with the exception of 1942 and 1946, to compete in the multi-sport event first known as the Empire Games, now renamed the Commonwealth Games.[1] Commonwealth Games athletes come from Africa, the Americas, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and Oceania and represent nations which comprise a substantial percentage of the world’s population.[2] With the exception of two members, all these nations share ties to the former British Empire and an understanding that sport can contribute to important, wider policy objectives, such as development, democracy and diversity.[3] The Commonwealth Games represent a friendly rivalry between family members, and while rivalry sometimes overcomes friendship, for the most part the Games have reflected this different approach to the sporting contest; one not as often found in Olympic competition. This paper provides a brief background on the development of the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth Games, as well as information about how the Games are awarded and staged.

Primarily, however, the paper concentrates on discussion of the Australian experience of the Commonwealth Games. An Australian team was involved in the first competition held between athletes across the British Empire, and an Australia team participated in the first Empire Games in 1930. The Games have been held in Australia four times, and in 2018 they will return to Australian soil. Australia is arguably the most successful Commonwealth Games nation, having won 2080 medals, 244 more than its closest rival, England.[4] The paper discusses the successes and some of the downsides of each of Australia’s Games experiences, and speculates upon what may be some of the possible outcomes for the 2018 event.

The Commonwealth

The Commonwealth is a free association of countries which according to its Charter, are united through a commitment to the values of democracy, freedom, peace, the rule of law and opportunity for all.[5] Many members of the Commonwealth share history, language and institutions inherited from their association with the British Empire, but such an association is not a prerequisite for membership.[6]

Evolution of the Commonwealth began in 1867 when Canada became the first of Britain’s colonies to be recognised as a self-governing 'Dominion'. Other parts of the Empire, including Australia, gradually achieved the same status. These nations participated in World War I as separate entities and were recognised as members of the League of Nations following the War.

The Balfour Report, adopted by the Imperial Conference of 1926, further defined the Dominions as autonomous communities within the British Empire. The Balfour Report noted however, that the Dominions were united by their common allegiance to the British Crown, and that they chose to associate as equal nations within a British Commonwealth of Nations.

After the Second World War, when India gained independence from the British Empire and chose to become a republic, the requirement  that membership of the Commonwealth of Nations was tied to a country’s allegiance to the British Crown was questioned. In 1949 the London Declaration by Commonwealth Prime Ministers agreed that despite its new status India would remain a member of the Commonwealth. King George VI was to be recognised as the Head of the Commonwealth, but not the Indian head of state and the word British was removed from the title of the association to reflect this change.

Membership of the Commonwealth has continued to expand since the 1949 declaration. There are now 54 member nations. Two billion people populate the Commonwealth; more than 30 per cent of the world’s population. In 1995, Mozambique, a country with no historical or administrative association with Britain was admitted to the Commonwealth, and Rwanda, also a country with no ties to Britain, was admitted to the association in 2009.

Games background

The idea of a holding a sports festival which featured athletes from across the British Empire was first outlined in 1891 by Englishman J Astley Cooper. Cooper considered that athletic contests ‘would be very attractive to most Britishers, whether settled in the United Kingdom or resident beyond the seas’.[7] The first competition between athletes of the British Empire took place in 1911 in conjunction with the celebrations for the coronation of King George V. Australasia (Australia and New Zealand), Canada and South Africa competed with Britain in athletics, boxing, wrestling and swimming events for a silver trophy, which was won by Canada.[8]

No further competition took place until an inaugural British Empire Games were held in Hamilton, Canada in 1930. These Games were the result of an initiative of Canadian M M Robinson, who among others, was impressed by the friendliness shown between British Empire athletes at the 1928 Olympic Games held in Amsterdam.[9]

Athletes from 11 countries, including Australia, competed in six sports at the first Empire Games.[10] Australia sent a team of nine male athletes who won three gold medals, four silver medals and one bronze medal, to finish sixth on the Games’ medal table.

The City of Hamilton contributed $30000 to the travel expenses of some of the visiting teams, and provided free accommodation and meals for team members.

During the Hamilton Games it was decided that a gathering of the Empire’s athletes should take place every four years between the years the Olympic Games were staged and that a British Empire Games federation should be formed. Hence, the Empire Games were held again in 1934. These Games were at first scheduled to be held in Johannesburg, but concerns that non-white athletes may be subject to racially motivated poor treatment in South Africa led the Games Federation to move them to London. Games were also held in 1938 in Sydney before World War II intervened, and the Games were not staged again until 1950. The 1950 Empire Games were held in Auckland, New Zealand, and Australia topped the medal list winning 80 medals.

Box 1: some Games facts

  • While 54 states are members of the Commonwealth, 71 country entities or nations are currently able to participate in the Games as some states have more than one Commonwealth Games Association—Britain, for example, has seven.[11]
  • In 1958, the Games held in Cardiff, Wales were the first to feature the Queen’s Baton relay. Prior to the 1998 Games the relay took place only in England and host nations. This event has been a feature of every Games since 1958, with the exception of the 1962 Games in Perth. The Baton visited all 71 Commonwealth nations which participated in the Melbourne Games in 2006.[12]  It is expected to visit 70 nations and travel 190,000 kilometres in a 288 day journey before the opening of the Glasgow Games.[13]
  •  In 2002, for the first time the Queen’s Baton visited every Commonwealth nation.
  • In 1966, Jamaica was the smallest state to stage a Commonwealth Games.
  • The 1998 Games were held for the first time in Asia (Kuala Lumpur).
  • Team sports were introduced to the Games program in 1998.
  • The 2002 Games, held in Manchester, were only the second Games held in England. All 72 Commonwealth countries attended and 17 sports featured on the program.
  •  In 2002 and 2006, a limited number of full medal events for athletes with a disability were on the Games program.
  • In 2000, the Commonwealth Games Federation undertook to conduct Youth Games for athletes under 18 years of age. The first Youth Games were held in Edinburgh in that year.

From 1954 the Games became known as the British Empire and Commonwealth Games. In 1970 the word Empire was dropped from the title, and in 1978, the Games became known simply as the Commonwealth Games. Table 1, which shows the venues for all Commonwealth Games since 1930, also shows the various event name changes. 

Table 1: Results: British Empire and Commonwealth Games

Year Venue Medals Nations Sports
British Empire Games
1930 Hamilton, Canada  England Canada South Africa 61 54 17 (a)   11 6 (b)
1934 London, England England Canada Scotland 72 49 25 (c) 16 6
1938 Sydney, Australia  Australia Canada England 66 44 40 15 7
1950 Auckland, New Zealand Australia New Zealand England 80 54 48 12 9
British Empire and Commonwealth Games
1954 Vancouver, Canada England Australia Canada 67 48 43 24 9
1958 Cardiff, Wales  England Australia Canada 80 66 27 35 9
1962 Perth, Australia Australia England Canada New Zealand 105 77 31 31 35 9
1966 Kingston, Jamaica England Australia Canada 80 73 57 34 9 (d)
British Commonwealth Games
1970 Edinburgh, Scotland England Australia Canada 84 82 66 42 9
1974 Christchurch, New Zealand Australia England Canada 82 80 62 38 9
Commonwealth Games
1978 Edmonton, Canada Canada England Australia 109 87 84 46 10
1982 Brisbane, Australia England Australia Canada 108 107 82 46 10
1986 Edinburgh, Scotland England Australia Canada 144 121 116 27 (e) 10
1990 Auckland, New Zealand  Australia England Canada  162 128 113 55 10
1994 Victoria, Canada Australia Canada England  181 129 126 63 10
1998 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  Australia England Canada 197 135 99 70 15
2002 Manchester, England Australia England Canada 205 164 117 72 17
2006 Melbourne, Australia Australia England Canada 221 113 87 71 16
2010 Delhi, India Australia England India 178 142 101 69 17
2014 Glasgow, Scotland     71 17
2018 Gold Coast, Australia        
  1. Australia won eight medals and was sixth on the results table.
  2. These sports were: athletics, boxing, lawn bowls, rowing, swimming/diving and wrestling.
  3. Australia won 14 medals and was fifth on the results table.
  4. The only Games where lawn bowls was not a sport.
  5. Usually cited as 26 nations competing. 

Source: Commonwealth Games Federation[15]

Games crisis: racism and boycotts 

Despite their being known as the friendly Games, and publicity for the event which emphasises the Commonwealth as a family of nations, the Commonwealth Games have at times been politicised, particularly in relation to race issues. Indeed, the existence of the Games has at times been threatened by divisions over race.

As will be discussed in the section on the 1982 Games in Brisbane later in this paper, Indigenous Australians highlighted race issues in the lead up to, and during those Games. Similarly, the existence of a regime of institutionalised apartheid in South Africa affected the Brisbane Games when some nations threatened to withdraw from competition as the result of a tour of New Zealand in 1981 by the Springboks rugby team.

Disruption to the Brisbane Games as a result of the apartheid issue was averted, and in a move to avoid future threats, in October 1982, the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) voted overwhelmingly to adopt a code of conduct that amended its Constitution to empower it to exclude countries which breached the Gleneagles Agreement from the Games.[16] The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in June 1977 had been responsible for this Agreement which:

… reaffirmed the opposition of Commonwealth leaders to apartheid in sport. It further asserted that it was the duty of each government to take every practical step to discourage sporting competition with South Africa, where sport was organised on the basis of race, colour or ethnic origin. However, the agreement also accepted that each government should determine how best to discharge its Gleneagles obligations. Gleneagles was an important benchmark in the fight against apartheid, as South African whites were rather more affronted by their exclusion from Commonwealth-dominated sports, such as rugby and cricket, than their ejection from the Olympic Games.[17]

Following the Brisbane Games, the African nations were unimpressed when an English rugby tour of South Africa took place in 1984 and the English Commonwealth Games Council failed to condemn the tour. The African nations threatened to agitate for a ban to be imposed on England to prevent it from competing in Edinburgh, but they took no concrete action to this end. The matter was not settled, however, and apartheid not only threatened to disrupt the Games in Edinburgh in 1986, but also to endanger the existence of the Commonwealth.

The African nations and India withdrew their nominations to compete in Edinburgh citing two reasons. These were Great Britain’s Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s determination not to impose trade sanctions on South Africa and England’s inclusion of two South African-born athletes, runner Zola Budd, and swimmer Annette Cowley, in the England Games team.[18]

Nigeria, the country which began the Edinburgh exodus, had been consistent in its ardent opposition to apartheid by its actions. It had boycotted the 1978 Commonwealth Games and the 1976 Olympics because of links between participating nations and South Africa. As the boycott spread to other African nations, the Sydney Morning Herald rued the fact that athletes from the boycotting nations would suffer as a result, but noted that while boycotts in the past had not been effective, because the Edinburgh boycott was active rather than reactive, it was likely to achieve some success.[19]

One of the concerns of the African nations was addressed when Zola Budd and Annette Cowley were disqualified from the English team under a ‘technicality’ which required that Games competitors must have been born in a Commonwealth country. Budd and Cowley were born in South Africa after it had been expelled from the Commonwealth.[20] But despite the British Cabinet and rank and file members of Prime Minister Thatcher’s Conservative Party urging the Prime Minister to change her mind, she did not waver in her refusal to impose sanctions. Sanctions were ineffective in Thatcher’s view and more disadvantageous to black South Africans than white—and a Games boycott was never going to change her mind.[21]

Many suggested that the boycott would signal the demise of the Commonwealth and the mood leading up to the Edinburgh Opening Ceremony fluctuated between pessimism that the spectacle would be diminished and resoluteness that the competing nations would make the best of the situation. While the situation was seen as a tragedy for athletes, spectators and the Commonwealth as an entity, nations like Australia were committed to competing and were convinced that the Games was not the forum to resolve the apartheid issue.

In the end, 31 countries boycotted the Games; 27 attended. The nations attending the Games are shown in Table 2 below.

Table 2: Commonwealth Games 1986: nations competing

Edinburgh 1986: countries competing     
Australia Guernsey Northern Ireland
Bermuda Hong Kong Samoa
Botswana Isle of Man Scotland
Canada Jersey Singapore
Cayman Islands Lesotho Swaziland
Cook Islands Malawi Vanuatu
England Maldives Wales
Falkland Islands Malta  
Fiji New Zealand  
Gibraltar Norfolk Island  

Source: compiled by Parliamentary Library

The media reported at the Games’ conclusion that despite boycotts and predictions of failure the event had been a resounding success. The Sydney Morning Herald asked ‘what boycott’, and with reference also to the Olympics boycotts during the 1980s, proclaimed:

The 1980 and 1984 Olympics showed that even the withdrawal of countries like the United States, the Soviet Union and the East Europeans (the most formidable athletic nations in the world) will not necessarily ruin them. Edinburgh, with its withdrawal of 32 [sic] nations has reinforced this message.

The boycotts have failed.[22]

Box 2: Bermuda reverses boycott

The small Bermudan team was told after its arrival in Edinburgh that the Bermudan Government expected it to join the Games boycott. Team members were unhappy with the decision and seriously considered competing under protest.

This proved unnecessary as the team’s general manager was able to convince Bermuda’s Prime Minister to reverse the decision for the nation to withdraw from the Games. The decision occurred at the last minute, however, and it appeared the team would not make an appearance at the Opening Ceremony. Following a frantic last minute dash the team made it, marching into the Games stadium out of alphabetical order at the end of the athletes’ parade.

One commentator observed that no team received a greater cheer than Bermuda—its appearance seemed to lift the spirits of the crowd and provide the break the ‘tormented’ Games needed. [23]

Perhaps because the 1986 boycott achieved so little, African nations were determined not to let the apartheid issue rest. They moved to expel England from the 1990 Games in Auckland in protest against a tour of South Africa by a team of rebel cricketers. In its defence, England argued that it had complied with terms of the code imposed after the Brisbane Games, but added that its Games federation had no jurisdiction over cricket, and that even cricket’s governing body had no jurisdiction over the cricket tourists, because they were indeed rebels.[24] Five Australian rugby players added to the Auckland controversy by accepting an invitation to play in a tournament in South Africa, in spite of Prime Minister Bob Hawke’s pleas that they not attend.[25]

A boycott of the Auckland Games was avoided as the result of a resolution by the General Assembly of the CGF to condemn the rebel cricket tour of South Africa ‘unreservedly’ and to direct all Commonwealth nations to ensure they adhered to the code of conduct forbidding sporting links with South Africa.

Threats to boycott the Games on the grounds of apartheid became unnecessary after 1990 as South African President de Klerk began negotiations to end the regime in that year. These culminated in multi-racial democratic elections being held in 1994.[26]

Awarding and staging the Commonwealth Games

The Commonwealth Games are held every four years. Bids of cities which have applied to stage the Games are currently assessed by the Commonwealth Games Associations (CGAs) of all Commonwealth countries at a general assembly following the Games held eight years before each event. The right to host the Games is granted to the successful city and country through its CGA.[27]

An organising committee from the host city for each Games is responsible for the staging of individual Games. The Games are funded through the sale of international broadcasting rights, ticket sales, corporate sponsorships, licensing and merchandise sales and government funding.[28]

All competitors must be citizens or subjects of the Commonwealth country that enters them in the event. Competitors must not be subject to disqualification or suspension by the relevant federation of their sport or their CGA or as a result of violating the World Anti-Doping Code. Where a competitor was born in a Commonwealth country that has common citizenship/passport with other Commonwealth Countries, the competitor may initially represent either the competitor's Commonwealth Country of birth or the Commonwealth Country of birth of his or her father or mother (whoever shares the same citizenship/passport).[29]

The Commonwealth Games program currently consists of a minimum of ten, and a maximum of 17 sports, with no more than four of these to be team sports. Ten sports are obligatory—aquatics (that is, swimming), athletics, badminton, boxing (only for men—there is an option to include women’s boxing events), hockey (men’s and women’s events), lawn bowls, netball (women), rugby sevens (a men’s event with an option to add a women’s competition), squash and weightlifting. Each host city can include additional sports which must be chosen from a list of twenty. These are: archery, basketball (men’s and women’s), beach volleyball (men’s and women’s), canoeing, cycling (road and/or mountain bike and/or track), diving (as part of aquatics), gymnastics (artistic and/or rhythmic), judo, open water swimming (as part of aquatics), rowing, sailing, shooting (clay target and/or full bore and/or pistol and small bore), softball (men’s and women’s), synchronised swimming (as part of aquatics), table tennis, tennis, tenpin bowling, taekwondo, triathlon and wrestling.

Para sports were included on the Commonwealth Games program at the 2002 Games in Manchester. This was the first international multi-sport event to feature a fully inclusive sports program. Four Para sport events are now obligatory at each Games—swimming, athletics, lawn bowls and powerlifting and Games cities may choose from track cycling, table tennis and wheelchair basketball as additional events. There is a maximum of 20 Para events allowed.

The Commonwealth Games Sports Committee considers a range of factors and criteria in recommending sports for inclusion on the Games sports program. These criteria include: participation levels for the sports in question, the equity of participation in a sport, the level of excellence across Commonwealth nations, the marketability of a sport and the expense for nations in staging events in the sport.[30]

Comparison: the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics

There are many similarities between the Commonwealth Games and the world’s biggest multi-sport event, the Olympic Games. For example, in terms of ownership the International Olympic Committee (IOC) states:

The Olympic Games are the exclusive property of the IOC which owns all rights and data relating thereto, in particular, and without limitation, all rights relating to their organisation, exploitation, broadcasting, recording, representation, reproduction, access and dissemination in any form and by any means or mechanism whatsoever, whether now existing or developed in the future.[31]

In the sense that the CGF ‘is the supreme authority in all matters concerning the Commonwealth Games’, and responsibility is vested in it ‘for the direction, policy and control’ of the Games and associated events and activities, the Commonwealth Games, like the Olympics, is the ‘exclusive property’ of the CGF.

The following table provides more information on the similarities—and some of the differences—between the Commonwealth Games and the Olympics.

Table 3: Commonwealth Games and the Olympics

  Commonwealth Games Olympic Games
Countries eligible Commonwealth countries Countries (and some non-countries) with a recognised National Olympic Committee
Controlling body Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF)—representing the 71 members of the Commonwealth of Nations International Olympic Committee (IOC)—115 members representing countries, athletes, international sporting organisations and National Olympic Committees (NOCs)
Goals ‘To promote a unique, friendly, world class Commonwealth Games and to develop sport for the benefit of the people, the nations and the territories of the Commonwealth, and thereby strengthen the Commonwealth’ (Commonwealth Games Constitution) ‘… to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity’ (Olympic Charter)
Official language English French and English
Host cities Chosen at the General Assembly of CGF which follows the Commonwealth Games held eight years prior to a Games NOC of a country nominates, final candidates chosen by IOC Executive Board, decision by vote of IOC in session
Athlete numbers Approximately 4,500 athletes and 2,200 officials (a) Approximately 10,500 athletes and 8,500 officials (b)
Sports Team sports introduced in 1998 Minimum ten, maximum 17 (17 sports on the 2014 Glasgow program) Individual and team sports Core 25 sports, maximum 28 (26 sports on the 2012 London program)
‘Torch’ relay The Queen’s Baton relay began in 1958 (not held in Perth in 1962) Began in Berlin in 1936 and held in conjunction with every Olympics
Cultural program May be organised in conjunction Required
Associated Symbols Flag and ‘The Bar’(see figure 1) Flag with five rings symbol, Olympic anthem, Olympic flame
Doping policy In accordance with World Anti-Doping Code In accordance with World Anti-Doping Code
Duration of the Games 11 days (exclusive of the day of the Opening ceremony) 16 competition days
Youth games Yes (first held Edinburgh in 2000) Yes (second Games to be held in Nanjing 2014)

a. Approximate number at the Delhi Commonwealth Games
b. The cited number refers to the London Olympics where the number of officials was 5,770 and there were 2,961 technical officials.

Source: compiled by Parliamentary Library

Figure 1: the Commonwealth Games ‘Bar’

The following figure shows the incorporation of the Commonwealth Games bar by Glasgow (at the bottom of the figure) in its official bid documentation for the 2014 Commonwealth Games.[33]

Figure 1: the Commonwealth Games ‘Bar’

Source: Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland[34]

Australian Commonwealth Games: early experiences


The 1938 Empire Games held in Sydney were part of the 150th anniversary celebrations of the foundation of British settlement in Australia. The celebrations took place over a three-month period between Australia Day and Anzac Day, with the Games being held during the week of 5 to 12 February 1938.

The 1938 Games were organised by the Australian British Empire Games Association. The Association received support from the New South Wales Government. The federal government provided money for outfitting the Australian team.

A total of 466 competitors from 15 countries participated in the seven sports on the Sydney program.[35] Most of the venues used for the Games were existing sporting or entertainment facilities. The Sydney Cricket Ground was the main stadium and 40,000 spectators witnessed the Opening Ceremony at this venue. Other events were held at venues such as the Sydney Sports Ground, the North Sydney Pool, Rushcutters Bay Stadium and Centennial Park. The Games Village was situated within the grounds of the Sydney Show Ground.[36]

Figure 2: 1938 Commonwealth Games logo

Figure 2: 1938 Commonwealth Games logo

Source: Australian Commonwealth Games Federation[37]

The Sydney Games were marred by some racially motivated incidents. White South Africans made it clear they intended ‘to preserve an aloofness where coloured members of Empire Games teams [were] concerned’, but at times aloofness was dispensed with and physical clashes occurred.[38] One of these may have affected the result of the six mile race. Physical confrontation between the race leaders, Trinidad’s Noel Stanford and South Africa’s Johannes Coleman, resulted in Stanford falling on the running track and Coleman being disqualified.

Australia was the most successful nation at the 1938 Games (see tables 4 and 5). The most outstanding of the Australian athletes at the Games was sprinter Decima Norman, who won five gold medals. One commentator later remarked that the running of ‘Dashing Dess’ was ‘a thing of beauty, not to be easily forgotten by anyone who witnessed it’.[39] Her coach apparently disagreed, remarking that she ‘ran like a hen in flight, her head turned over her left shoulder and her arms flapped’.[40]

Table 4: medal tally: 1938 British Empire Games

Rank Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
1 Australia 24 19 22 65
2 England 15 14 10 39
3 Canada 13 16 15 44
4 South Africa 10 10 6 26
5 New Zealand 5 7 12 24

Source: Australian Commonwealth Games Association[41]

Table 5: Australia's medal tally: 1938 Empire Games

Sport Gold Silver Bronze Total
Athletics 6 11 12 29
Boxing 1 1 2 4
Cycling 2 2 0 4
Diving 3 1 1 5
Lawn Bowls 0 1 2 3
Rowing 2 1 0 3
Swimming 4 2 5 11
Wrestling 6 0 0 6
Total 24 19 22 65

Source: Australian Commonwealth Games Association[42]

Box 3: from Sydney Games to public life

Gordon Freeth who competed in rowing events at the 1938 Games later entered politics and was a Federal Cabinet minister between 1958 and 1969.[43]

Margaret Dovey, who competed in the breaststroke swimming event, became the wife of the future Prime Minister, Gough Whitlam.[44]

Athlete Edward (Ted) Best was Lord Mayor of Melbourne from 1969 to 1971.[45]


The official history of the Perth Games notes that keen rivalry had existed between Adelaide and the city to stage the 1962 Commonwealth Games. Perhaps surprisingly, given its lack of infrastructure, Perth won the competition to become Australia’s candidate for the Games and the votes of the British Empire and Commonwealth Games Association at its meeting during the Cardiff Games in 1958.[46] Four years of ‘from scratch’ building to deliver facilities to match world standards followed before the Games commenced on 22 November 1962.

The Opening Ceremony for the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games took place in scorching 40 degree Celsius heat on the hottest November day in Perth for over 20 years. More than three hundred people in the crowd of 53,000 who attended the ceremony at Perry Lakes Stadium, were treated for heart attacks and heat exhaustion.

In its formal application to hold the 1962 Games Perth committed to rectifying a situation where there were no sporting facilities of international standard in the city. In fulfilling this commitment, Perth City Council agreed to spend £1.2 million to deliver the Perry Lakes Stadium, a swimming pool and velodrome and to donate land worth £200,000 to build a Games village. The Western Australian Government agreed to build the village and provide a further £200,000 towards facilities. The Australian Government provided £100,000 for infrastructure and £60,000 to assist in financing the Australian team. It also loaned the state government the funds (£850,000 interest free) to build the Games village.[47]

The Games’ village was the first to be built purposely to house competitors. Seventy six acres of land were set aside in a residential area and competitions held for the design of the village, which consisted of a number of residences. These would later be sold for prices ranging from £4,900 to £6,785, depending on their size and location in the area. In addition to accommodation for the athletes, administrative offices, dining rooms and a recreation hall were erected for the Games. These were dismantled immediately after the Games and the area they stood on converted to a park.[48]

Australia finished at the top of the medal table in Perth. Swimmers Dawn Fraser and Murray Rose, amongst others, excelled in the pool; both Fraser and Rose won four gold medals. Australians won 12 gold medals in athletics and gold in all track cycling events. The only sport in which Australia failed to win a medal was lawn bowls (see Table 6).

Figure 3: Perth Games logo

Figure 3: Perth Games logo

Source: Commonwealth Games Federation[49]

The Perth Games were the first in which South Africa did not compete; it had left the Commonwealth in 1961 as a result of its policy of apartheid. Despite this, one South African had received accreditation to judge boxing events, and this situation provoked protests from the team from Ghana. As a result, the judge was not allowed to referee rounds in which African nations took part. India also did not compete in Perth. This was most likely because a conflict over the Himalayan border between it and China was developing and this led to a short war later in the year.[50]

Box 4: Perth trivia

The man who later played Darth Vader in the Star Wars series of films, Dave Prowse, competed for England at the 1962 Games in weightlifting. Although Prowse had been British champion four times he was unable to complete his lift after four tries and did not win a medal.

As Prowse did not voice the Darth Vader character in the films, and his was not the face used when Vader’s mask was removed, it was clear it was his physique which earned him the Star Wars role—he was two metres tall.

Commentators consistently proclaim that the Perth Games embodied the spirit of inter-Commonwealth friendliness. The closing ceremony in particular turned into a ‘moving farewell’ as ‘the athletes marched out, arm in arm’ and an unscheduled, but enthusiastic version of Waltzing Matilda was led by Welsh boxer, Rocky James.[51]

Table 6: Australia: Perth 1962: medals by sport

Sport Gold Silver Bronze Total
Athletics 12 12 13 37
Boxing 2 2 4
Cycling 4 2 1 7
Diving 2 1 2 5
Fencing 1 3 1 5
Rowing 1 1 3 5
Swimming 15 13 8 36
Weightlifting 1 1 2
Wrestling 3 1 4
38 36 31 105
Source: Athlete’s Edge[52]


The plan for Brisbane to host the Commonwealth Games began with Lord Mayor Clem Jones’ attendance at the 1970 Games in Edinburgh. Jones returned to Brisbane with instructions for his city council to prepare a submission for the 1978 Games, but this was not completed before nominations closed. With the support from the Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA) Jones formed a Games organising committee and after the City of Campbelltown in New South Wales withdrew from contention, Brisbane became the Australian nominee for the 1982 Games in March 1975. A similar situation occurred in Montreal, where the Games venue was chosen during the 1976 Olympics, when the other official nominee for the Games (Birmingham) withdrew and Brisbane was declared the host city for 1982.[53]

In anticipation, the Brisbane City Council began work in 1975 on facilities which could be used for the Games when it commenced construction of the QEII Jubilee Sports Centre. But work towards staging the Games began in earnest in early 1978. The Council’s contribution to the Games not only included construction of a grandstand at the QEII Jubilee Sports Centre, but also the building of a sports complex and aquatic centre. In addition, the Council undertook projects to provide new facilities in the city—these included the City Mall and Albert Park amphitheatre—and to revamp landmarks, such as the Brisbane Botanic Gardens.

Box 5: Matilda

The 1978 Games held in Edmonton was the first to feature a mascot—Keyano, a Swan Hills Grizzly Bear. [54]

Brisbane introduced Matilda the kangaroo as the 1982 Games mascot. While in Matilda’s introduction she was described as representing the friendliness and traditional of Australians, she received a less than warm reception from some quarters initially.[55] In addition, she provoked criticism when it was discovered that price considerations had meant that toy representations of the mascot were made in Korea and Hong Kong.[56]

In the end, however, Matilda managed to capture the hearts of Australians especially when she entered the Games stadium with a wink and a smile.

After the Games Matilda was ‘retired’ to the Wet'n'Wild theme park at Oxenford on Queensland’s Gold Coast before Matilda Fuel Supplies bought her in August 2009. She currently is on display at the company’s Kybong service centre on the Bruce Highway, south of Gympie.[57] See also Figure 4 below.

Protests and possible boycotts

From 1980 there were hints that the Brisbane Games would be affected by protests. First there were threats that some nations would boycott the Games if a proposed tour of New Zealand by the South African Rugby Union team went ahead in 1981. As demands that the Games were relocated, or that New Zealand was forced to withdraw from the competition surfaced, Queensland Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen called on the federal government to withdraw Australian foreign aid to countries which intended to boycott the 1982 Games—in the interests of protecting the investment already made in the event.[58]

A boycott was averted, however, when meetings of CGF representatives in late 1981 and May 1982 resolved that while no countries would boycott the Brisbane event, any country that continued sporting links with South Africa would face automatic expulsion from the Commonwealth.[59]

But the spectre of boycotts and protests still threatened as Aboriginal activists signalled their intention to stage protests during the Games as a means to promote their demands for land rights. An Indigenous campaign was developed which centred on gaining freehold title to Indigenous lands in Queensland and control over mining rights on those lands. The campaign sought to have control of Aboriginal affairs transferred from the Queensland Government to the federal Government under powers granted as a result of a federal referendum held in 1967.

Premier Bjelke-Petersen warned that police would act against activists who attempted to disrupt the Games, but it did not appear that Indigenous protests would be violent. This was despite suggestions that violence may have been considered by some protestors as the result of an incident at an athletics meet in Victoria, which resulted in injuries to two competitors.[60]

Figure 4: Matilda

Figure 4: Matilda

Source: Queensland State Archives[61]

The Queensland Government reacted to the Indigenous campaign by passing the Commonwealth Games Act. In the view of civil liberties groups this over-zealously declared a state of emergency (as the Moir cartoon below also implies). The Games’ Act banned protests, allowed for detainment in custody without charge for 48 hours and gave police the power to remove persons from Games’ sites without explanation and to enter and search the premises of political protesters.[62]

Despite Queensland’s resort to what some labeled as draconian laws, on 26 September 1982, the day the Games commenced, nearly 2,000 people held an illegal protest march and a further march took place on 29 September.[63] Demonstrations were also staged during the Games and police arrested over three hundred protesters, including 39 who were arrested as they tried to march into the QEII Stadium during the Games’ Opening Ceremony.[64] The number of protestors was less than had been predicted by Aboriginal activist Steve Mam, who had suggested 10,000 people were prepared to march.[65]

In support of the Indigenous protest, Labor Senator Susan Ryan introduced a private member’s Bill in the federal Parliament. The Bill sought to invoke the federal Government’s constitutional authority to provide for secure land tenure for Indigenous communities. The Fraser Government rejected the Bill arguing that it was a substantial error of judgment to attempt to link land tenure questions with the Commonwealth Games.[66]

Despite threats of boycotts and the protests of Indigenous Australians, the Games organisers were not daunted. With the venues completed and expectations that over 2,000 athletes and officials would attend the Games in June 1982 Decima Norman, who had won five gold medals at the 1938 Games in Sydney, flew to England to take possession of the Queens’ Baton. Norman handed over the baton in her hometown of Albany in Western Australia to the first of the runners who would convey it across the country to Brisbane.

Figure 5: State of Emergency

Figure 5: State of Emergency

Source: Alan Moir[67]

When the final runner, athlete Raelene Boyle, handed the baton to Prince Phillip on 30 September, Brisbane’s goal was realised—the twelfth Commonwealth Games had begun. The Opening Ceremony was replete with all things ‘dinky-di’—from the crowd providing a spontaneous version of Peter Allen’s song ‘I still call Australia Home’, to kookaburra calls and cries of cooee. The only factors which dampened the day were the unseasonably cold weather and complaints that the map of Australia formed by children carrying red, white and blue placards did not include an outline of Tasmania.[68]

Cost of the Games

The Brisbane Games were financed jointly by the Australian and Queensland Governments and by the Brisbane City Council. It could only be expected that the Games would be expensive as $34 million had been committed solely for the purpose of upgrading venues to stage the event.[69] A report in September 1981 which estimated that the total cost for the event would be $40 million, added however, that no expense would be spared to improve Australia’s sporting performances.[70] Indeed, there was little doubt that the Games would cost more than the $40 million estimate. One journalist cited a CGF appraisal that the cost may be considerably more—possibly $100 million. While this would be more than previous Games, this source rightly noted that the cost of Games in the past had not been properly accounted, and past Games may have cost more than reports indicated.[71]

The Official History of the Brisbane Games, published one year after the conclusion of the event does not provide definitive information to assist in calculating the final cost of the Games. Other reports were prepared to speculate, however. One report cited a figure of around $44 million.[72] Another account noted that running costs for the event were approximately $24 million.[73] Given that reports indicate that over $53 million was spent on Games infrastructure, and the financial statement of the organising committee lists expenditure of $23 million, an accurate assessment of the total real cost of the Games is likely to be between $75 and $80 million.[74]

While some, like Brisbane City Councillor Bryan Walsh, who had been involved in the city’s submission to hold the Games, considered the cost excessive, others were convinced that despite their cost, the Games had managed to post a profit—albeit a marginal one of $1.6 million.[75]

Credit for any profit resulting from the Games must go to the Brisbane Commonwealth Games Foundation, which raised more than $22 million, including over $8 million from donations and marketing arrangements.[76] This was despite concerns that donations from the public were negligible because they did not have individual tax donation status, and complaints that ticket prices were too high.[77]

It was clear that without support from government at all levels, the Games would simply not have happened. The federal Government contribution alone involved providing an additional $15 million to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (then known as the Australian Broadcasting Commission) (ABC) to broadcast the Games.[78] The federal Government also gave $1.5 million to the Games’ organisers from the proceeds of the minting of a commemorative coin and made the armed forces and facilities available at a minimal cost.

Funds from the federal and state governments were allocated for the Games’ village at the site of the Griffith University campus. The Queensland Government donated proceeds from its Gold Lotto lottery and provided road, rail and, at times, controversial police services.

Funding of approximately $4 million for Festival ’82, the cultural activities held in conjunction with the Games, was provided by the Brisbane City Council, the Queensland Government and corporate sponsors. The festival included Shakespearean and Australian plays, operas, ballet and other dance offerings and jazz brass bands.

Box 6: some Brisbane trivia

-       England won one more medal than Australia at the Brisbane Games, but Australia won more gold medals (Australia 39 gold and England 38).

-       One calculation was that Australia’s medals were gained at the ‘bargain cost’ of 21 cents per head of population.[79]

-       The marathon, won by Robert de Castella, commenced much earlier than usual and did not finish in the Games’ stadium. This was to accommodate Brisbane weather conditions. The race winner was initially crowned with a laurel wreath at the finish and medals were presented later in the stadium.

-       The Scottish team threatened to withdraw from the Games as they claimed they had been allocated sub-standard accommodation at Griffith University.[80] The Australian swimming team also complained about their pre Games accommodation in Sydney.[81]

-       There were claims that the Games were ‘a junket’ for officials. The proportion of officials to athletes had increased dramatically over time—64 per cent of the Canadian team, for example, consisted of officials, and every two Welsh and Indian athletes were accompanied by one official. The number of officials added to the cost of the Games for the organising committee as regulations required that the host city paid up to 15 per cent of the air fares for competing teams, including officials, as well as accommodation and other transport costs.[82]

-       There was intense Games rivalry between the Australian and Canadian teams, particularly the swimming teams. Following a number of disqualifications during the swimming events, provocative chanting and disruptions to formal medal presentations, tensions erupted after the Canadian 4x100 metres men’s relay team was disqualified from the event and the Australian team awarded the gold medal.[83]

-        The CGF officially rebuked Brisbane Games officials after gold medal winner Raelene Boyle was invited into the royal box by Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.[84]

Economic benefits

There is very little official information available which discusses what economic benefits were gained for Brisbane from staging the Commonwealth Games and this appears to be in keeping with the focus of reports from previous Games. While there is mention of the benefits that cities may gain from staging the Games in these reports, they are primarily couched in terms of sporting achievements, the high standard of competition and the legacies of world class facilities gained by host cities. Assessing whether there were concrete financial benefits to be gained from the Games before Brisbane does not seem to have been a priority and the financial sections of reports are vague and brief. Brisbane presented a similar type of analysis, its report concentrated on sporting results and details of how committees associated with the Games reached their objectives.

As early as October 1982, however, the Sydney Morning Herald labelled the Games ‘a financial winner’ even though it only predicted profits of around $200,000 and earlier Games organisers had predicted that the Games would break even or suffer a small loss.[85]

Various newspapers articles from the time Brisbane was announced as the 1982 host city emphasised infrastructure benefits to be gained from the event—better sporting facilities and improved roads, an influx of tourists from Australia and overseas-boosted retail profits. In addition, the city received a substantial facelift for the Games—a new mall, the Victoria Bridge over the Brisbane River freshly-painted, historic sandstone buildings steam cleaned and a new outdoor theatre. The state government contribution included building twin expressways from the city to Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stadium.[86]

What appears to be the most comprehensive published assessment of the economic impact of the Brisbane Commonwealth Games labels the Games ‘an outstanding cultural and sporting success’.[87] The assessment considers the economic stimulus from the Games in terms of capital expenditure, visitor expenditure and event expenditure, but it does not attempt to provide a social benefit/ cost analysis. The study concludes that the major impact of the Games was derived from the capital expenditure undertaken to provide Games facilities and that the benefit for Brisbane meant that funding was diverted from other regions. The study concludes further that estimates of the impact of visitor expenditure on the region were overestimated. Table 7 below provides more detail as do the tables in Appendix B.

Table 7: Brisbane Commonwealth Games capital expenditure

Table 7: Brisbane Commonwealth Games capital expenditure

Source: Lynch and Jensen[88]

The final word

In assessing the Brisbane Games in 1982 sports academic Brian Stoddart concluded that Australians needed to be careful about making too much of the success of their athletes in Brisbane:

In 1956 Australia gained an inflated view of its international prowess by way of unique home-town Olympic performance. The inevitable let down was subsequently relentless and unpalatable.

It would be bad for Australian sport if the Brisbane euphoria was allowed to repeat the cycle. Robert de Castella and a few others apart, performances were generally below world standard.

Australian athletes have been presented unfairly to the public as world-beaters, just because they got a bagfull of medals. When tougher competition prevails, those athletes will be branded as gutless losers because they do not perform to uninformed public expectations.

Simply, Australia has not lifted itself  out of the sporting ruck nearly so much as some would have us believe … the medal mania … may obscure the large amount of work and investment yet required if Australia is to be competitive internationally.[89]

It appeared that few people were listening to Stoddart, however, or if they were, they were not interested in his negative assessment of the successes of Australian athletes.

As for Brisbane, regardless of the success of athletes and the possibility that any profits from the Games may have been minimal, the city had developed a taste for hosting major sporting events announcing ambitious plans to bid for the 1992 Olympic Games.

Table 8: Brisbane: Australian medals tally

Sport Gold Silver Bronze
Archery     1
Athletics 9 9 4
Badminton     1
Boxing   1 4
Cycling 4 3 1
Diving 2 2 1
Lawn Bowls 1 1 1
Shooting 7 3 4
Swimming 13 13 8
Weightlifting 3 4 2
Wrestling   3 2
Total 39 39 29

Source: compiled by Parliamentary Library

Australian Commonwealth Games: Melbourne’s moment


In early 1996 the ACGA conducted a national competition among Australian state and territory governments to determine which Australian city should be put forward as the Australian candidate to host the 2006 Commonwealth Games. Cities were evaluated on their capacity to host the Games and their demonstrated ability to host international multi-sports events. In October 1996, the ACGA awarded bidding rights to Melbourne.

Melbourne prepared an application—the ‘Bid Book’—which was presented to the CGF in March 1999 by the Kennett Liberal Government. Bid Books for the Commonwealth Games are now detailed and complex documents which contain information about the host city, its size, population, climate and transport and telecommunication and broadcasting infrastructure. Bid books also contain details about the level of government and popular support for staging the Games as well as the experience of the organisers and the city in staging similar events. Specific information is included on sports proposed for the Games program, new facilities to be built and upgrades to existing facilities planned, the location and type of the athletes’ village and details of the Games’ proposed budget.[90]

The CGF awarded the right to host the 2006 Games to Melbourne during the caretaker period for the 1999 Victorian election which brought the Bracks’ Labor Government to power. The change of government was of little consequence for Games organisers, however, as both the outgoing and incoming governments had enthusiastically supported Melbourne’s bid.

Cost expectations

The Bid book indicated that the Games may cost approximately $195 million, but that they would deliver around $200 million in revenue to the Victorian economy—figures which sounded like expectations that the Games would ‘break even’. By the end of 2001, however, the cost of delivering the Games had risen. It was expected that they would cost between $400 million and $500 million, and some suggested that if all public outlays were added, the total figure could be closer to $620 million.[91]

Following a ‘significant review’ undertaken in 2003 by the Melbourne 2006 organising committee, the total cost of the Games was estimated at $1.1 billion. One report compared this favourably with the Sydney Olympics ($6.5 billion) and the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games ($1.2 billion).[92] The Victorian Minister for the Commonwealth Games, Justin Madden, noted that ‘the perceived blowout has occurred because the original bid budget was prepared before the Sydney Olympics which “set new benchmarks for the transparency and the costing of these types of events”’.[93] Minister Madden added that previous spending had not included the full cost of transport or a realistic security budget, and did not factor in inflation or $51 million in licence fees payable to the CGF and the ACGA. He confirmed that the bulk of funding would come from the state government, which announced a capped contribution to the Games operating budget of $447 million. The report concluded that the City of Melbourne had committed only $23 million and the Howard Government had ‘not yet finalised its contribution’.[94]

The eventual cost of the Games, which took place between 15 and 26 March 2006, was estimated at $1.22 billion (see detail later in this section).

Games mascot

The official mascot of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games was the representation of the South-eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo, known as Karak. Publicity for the mascot explained that the South-eastern Red-tailed Black Cockatoo was threatened with extinction. It was hoped that exposure to the plight of the species during the Games would help raise awareness and encourage people to work to save the parrot from extinction. The Victorian Government and private industries responded with funds and resources to create breeding and tree planting programs to save the cockatoo.[95] The mascot is pictured with Prime Minister John Howard in Figure 6 below.

Figure 6: Karak and the PM

Figure 6: Karak and the PM


Festival 2006

Festival Melbourne 2006 which took place before and after the Games involved 12 days of music, dance, circus, street theatre and visual arts offerings by over 2,500 performers from many parts of the Commonwealth. The Festival, reputed to have cost $12 million, was funded by the state and federal governments and all Festival performances were free.[97]


Three key environment strategies were adopted for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. These are shown below:

  • Waterwise, which involved using water-efficient appliances, collecting stormwater and recycling wastewater at major Games venues
  • Carbon neutral, which was concerned with reducing energy consumption, increasing public transport use and planting trees to act as carbon sponges and
  • Low waste, which discouraged littering and aimed to reduce waste sent to landfill by increasing recycling.

The Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability’s environment report card on the Games listed a number of the successes of these strategies including that an average of 75 per cent of people travelled to the Games by public transport, a six star energy rating was given to the athletes’ village and Games venues achieved a 57 per cent recycling rate. In addition, the environment program initiated 81 pre-Games clean-up projects for 4,300 volunteers in 49 local government areas (see the figure below) and the Yarra River became a focus for community replanting and rejuvenation activities.[98]

The Games mascot was also employed to promote environmental activities as Figure 7 below illustrates.

The Games’ village controversy

Despite achieving a six star energy rating on completion, construction of the Games’ village proved to be controversial. While the Chair of the Melbourne 2006 Games Corporation, Ron Walker, remarked in 2002 that there had been no opposition when the site for the 2006 Games’ village was first proposed by the Kennett Government, six years later the site, the former Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital at Parkville, was the subject of contention.[99]

The Bracks’ Government had been asked to consider alternative plans for the Games’ village after its election—a site at Docklands and an ambitious plan to build the village over the Jolimont rail yards—but these had been rejected. It appears this was because of considerations which echoed back to the unsuccessful siting of the 1956 Olympic Games village at Heidelberg. This exercise had been considered a failure and government intended not to make a similar error by producing ‘a depressed suburb’ after competitors had departed. The Government argued that the village needed ‘to be located somewhere with a strong housing market—where the private market will help develop the infrastructure a future community will need’.[100]

Figure 7: Games mascot Karak assisting in pre Games clean-up tasks

Figure 7: Games mascot Karak assisting in pre Games clean-up tasks

Source: Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, environmental report card.[101]

Many disagreed with the Government decision to construct Parkville. It was seen as too small and too isolated, with poor access to public transport. Former Labor Deputy Prime Minister Brian Howe was among those who criticised plans. Howe argued the village would deliver big profits to developers but little benefit to Victorians and that it failed to meet requirements for 20 per cent low cost social housing.[102] Residents in Parkville and surrounding suburbs also opposed the destruction of parkland for urban development, which they considered would place major strains on local infrastructure.

There were questions too about the accuracy of the original plans for the Parkville site. One report claimed that when the development was announced the Government implied that 1,000 housing units (including 100 social units and a 100-bed aged-care centre) would be built in time for the Games. But in 2003 it was revealed that only 212 units would be built for the Games and that an average of 25 people would be ‘crammed’ into each unit. Those that could not be accommodated in units would be housed in demountable buildings leased for the Games period.[103] One journalist commented:

Surely, if the real concern of the Melbourne Games organisers was the amenity of the competitors, rather than an excuse for a real estate development, the organisers would have followed the example of the Manchester and Brisbane Games organisers and used student accommodation to house athletes…But the four-bedroom houses that will be built in the Games village will be worth upwards of a million dollars each after the Games, and it's hard to beat that– particularly in Melbourne.[104]

The Games’ village caused sufficient outrage for it to surface as an election issue in 2002, and the cramped conditions of the permanent units and the poor quality of temporary housing was criticised by CGF officials in 2004.[105] Following a re-evaluation of the village plan, the Bracks’ Government revealed that the village would be redesigned.[106] Eventual changes to the village plan involved reduction in open spaces on the site, but Minister Madden argued the final plan would retain heritage buildings and include social housing, more open space and wetlands. It would be ‘the world’s best’ athletes’ accommodation.[107]

The redesign was acceptable to the delegates from the 71 Commonwealth nations who toured the Parkville site in 2005; they declared they were happy with the improvements.[108] Just weeks before the Games commenced reporter Kate Gibbs was equally impressed. In Gibbs’ words, at an estimated cost of $89 million the village would house 5,800 athletes and officials in 155 detached houses, 32 studios, 25 townhouses, 103 apartments and 115 demountable houses and accommodations would have ‘a greenish tinge’.[109]

The Victorian Auditor General estimated the final cost of the village to be higher than Gibbs had calculated ($160.5 million). At the same time, the Auditor General cited an estimate that the Government would most likely recoup around $83 million of its costs.[110] It would be difficult to calculate if this prediction was accurate. As the Victorian Auditor General noted in its report on the financial state of Victoria for 2005–06:

Operating revenues generated by the games from actual and planned asset sales are expected to be $53 million above the original target of $400 million. However, much of this extra revenue relates to expected proceeds from the sale of Commonwealth Games Athletes’ Village housing and apartments. As such, the final revenue achieved will depend on the timing and amount of actual sales.[111]


Sport has never been drugs free and there is no suggestion that all Commonwealth Games have been drug free, but prior to 1960, when an athlete died of drug-related complications during the Olympic Games, the effect of drugs on performances and results was not rigorously policed in international sporting competitions, including the Commonwealth Games. After the 1960 Olympics incident, however, the IOC began to take action to deal with drugs in sport. It developed a definition of doping, introduced a schedule of banned substances and commenced official drug testing.

Most sports also introduced some form of drug testing during the 1970s, but it was not until 1999 that the IOC convened a world conference on sports doping. As a result of this conference the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) was established and the World Anti-Doping Code (WADC) developed. All National Olympic Committees and International Sports Federations are required to sign the WADC and since 2005, governments have signed the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s International Convention against Doping in Sport. WADC applies to anyone who participates in sport at international, national or lower levels of competition, as well as to athlete support persons, including coaches, agents, managers and medical personnel.

In 1990, the Australian Government was pro-active in the fight against drugs in sport, establishing an independent statutory agency, the Australian Sports Drug Agency (ASDA), to deal with drug testing and drug education. It was later recognised that ASDA’s powers were inadequate and the Government responded by setting up a new agency, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), which commenced operation weeks before the Melbourne Games. As ASDA had been a model for other countries in their fight against drugs, much was expected of the new agency during the Melbourne event.

ASADA later reported that on 14 March 2006, the day the agency was launched by the federal Minister for Arts and Sport, Rod Kemp, it commenced an anti-doping program ‘designed to protect the integrity’ of the Melbourne Games.[112] ASDA had undertaken out-of-competition testing of international and Australian athletes prior to the launch and ASADA continued this task during the Games period. Samples were taken from 212 international athletes, and in the 12 months leading up to the Games, 433 of the athletes who were to compete for Australia were randomly tested.[113] In the course of the Games, 1,075 drug tests were undertaken and the first Australian testing for human growth hormone was undertaken.[114] Two athletes returned adverse analytical findings during the Games and were sanctioned. As a result of the earlier testing of international athletes, two further incidents of adverse findings were recorded.

A comprehensive education program supported doping control initiatives. The program included an interview designed to prevent athletes from inadvertently taking banned substances and ensuring that athletes using prohibited medications for health reasons had the necessary Therapeutic Use Exemptions in place.[115]

During the Games ASADA announced its first drugs investigation, as the result of allegations that doping was occurring in the sport of weightlifting. This investigation, which was completed in December 2006, found athletes and support personnel had violated anti-doping rules for the use, possession or trafficking of prohibited substances, including stimulants, steroids and human growth hormone.[116]

ASADA was satisfied that the level of anti-doping rules and processes undertaken in Melbourne set a new benchmark for anti-doping programs at future Commonwealth Games.[117]

Games security

The Australian Government pledged $84.8 million in security support services (see box 8 for more detailed information on funding for security services at the Games). A cross organisational approach was adopted for security planning, with a Commonwealth Games Security Group (SWG) established to take advantage of the specialist skills of various organisations. The SWG comprised representatives from all major Australian Government organisations concerned with matters of security, including the Australian Federal Police (AFP), the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Other relevant federal government organisations, such as Customs and the Department of Transport and Aviation Security, were also members of the SWG, as was the Victorian Police Force.[118]

Federal funding enabled the AFP to dedicate full time staff to the Games project and to purchase sophisticated security monitoring equipment. The ADF set up a taskforce of around 1,200 personnel to assist the Victorian Police in searching venues and operating vehicle check points. The Taskforce was also to respond to bomb threats and underwater clearance tasks.[119]

Prior to the Games, in October 2005, the largest counter-terrorism exercise held in Australia up to that time tested security preparedness for possible terrorist attacks. The four-day Mercury 05 exercise involved over 4,000 participants from state and federal agencies and tested responses to terrorism attacks on urban transit systems, large vehicle bombings, mass casualty events and other threats.[120]

During the Games there was a visible military and police presence, with an on-the-ground exclusion zone set up around the athletes’ village in an ‘unprecedented security blitz’. Police were also given powers to search patrons and airport style metal detectors and x-ray equipment were in use.[121]

A range of chemical, biological and radiological response assets were on stand-by, as was an ADF tactical response group, Black Hawk helicopters, fighter planes and naval ships. In addition, permission was given to the Defence force to shoot down any rogue aeroplanes which breached an air exclusion zone.[122]

Attorney General Phillip Ruddock remarked that authorities were ready for anything and only weeks before the Games a video was released which purportedly showed al-Qaeda operative, Adam Gadahn threatening a terrorist attack against Melbourne. While Minister Ruddock labelled the video as more rhetoric than actual threat, this incident appeared to justify the extraordinary security employed for March 2006, and to nullify any voices of protest.[123]


At the end of the Melbourne Games 25 athletes made the decision to leave their teams to seek asylum in Australia. These included two-thirds of the 22 member Sierra Leone team and nine from Cameroon. It seemed that a trend was emerging in relation to international sporting events—there were 80 officials and athletes who overstayed their visas for the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and 27 who went missing following the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002.[124]

After the CGF cancelled the missing athletes’ accreditation in response to a request from Sierra Leone officials, Australian authorities immediately began investigating their disappearance. The defectors were found taking refuge in Sydney. They requested asylum and were granted temporary visas while their refugee status was assessed. It was reported that at least three of the women from Sierra Leone would be subjected to female genital mutilation if they returned to their country.[125] Fourteen of the athletes were later granted residency.[126]

Six of the other runaway athletes also applied for visas to remain in Australia, but their fate was not reported further.[127]

Box 7: Melbourne trivia

-       Australia's squash players Natalie Grinham and Joseph Kneipp beat Norfolk Island's Debra Adams and Gye Duncan 9-2, 9-1, 9-0 in a match lasting only eight minutes and 18 seconds. Grinham and Kneipp went on to win the gold in the mixed doubles event. [128]

-       In the normally sedate sport of lawn bowls upon winning the singles gold medal Kelvin Kerkow ripped his shirt off and was mobbed by fans after AC/DC's song, ‘It's a long way to the top’, inspired crowd support.[129]

-        After John Howard gave kisses to some of Australia’s female medal winning swimmers (including Libby Lenton shown below), members of the Opals women’s basketball team, who dominated their competition, winning every match by a considerable margin, also demanded kisses from the Prime Minister.[130]

Melbourne trivia 

Source: ABC[131]

Medal tally and sporting success

Prior to the 2006 Games the quality of the athletes selected for the Australian team had been questioned, but a report of the ACGA repudiated this—commenting instead that the performances of athletes in all sports justified their selection. And the athletes themselves disproved the questioning of their ability to perform at the Commonwealth Games level.

The men’s and women’s basketball and hockey teams won gold, Australia’s boxers won two gold and four bronze medals, cyclists dominated the track and road competitions, despite the fact that a number of Australian riders were competing in Europe and could not attend the Games. The lawn bowls team won three gold, one silver and one bronze, the shooting team won 23 medals overall, weightlifting 11 overall and medals were also forthcoming in squash, table tennis, triathlon. The swimming and diving teams won 24 gold medals out of a total of 71 medals. See the table below for results by country.

Table 9: medal tally: Melbourne Commonwealth Games

Table 9: medal tally: Melbourne Commonwealth Games

Source: Melbourne 2006 website[132]

Government contributions to the Games

Total outlays for the Melbourne Games were $1,144.4 million ($1.14 billion). This comprised:

  • $831.9 million for operations
  • $89.9 million for security
  • $222.6 million for facilities and infrastructure.

Victorian Government

The Victorian Government contributed around $691 million to the staging of the Games, arguably the biggest sporting event ever hosted by Melbourne. Aside from hosting nearly 6,000 athletes and officials, two million spectators attended the Games. In the end, despite earlier predictions, total outlays were less than expected. See Table 10 below.

Table 10: summary: Victorian Government budget and actual costs: Commonwealth Games

Table 10: summary: Victorian Government budget and actual costs: Commonwealth Games

Source: Auditor General Victoria[133]

Federal Government

The 2001 Federal Budget offered $90 million in support for the Melbourne Commonwealth Games—$60 million in 2003–04 and $30 million in 2004–05.[134] The funding was intended to be used for the upgrade of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). However, the Government attached conditions to the funding and this proved to be controversial. Workplace Relations Minister, Tony Abbott, declared he would only guarantee the funding if workers involved in the refurbishing project abided by federal industrial rules.[135] It appeared, as the ABC’s 7.30 Report commented, that the MCG was to be the centre of a battle ‘reflecting the Federal Government's determination to break the power of unions in the construction industry’.[136]

The Victorian Government resolved the impasse by telling Minister Abbott ‘to keep his money’.[137] Victoria then invested $77 million in the project and the Melbourne Cricket Club was convinced to donate $13 million to make up the shortfall.[138] One commentator later noted:

Steve Bracks rejected a $90 million federal grant for the redevelopment of the MCG because the then industrial relations minister, Tony Abbott, wanted to impose his agenda of reform. Back then it was a decision Bracks could afford to take. He had the money to go it alone, and knew that accepting Abbott’s conditions would have set off an industrial campaign that would have delayed the MCG renovations and threatened the Commonwealth Games. In return, he got guarantees that the work would be finished on time, and bought himself a total monopoly on naming rights. [139]

Following the MCG dispute Prime Minister Howard wrote to Premier Bracks indicating that he intended to take advice from the Minister for Sport, Senator Kemp, before deciding what level of support the federal government would consequently offer towards the 2006 Games. It was reported at the time that the Victorian Minister for Sport considered that the federal contribution should be between $470 and $500 million, but the Victorian expectation was not met—the 2004 federal Government assistance package totalled $272.5 million over four years. [140] Details of this funding package can be found in Box 8 below.

Box 8: Australian Government support: Melbourne Commonwealth Games

The 2004 support package from the Australian Government for the Commonwealth Games of $272.5 million over five years included $139.8 million in new funding.

Direct financial assistance to the Games in the package amounted to $102.9 million and $132.7 million was for services and support. This was provided from existing federal resources.

Direct assistance

Direct assistance was provided through existing Australian Sports Commission (ASC) programs. This was estimated at $53.3 million over two years (the ASC also provided significant indirect assistance support for athletes and coaches).

The waiver of visa costs ($1.4 million) and tax exemptions was estimated at $2.4 million.

Direct financial assistance was also provided to the following projects:

- Opening and Closing Ceremonies ($40.0 million)

- Volunteer Programme ($18.2 million)

- Queen's Baton Relay ($15.0 million)

- Elite Athletes with a Disability Programme ($10.0 million)

- Airfare Subsidy Scheme for Athletes from Developing Commonwealth Countries ($7.5 million)

- Cultural Program ($6.0 million) and

- Technical Officials Program ($2.9 million).

Security and non-security services

Security services and support was budgeted for $84.8 million and $27.1 million was allocated for non- security related services and support.

Security tasks included services such as: providing counter terrorist assistance, the provision of intelligence advice and border security measures. Non-security tasks included services such as: international tourism promotion activities; the establishment of a 'Business Club' to leverage international business outcomes; drug testing; and providing a quarantine information program and inspection service. In excess of 20 Australian Government agencies provided a vast array of security and non-security services in support of the 2006 Games.

New funding of $28.3 million was provided to the Department of Defence, the Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, the Department of Transport and Regional Services, Attorney-General's Department, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation to provide a range of security services for the Games.

New funding of $8.6 million was provided on the non-security side to the Australian Customs Service, the Australian Sports Commission, the Australian Sports Drug Agency, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Austrade and Invest Australia.[141]

The federal funding package was similar in its composition to that previously provided by the Coalition Government to the Sydney Olympics; that is, a contribution that included a significant supply of services component. There was some suggestion that the package was as generous as it was because of the lobbying efforts of Games Chair, Ron Walker (referred to in the press as a Liberal Party powerbroker), and that at least some of the funding came with provisions attached.[142] But the Commonwealth Games Taskforce indicated that the Government had committed to support the Games because it recognised that the event was more than a sporting spectacle:

It is an opportunity to bring all Australians together through a shared sense of pride in our country and our capacity to deliver such a major international event.

It is also a unique platform for reinforcing mutual understanding and cooperation between all members of the Commonwealth, and for highlighting Australia’s sporting, cultural and business achievements to the world.[143]

Economic and social success

KPMG report

The Office of the Commonwealth Games Coordination engaged KPMG Australia to assess the direct and indirect economic impact of Melbourne hosting the 2006 Commonwealth Games for Victoria. KPMG produced a report which primarily addressed what it assessed were the quantitative impacts of the 2006 Games, while also making some general observations about broader qualitative aspects of the event.[144]

KPMG argued that in assessing the economic impact of the 2006 Games, it was necessary to determine whether expenditure on infrastructure was the direct result of hosting the Games or whether it would have been incurred anyway. KPMG concluded:

In some instances, there was some suggestion that the capital works may have occurred, but at a later date. In this instance, the Victorian economy still receives an economic benefit in the form of brought forward expenditure. Our analysis assumes that all of the capital expenditure has been undertaken due to the 2006 Games on the basis:

• there is no substantive evidence suggesting that the capital works expenditure would have been undertaken anyway and

• due to this uncertainty, there would be a considerable degree of arbitrariness implicit in any assumptions relating to brought forward capital expenditure.[145]

There were an estimated 166,513 visitors to Melbourne due to the 2006 Games; this number included athletes, spectators and Melbournians forgoing holidays outside Victoria to attend the Games. Visitors spent an estimated $247.7 million during the Games.[146]

KPMG speculated that by increasing international visitor awareness, the international exposure afforded Victoria by the staging of the 2006 Games may result in increased visitation to the state. However, it noted that a potential increase in visitor numbers was contingent on exploitation of the marketing opportunity that the 2006 Games provided. At the same time, based on the effect on visitor numbers and spending following the Sydney Olympics, it calculated an anticipated visitor spend directly as a result of the 2006 Games would be in the order of $1.8 billion  (in total) for 2007 and 2008.[147]

Table 11 shows construction activity identified as Games related by KPMG.

In terms of the impact of the Games on business, KPMG noted that a number of conferences, conventions and other sporting events were held in Victoria due to the 2006 Games. It estimated the value of the largest of these events was approximately $7.5 million. It added that the existence of improved sporting facilities due to the 2006 Games would enable Melbourne to host other significant international sporting events, such as the FINA (Fédération Internationale de Natation or International Swimming Federation) World Swimming Championships, which were scheduled to be held in the city in 2007.[148]

Sponsorship revenue flowing to Melbourne Games Corporation from the 2006 Games was estimated to be around $95.1 million, but KPMG noted that sponsors generally spend up to three times more on additional activities to maximise benefits from sponsorship. KPMG suggested therefore that the benefits from sponsorship may have been in the vicinity of $190 million.[149]

KPMG economic modelling intimated that the economic benefits of the 2006 Games exceeded costs to the Victorian community. Positive impact was derived from two major sources:

  • external inputs into the economy through tourism, sponsorship and other ‘export equivalents’ and
  • bringing forward of activity associated with facilities investment required to undertake the Games.

These sources resulted in an increase of Gross State Product (GSP) in the order of $1.6 billion and an increase in employment of approximately full time equivalent 13,600 jobs.[150]

Table 11: KPMG assessment: construction activity and expenditure associated with hosting the 2006 Games

Table 11: KPMG assessment: construction activity and expenditure associated with hosting the 2006 Games

Source: KPMG[151]

Insight Economics report

According to another report on the Games commissioned by the Office of Commonwealth Games Coordination—the Insight Economics, triple bottom line assessment—‘they came in within what was a reasonable budget for an event of this kind’. Insight Economics estimated the Games’ economic benefits ‘exceeded their costs’.[152]

Like KPMG, Insight Economics observed that much of the budget for the Games was devoted to investing in new and improved facilities. Insight Economics considered the size of these investments to have been appropriate ‘in the sense that the facilities provided for the Games were clearly more than adequate for their purpose’ and they left ‘a significant and positive legacy to the Victorian community’ in terms of enjoyment and ability to attract major events in the future.[153]

Moreover, in Insight Economics’ view, because of the difficulty in measuring future returns on the public investment, it was possible that the benefits of the Games could be under-estimated. For example, no allowance had been made for potential future events that could be held as a result of improved infrastructure and there were indications that there may be ‘considerable unquantified benefits that [would] come from an enhanced profile for Victorian businesses’.[154] Similarly, the value of business relationships formed during the Games was impossible to quantify, but in the future it could be significant.[155]

The Insight Economics assessment listed possible social benefits from the Games which were equally difficult to quantify. These included increases in:

  • the number of people willing to engage in volunteer work
  • public interest in attending future cultural and art events
  • the willingness of people to participate in community events
  • interest in involvement in school education and
  • participation in sport.[156]

Immediate benefits for the environment from the Melbourne 2006 program were also noted by Insight Economics. The Games main programs Waterwise, Carbon neutral and Low waste delivered results not only for Melbourne and Victoria, but also for projects elsewhere. Under these initiatives over a million trees were planted and wetlands established, the Games Village was built to a six star energy rating and waste minimisation and recycling targets were set and achieved. However, the extent to which these programs would achieve future behavioural changes was difficult to predict.[157]

A summary of Insight Economics triple bottom line assessment can be found in Table 12 below.

The final word

Entertainer Dame Edna Everage tried to have the final word on the Melbourne Games, when she interrupted Australian swimmer Micahel Klim’s speech on behalf of the athletes at the closing ceremony. But it was the President of the Commonwealth Games Committee, Mike Fennell, who echoed former President IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch’s praise for the Sydney Olympics, declaring to the crowd, that memories of Melbourne would remain firmly in people’s minds as they continued the pursuit of the values of humanity, destiny and equality through sport. Fennell concluded: ’Melbourne, you are simply the best!’[158] And there were most likely few Australians who did not agree that for 15 days in 2006, Melbourne was indeed ‘the best’.

Table 12: Insight Economics triple bottom line assessment of the Melbourne Games

Table 12: Insight Economics triple bottom line assessment of the Melbourne Games

Source: Insight Economics[159]

Australian Commonwealth Games: Gold Coast expectations

The Bid

The Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Bid team submitted its bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games to the CGF on 11 May 2011. The bid emphasised that the Gold Coast had experience in hosting national and international events, that much of the infrastructure and competition and training venues needed for the Games were already in place and that there was strong government support for the event—that the Gold Coast was in fact ‘event ready’.[160]

A feasibility study by the Queensland Government indicated that the economic benefits to be gained from the Games could be in excess of $1.9 billion, but as has been noted in relation to the Brisbane and Melbourne experience, it is difficult to calculate the economic benefits which may result from staging the Games. In addition, study surmised that the Games could create up to 30,000 full time jobs:

…business will benefit from enhanced economic opportunities and there will be improvements to the city’s transport infrastructure which again, will provide benefits to the local economy. A number of our key industries such as hospitality, tourism and retail will receive a boost through visitor spending.[161]             

The only other city to bid for the 2018 Games was Hambantota in Sri Lanka. In assessing both bids academic Marion Stell described the major difference: Hambantota, one of Sri Lanka’s five future ‘metro cities’ put forward a greenfield site on the outskirts of the city; a sporting city to be built entirely from scratch; an inspiration for other island nations in the Commonwealth to aspire to host the Games. This was in direct contrast to the bid presented by the Gold Coast—a relatively sophisticated urban area with infrastructure in place. The CGF Evaluation Commission:

…was unswayed by Hambantota. It found the Sports City concept too ambitious and highly dependent on ongoing government funding. The telecommunications infrastructure alone posed a substantial challenge. It was unwilling to back the bid even with a promised trial run of hosting the Asian Games in 2016. Even the weather was unsuitable, with average temperatures, humidity levels and wind strengths projected to be high. Like the weather, the Evaluation Commission considered Hambantota high risk. In contrast it judged the Gold Coast as representing a low risk region that had benefitted from substantial infrastructure investments.[162]

In November 2011 the CGF voted therefore to award the Games to the Gold Coast.[163] The Opening Ceremony is to take place on Wednesday 4 April 2018 before 11 days of competition which will culminate on the night of 15 April at the Closing Ceremony.

Premier Anna Bligh predicted the Games would transform the Gold Coast. The event would help the city to take its place among Australia’s great cities.[164] It was expected that over 7,500 athletes, officials and technical officials would attend the Games, 15,000 volunteers would assist a Games workforce of around 1,000 staff during the event and over 1.5 million tickets would be issued. Over 1,000 hours of live broadcast coverage of the Games would be beamed to a global audience of over 1.5 million people.[165]

The Bid Book indicated that it was expected that $2.0 billion would be spent on delivering the Games.[166] See Table 13 below for more detail.


Sports for the 2018 Games will be: aquatics (swimming and diving), athletics, badminton, basketball, boxing, cycling, gymnastics, hockey, lawn bowls, netball, rugby 7s, shooting, squash, table tennis, triathlon, weightlifting and wrestling. Para-sports to be included in the program will be: athletics, aquatics (swimming), lawn bowls and powerlifting.

Table 13: proposed Commonwealth Games budget 2018

Table 13: proposed Commonwealth Games budget 2018

Source: 2018 Gold Coast Bid Book[167]

Logo and mascot

Exactly five years from the start of the event the emblem for the Games was revealed in April 2013. Colours of gold, green and blue on the emblem symbolise the Gold Coast's beaches, water and hinterland, which depict the Q1 tower building in abstract above three athletes—a gymnast, a swimmer and a hurdler. See Figure 8 below.

To date, no Games mascot has been announced.

Figure 8: Gold Coast Games logo

Figure 8: Gold Coast Games logo

Source: Gold Coast Bulletin[168]


Australian Government

Following the announcement that the Gold Coast has been awarded the 2018 Commonwealth Games the federal Minister for Sport, Mark Arbib, pledged that the Government would support the Games by providing immigration and security services.[169]

Following the 2012 Budget, however, complaints were made that the Games were being ‘ignored’ by the Australian Government and that lower-profile events had managed to secure almost $100 million in federal contributions in preference to funds being directed to the higher profile event.[170] Queensland Premier Campbell Newman claimed that the Treasurer, Wayne Swan, had ‘dudded’ his home state by not allocating funding to infrastructure preparations, such as upgrading the Bruce Highway.[171]

The Government had, however, made some commitments in addition to its immigration and security promises, providing assistance for the Metricon Stadium, for example. The stadium was jointly funded by the Queensland Government ($71.9 million), the Federal Government ($36 million), the Gold Coast City Council ($23 million) and the Australian Football League ($13.3 million).   Significant funding of $365 million from the Government’s infrastructure program was also provided in the 2009–10 Budget for light rail on the Gold Coast.[172]

Despite these federal contributions, throughout 2012 and 2013 the Gold Coast continued to be disgruntled with its treatment by the Government. It was reported in July 2012 that ‘secret’ funding talks had been held between Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott and Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate, the outcome being that if elected, the Coalition promised to provide $100 million in funding for the Games.[173] According to the same report, this stood in contrast to the Labor Government ‘which has refused to give financial assurances except for immigration and security’.[174]

The Report continued:

Council and the State Government were pushing for more funding than Melbourne received for the 2006 Commonwealth Games. But federal MPs have told Cr Tate the Gold Coast will get "$100 million and not a penny more"—the same as Melbourne. Sources told the [Gold Coast] Bulletin that while Cr Tate had won the battle for funding, he probably would not get it delivered when he wanted it—in the next two years.[175]

State government

In November 2011 Premier Anna Bligh announced that an investment of $500 million on sport and transport infrastructure would be made as a direct result of the successful bid for the 2018 Games. In terms of infrastructure, this was to include:

  • increasing the capacity of Metricon stadium from 25,000 to 40,000 seats
  • new badminton and mountain bike facilities
  • a world class squash complex
  • development of the Coomera Sports and Leisure Centre and
  • upgrades to the Broadbeach Bowls Club, Gold Coast Hockey Centre and the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre.[176]

The 2012 Queensland State Budget provided $21 million in funding to the Games.[177] The funding was allocated:

… to progress Games planning, including finalisation of the sports program to be contested at the Games and planning for sporting venues. Funds are also allocated to finalise planning for the Games Village development.[178]

In the 2013 Queensland State Budget the Gold Coast region was allocated:

  • $26.0 million to assist in planning for the Games
  • $33.3 million towards redeveloping the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre
  • $41.4 million to progress planning and development of the Parklands Priority Development Area for the Games Village
  • $36.5 million for local government recovery and reconstruction projects in partnership with the Australian Government
  • $7.0 million for regional tourism operators, including Gold Coast, to undertake destination marketing.[179]

The following table from the Gold Coast Bid Book shows expected funding from the Queensland Government, sponsorship and other funding (such as expected federal government funding) in the lead up to the Games:

Table 14: expected funding for 2018 Games

Table 14: expected funding for 2018 Games

Source: Gold Coast Bid Book[180]

Local government

According to the Gold Coast Council’s annual report, local government funding provided for the Games in 2012–13 was $1.6 million to be spent on ‘co-ordination’ projects. It has been reported that further funding from the council in the lead up to the Games will be $100 million.

In November 2012 it was announced that the Queensland Government and Gold Coast Council would jointly fund infrastructure for the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Commonwealth Games Minister Jann Stuckey and Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate announced they would each contribute half the infrastructure funds for the Games.[181]

It appears there has been some dispute over the terms of this agreement. In April 2013 it seemed that agreements on proposed ‘land swaps’ which were to be a ‘trade-off’ for the City Council’s $100 million commitment had fallen through. The Queensland Government expected the Gold Coast Council instead to provide ‘$100 million in cash as well as $100 million of in-kind support’.[182]

There has also been some concern expressed regarding plans to construct a $663 million athletes’ village on the Gold Coast following a 2012 audit of Queensland’s finances which took place under the direction of former Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello.[183] Despite an announcement by Games minister Jann Stuckey that the cost of building the village, to be located at Parklands, would be recovered by selling its 1,358 apartments, the audit report considered the Parklands plan represented a financial risk. It considered other possibilities, such as creating temporary accommodation, may be more cost effective options.[184] The Government response to the audit report, released in April 2013 did not address this issue.[185]

Tales of failed Games bids

Perth, Brisbane and Melbourne have shown interest in hosting other Commonwealth Games. Melbourne as Australia’s representative city was beaten by Christchurch to hold the 1974 Games, for example, by 36 votes to 2. In the 1980s, Sydney expressed a desire to stage either the 1994 or 1998 Games. In addition, Canberra, Hobart and Darwin have made tentative bids to be the Australian city elected to bid for the Games, and in 1992, Adelaide was the Australian competitor beaten by Kuala Lumpur in the race for the staging of the 1998 Games.

In 1984, Perth attempted to gain support for a bid to stage the 1990 Games, and although it reached the final consideration stages, the city withdrew at the last minute leaving only Auckland and New Delhi in final contention. One of the reasons cited for this failure was that the Australian Government, principally Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, was not prepared to support the bid. Hawke reportedly considered that the eight year gap between Brisbane and the Games Perth sought to host was insufficient. It was also believed that as the Government had pledged support for Perth to stage the defence of the America’s Cup in yachting that there was an equity issue in terms of funding for other events in other jurisdictions.[186]

There were suggestions that Perth might have been given the right to stage the Games when threats of a boycott of the 1990 Games in Auckland emerged after a New Zealand rebel rugby tour of South Africa took place, but the Auckland Games were not relocated.

In 1984, the South Australian Government investigated the feasibility of staging the 1994 or 1998 Commonwealth Games, and following the Auckland Games in 1990 Adelaide representatives claimed that the city would spend $60 million to surpass the New Zealand event if given the opportunity in 1998. Perth too was keen to hold the 1998 Games, as was Hobart, but both these bids failed.[187] Adelaide won the right to challenge Kuala Lumpur with the backing of the federal government which offered $25 million in assistance if the city won the international bidding.[188]

While Adelaide was ‘hailed as the front runner’ for the 1998 Games for a time, a meeting of Commonwealth Games ministers in February 1990 indicated that the preference for 1998 was to award the Games to a developing nation.[189] After Adelaide lost the vote which awarded the Games (by a margin of 25 to 40) there were some suggestions that ‘shady’ tactics had been used by Kuala Lumpur to achieve this end.[190]

The Australian newspaper may have put Adelaide’s disappointment in context. It commented that the choice of Kuala Lumpur ‘saved’ the Games which were:

… already under threat from the commercial attractions of individual world championships and a lack of television coverage. The continued dominance of the white dominions and Britain would have disillusioned the rest of the commonwealth to the point of disintegration.[191]

Despite speculation that ‘white cities’ and ‘colonial powers’ would not be awarded the Games for some time, Canberra, Hobart, Perth and Melbourne all considered the possibility that they may bid for the 2002 event, but in the end all cities decided not to proceed further; Canberra at least disheartened by the ‘harsh realities of international politics’.[192] The only consolation for Canberra at the time was that it may have benefitted from staging some minor rounds of competition if Sydney were to be successful in its campaign to stage the Olympics.[193] Melbourne withdrew after reassessing its failed bid for the 1996 Olympics, which cost $20 million, arguing that it could not afford to stage the event.[194]

Adelaide also considered the 2002 event, but its bid was hampered by a number of factors. These included damage done to Australia’s image by remarks made by the chef de mission Arthur Tunstall prior to the Games in Victoria, Canada in 1994. Tunstall was forced to apologise after he commented that athletes with a disability were an ‘embarrassment’ to themselves and other athletes.[195] The increasing cost of staging the Games was also a consideration for Adelaide, with the South Australian Commonwealth Games Association head remarking that he was perplexed at the difference in the amounts it cost to stage the Games 1990 and 1994 when the programs were the same.[196]

It appeared that every state and territory wanted to stage the 2006 Games. The Northern Territory Government looked at the possibility of bidding, and there were reports that the city of Melbourne was interested, as was Hobart, which it appeared was looking not only at the possibility of bidding jointly with Melbourne, but also at approaching Adelaide to launch a joint bid if the Melbourne proposal did not succeed. The Hobart proposal appeared to have little support from the ACGA, however.[197]

Throughout 1996 there was considerable speculation that Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Canberra were also interested in staging the Games. One commentator claimed that Brisbane would not win support from the ACGA because it had already hosted the Games, Perth would fail because it was too far away, Darwin did not have the facilities needed, Canberra did not have the infrastructure and Sydney would not be chosen because it was just being greedy after hosting the 2000 Olympics.[198]

In the end Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Darwin officially applied for the right to bid for the 2006 Games. The Perth and Adelaide bids were disqualified after the South Australian and Western Australian Governments refused to sign a financial contract required by the ACGA. Both states claimed the contract committed them ‘to meet unlimited costs’ and threatened legal action.[199] Melbourne won the contest according to the President of the ACGA, because of its capacity to put forward ‘an outstanding international bid’.[200]

Melbourne was awarded the 2006 Games after Wellington, New Zealand withdrew its bid citing a funding shortfall and that the New Zealand city could not afford to underwrite the cost of the Games as Melbourne had promised to do.[201]

Recent Games’ experiences


Despite Indian expectations that the 2010 Commonwealth Games ‘would showcase its status as an emerging global power’ the recent Games held in Delhi were plagued by social and economic woes.[202]

From the time the Games were awarded to Delhi, they were subject to severe criticism by some Indian politicians and by social activists who argued that the amount of money to be spent would have been better allocated to social development programs to assist India’s poor.[203]           

As preparations for the Games progressed, other criticisms on social grounds emerged. Issues of concern included the forced eviction of people from Delhi’s slums. These evictions were not always directly to make way for the building of new infrastructure; some were part of the beautification of the city plan which was, however, Games-related. A report on these evictions from the Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN) noted that they were carried out without consultation and notice and with no regard for a plethora of rights, including the right to life, the right to access to healthcare and the right to work.[204]

Numerous violations of labour laws and conditions at construction sites associated with the Games were reported in the media—violations included denial of minimum wages, overtime payments and time off periods, irregular payment of wages, not providing safety equipment free of cost, paying lesser wages to women workers, not providing adequate residential and living facilities in accordance with the law and infringements of child labour laws.[205]

Delays in the construction of main Games' venues and infrastructure compromises added to problems for the Delhi Games. It was thought some of the infrastructure delays could be traced to government practices in awarding contracts to lowest bidders. These companies were often smaller, less experienced construction firms which lacked the workforce numbers needed to oversee large projects.[206] Clearly, this was not the only reason for delays. India’s corruption watchdog, the Central Vigilance Commission, pointed to another—poor quality assurance in more than a dozen Games projects.[207] According to one report, the Delhi construction saga meant: ‘[h]uge piles of rubble and rubbish, a collapsed roof, hanging wires, leaky walls, broken tiles and an incomplete stadium become the visual staple of daily newspapers and television channels’.[208]

A report from the Indian Comptroller and Auditor General following the Games confirmed that numerous planning and implementation miscalculations had been made by the Delhi organising committee. The report concluded that the committee had failed to make best use of a phasing approach to allocate sufficient time to achieve objectives. It wasted time in the planning stages for the Games, for example, and this had a cascading effect on the delivery of construction projects. Neither did the organising committee have a ‘clear and realistic assessment’ of the cost of hosting the Games, and it failed to instill a sense of urgency into funding approvals and commitments, which also added to construction delays. The comprehensive report lists many more inadequacies in governance and procedures.[209]

In retrospect, given these shortcomings, it was surprising perhaps that in September 2009 the BBC reported the preparation of only 13 of the 19 venues to be used for the Games was running behind schedule.[210] It was perhaps also incredible that all of the venues were eventually able to be used for the Games, although there was considerable criticism of the standard to which they were finished. Accommodation in the athletes’ village, for example, was labeled ‘filthy, unhygienic and unfit for human habitation’ (see figure 9 below).[211] The collapse of a pedestrian bridge close to the main stadium only days before the start of the Games suggested that other incidents may hamper the competition period, but while a scoreboard at the rugby sevens collapsed, no further major incidents were reported.[212] This may have been due to good luck, given that the Indian Auditor General’s report listed a number of ‘deficiencies in the quality of works executed’, including work undertaken on the main Games stadium.[213]

Not all of the Games problems were categorised as inefficiencies or miscalculations; some were the result of corruption. While it took some time for the corruption issues to be addressed, in 2013 nine Games officials were charged in connection with a contract awarded to a Swiss timekeeping company. It was alleged that the contract provided equipment and services at exorbitant rates.[214] In September 2013 investigations relating to further instances of corruption involving Games officials were continuing.[215]

Construction delays also affected the employment of security checks and measures, and as if this was not enough, gunmen who shot and wounded tourists near Delhi’s Jama Masjid Mosque 13 days before the Games’ commencement warned they intended to make the Games their next target.[216] Some countries were prompted to consider withdrawing from the Games as a result of the incident, but for the most part, concerns about the Games were more focused on issues such as whether venues would actually be completed, and clean bathrooms would be available for athletes.[217]

Figure 9: Delhi athletes’ accommodation

Figure 9: Delhi athletes’ accommodation

Source: The Age[218]

As the Indian Comptroller and Auditor General reported, the Delhi Games cost $4.1 billion instead of the $270 million first estimated, while revenue was only $38 million.[219] Despite this significant shortfall, the Auditor General remarked:

It is acknowledged that India hosted the largest and one of the most successful Commonwealth games in Delhi in October 2010. It is indeed a remarkable commentary on the nation’s managerial and sporting capabilities that despite a multitude of adversities leading to the conduct of the games, India emerged successful both as hosts and as competitors.[220]

On the other hand, HLRN concluded:

… contrary to the claims of the government and the organisers, [the Delhi Games] did not benefit the majority of Delhi’s residents; neither did they bring the much publicised revenue for the government. On the contrary, the Games have resulted in a severe and long-lasting negative economic and social legacy, with the most adverse consequences being borne by the city’s poorest and most marginalised populations.[221]


Glasgow will host the 20th Commonwealth Games between 23 July and 3 August 2014. The Scottish city was selected by a vote of the 71 Commonwealth nations at the CGF General Assembly held in Sri Lanka in November 2007. Glasgow defeated the bid from Abuja in Nigeria by 47 votes to 24.

Three cities had submitted bids for the 2014 Games, but Halifax in Canada withdrew its bid in March 2007 after the government of the province of Nova Scotia withdrew support for the bid because of concerns that the Games would cost more than it had expected.[222]

The Abuja bid had received strong support from African nations and Australia and it was noted that many of the Games facilities were already in place in the city, including a modern stadium, a water sports complex and a velodrome. The CGF evaluation report concluded that there were a number of areas of concern in the Ajuba bid, such as the failure to include detailed financial planning supporting commitments to provide other infrastructure.[223]

The expected cost of delivering the Glasgow Games is $887.5 million.[224] Funding will be provided by the Scottish Government, Glasgow City Council and commercial income. This will be generated from a variety of sources including broadcasting income, ticket sales, sponsorship and sales of merchandise.

Around 70 per cent of the venues for the 2014 Games were in existence at the time of the Games bid. These include the Hampden Park football stadium which Glasgow has opted to turn temporarily into an athletics stadium to host track and field events and the Games’ Closing Ceremony.

In September 2013, it appeared that Glasgow was ‘on track’ to deliver on its bid proposals. Its remaining infrastructure projects were either complete or underway, including the Games’ village, Scotland’s first large-scale carbon-neutral housing development, which was to be completed in January 2014 (see artist impression below). There was a legacy plan in place which was intended to use ‘the impetus of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games to encourage greater involvement in sport, recreation, healthy living, cultural activity and volunteering’.[225]A number of sponsors had committed to supporting the Games, and tickets were selling well.

Figure 10: impression: Glasgow athletes’ village

Figure 10: impression: Glasgow athletes’ village

Source: Official website of XX Commonwealth Games[226]

Concluding comments

As one history of the Commonwealth Games notes, the British imperial past helped shape many countries—they are what they are because of their imperial heritage, be that good, bad or indifferent. Until recently, when countries with no British heritage began to be admitted to the Commonwealth family, this has been:

… the strange, ironic bond of the Commonwealth. It happened. It shaped us. And this is why the Commonwealth refuses to go away as an institution, even though at times it seems a nineteenth century anachronism…To deny it would be to deny the past of so many countries…And that is why its roots, and therefore that of the [Commonwealth] Games, are embedded so deeply in the psyche of so many people.[227]

The Commonwealth ‘bond’ is one explanation for the success of the Commonwealth Games. Another is that the Games are for many athletes, a pathway to the Olympics. Yet another opinion is that the while the Games may be the first taste of the international stage for many promising athletes, they are ‘a fantastic occasion’ in their own right.[228]

In this vein, one source describes the Games as ‘no poor cousin’ to the Olympics, second only in terms of size and operational scope. It adds that the Games draws strength from the geographical dispersion of its participating nations and takes pride in its styling as the ‘Friendly Games’.[229]

Whatever the reason, the Commonwealth Games in one of the world’s great sporting events. In 2010, approximately 7,000 athletes and officials were involved, around 60,000 spectators attended the Opening Ceremony in Delhi and over two billion people watched the Commonwealth Games in their living rooms.[230] In contrast, nearly 20,000 athletes and officials attended the 2012 Olympics, a similar number watched the Opening Ceremony in London and the overall audience who viewed the Games was 3.6 billion.[231] The Olympics was the clear winner in terms of size—but the Commonwealth Games was a sizable competitor.

For cities that vie to host the Games, they are seen as bringing value and benefits of various kinds—economic, social and environmental—although it is acknowledged those benefits may not immediately be obvious. Indeed, there are those who question the extent to which any benefits may be gained from so called ‘mega events’, while others argue that benefits will inevitably be outweighed by costs. There is a body of academic analysis which considers that evidence:

… international sporting festivals provide any economic benefit to their host is almost non-existent. The games will discourage as much economic activity in the Gold Coast as they will boost. Probably more.[232]

Moreover, one study concluded that ‘highly problematic long-term economic outcomes’ resulted for Montreal from its hosting of the Olympics in 1976. Similarly, the 1994 World Cup in the United States of America revealed that host cities experienced losses ranging between US$5.5 and $9.3 billion.[233] This study adds that non-host host cities can also experience negative outcomes from the hosting of a mega event—reductions in revenue which may be long-lasting, for example. Hence, employment gains in Lillehammer in 1994 were counterbalanced by loss of employment in non-host cites after the 1994 Winter Olympics in Norway.[234]

The study continues that while the Olympics in Barcelona were considered successful, Barcelona’s citizens experienced increases in the cost of services, transportation and food and job creation in the city was centred on low paid, temporary employment.[235]Similarly, from this perspective, public spending allocated to mega events and their associated projects often means that budget cuts occur in other areas and that these cuts affect those who are least likely to gain any benefits from the events or even be able to attend them.[236] There is of course substance to this argument, as can be seen with reference to the earlier discussion in this paper about the forced evictions in Delhi.

Regardless of this type of criticism, cities continue to vie to stage mega events such as the Commonwealth Games. Perhaps the main explanation, in terms of the Commonwealth Games, is that despite criticisms that have declared them a third rate club; [237] despite criticisms that they are simply one of a series of mega events that serve the interests of global capitalism and exacerbate social problems, there are many athletes who cherish the opportunity to compete in the Games. There are equally as many people who savour the experience of watching the variety of ways in which the Games’ friendly rivalry is played out every four years.

Appendix A: Commonwealth states

By region  
Africa Asia
Botswana Bangladesh
Cameroon Brunei Darussalam
Gambia, The India
Ghana Malaysia
Kenya Maldives
Lesotho Pakistan
Malawi Singapore
Mauritius Sri Lanka
Mozambique Europe
Namibia Cyprus
Nigeria Malta
Rwanda United Kingdom
Seychelles Pacific
Sierra Leone Australia
South Africa Fiji
Swaziland Kiribati
Uganda Nauru
United Republic of Tanzania New Zealand
Zambia Papua New Guinea
Americas Samoa
Antigua and Barbuda Solomon Islands
Bahamas, The Tonga
Barbados Tuvalu
Belize Vanuatu
Canada Australia
Dominica Fiji
Grenada Kiribati
Guyana Nauru
Jamaica New Zealand
St Kitts and Nevis Papua New Guinea
St Lucia Samoa
St Vincent and The Grenadines Solomon Islands
Trinidad and Tobago Tonga

Source: The Commonwealth[238]

Appendix B: Brisbane Commonwealth Games: economic impact tables

Direct and indirect impacts of the XII Commonwealth Games on the Brisbane Region 

Summary statement of impacts of XII Commonwealth games on the Brisbane region

Source: Lynch and Jenson[239]

Appendix C: Australian performance facts

Australia has held the Games four times; 1938 in Sydney, 1962 in Perth, 1982 in Brisbane and 2006 in Melbourne. It will also hold the 2018 Games on Gold Coast—a record fifth time.

Australia has won more medals than any other Commonwealth nation – 2080. England is second in the medal count with 1836 and Canada third with 1391.

Most gold medals won at a single Games

Swimmer Ian Thorpe won six gold medals at the 2002 Manchester Games

Susan O’Neill, OAM won six gold medals in swimming at the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Games

Most medals won by a competitor

Shooter Phillip Adams, OAM won 18 medals (seven gold, nine silver, two bronze) at five Games (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994 and 2002).

Swimmer Susan O'Neill, OAM won 15 medals (ten gold and five silver medals) at three Games (1990, 1994 and 1998).

Most gold medals won

Swimmer Leisel Jones won 11 gold medals at three successive Games (2002, 2006 and 2010).

Represented at most Games

Arthur Tunstall, OBE (1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1978, 1986, 1990 and 1994) and Donald Stockins, OAM (1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002) have each represented Australia as officials at eight Commonwealth Games.

Shooter Phillip Adams, OAM (1982, 1986, 1990, 1994, 1998, 2002) has competed in six Commonwealth Games.

Rhonda Cator, Badminton, competed at five Games (1990, 1994, 1998 and 2002) and was an official in 2006 and 2010.

Oldest gold medal winner

Dorothy Roche, OAM, was 61 years and ten months old when she won a gold medal in the women's fours in bowls at the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games.

Youngest gold medal winner:

Jenny Turrell was 13 years and eight months old when she won a gold medal in the 400 metres freestyle swimming event at the 1974 Christchurch Commonwealth Games.

Source: Australian Commonwealth Games Association[240]

Appendix D: Australian medal tally: all Commonwealth Games

Australia - medal tally by Games
Games Gold Silver Bronze Total
1930 British Empire Games 3 4 1 8
1934 British Empire Games 8 4 2 14
1938 British Empire Games 25 19 22 66
1950 British Empire Games 34 27 19 80
1954 British Empire & Commonwealth Games 20 11 17 48
1958 British Empire & Commonwealth Games 27 22 17 66
1962 British Empire & Commonwealth Games 38 36 31 105
1966 British Empire & Commonwealth Games 23 28 22 73
1970 British Commonwealth Games 36 24 22 82
1974 British Commonwealth Games 29 28 25 82
1978 Commonwealth Games 24 33 27 84
1982 Commonwealth Games 39 39 29 107
1986 Commonwealth Games 40 46 35 121
1990 Commonwealth Games 52 54 56 162
1994 Commonwealth Games 87 52 42 181
1998 Commonwealth Games 79 61 57 197
2002 Commonwealth Games 81 61 63 205
2006 Commonwealth Games 84 69 68 221
2010 Commonwealth Games 74 55 49 178
Total Medals 803 673 604 2080

Source: Commonwealth Games Federation[241]

[1].       The Commonwealth Games were not staged during WWII.

[2].       ‘Profile: the Commonwealth’, BBC news, 1 February 2012, accessed 6 September 2013.

[3].       The nations are Mozambique, admitted in 1995 and Rwanda, a former German and Belgium colony, admitted in 2009.

[4].       Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), results by country pages, accessed 22 August 2013.

[5].       Charter of the Commonwealth,  accessed 16 October 2013.

[6].       Information in this section taken from The Commonwealth website, accessed 23 July 2013.

[7].       J Trout, Games facts: a collection of Commonwealth Games information, Australian Commonwealth Games Association (ACGA), 2001, p. 5.

[8].       The Australasia team consisted of seven Australians and three New Zealanders. The team hero was Harold Hardwick, who won the 100 yards freestyle swimming championship and the heavy weight boxing championship. J Blanch and P Jenes, Australia’s complete history at the Commonwealth Games, John Blanch Publishing, Coogee, New South Wales, 1982, p. 3.

[9].       Trout, Games facts, op. cit. p. 6.

[10].      The countries were: Australia, Bermuda, British Guyana, Canada, England, Northern Ireland, Newfoundland, New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa and Wales. Sports featured were: athletics, boxing, lawn bowls, rowing, swimming and diving and wrestling. Women were only allowed to compete in swimming events in Hamilton.

[11].      These are: England, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

[12].      ‘Queen’s Baton Relay: the tradition continues’, Melbourne Commonwealth Games website, accessed 16 October 2013.

[13].      ‘Queens’s Baton Relay’ Glasgow Commonwealth Games website, accessed 16 October 2013.

[14].      Sources, including the Commonwealth Games Federation, usually cite the number of countries that competed in these Games as 26. It appears, however, that this figure is incorrect. See Box 2 for more explanation.

[15].      Commonwealth Games Federation website, accessed 30 August 2013.

[16].      The vote was 42 to 0 with two abstentions, New Zealand and England.

[17].      R Cashman, Australia's role in the apartheid sports boycott in 1977, speech, National Archives of Australia, 30 October 2008, accessed 30 August 2013.

[18].       ’19 states may boycott Games’ The Canberra Times, 14 July 1986.

[19].      Editorial, ‘A black ban on the Games’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 July 1986.

[20].      B Boswell, ‘Games uproar on “back-room” disqualifications’, The Australian, 15 July 1986.

[21].      ‘Not just the Games are under threat’, The Courier Mail, 15 July 1986.

[22].      Editorial, ‘The boycott runs out of puff’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 31 July 1986.

[23].      P Bowers, ‘Bermudans miss last bus but get return ticket’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 26 July 1986.

[24].      ‘New threat to games over cricket tour’, The Canberra Times, 21 January 1990.

[25].      K Scott, ‘Stealth: Evans blasts rugby officials’ The Canberra Times, 15 August 1989.

[26].      ‘Apartheid’, A&E Television Networks, history pages, accessed 4 September 2013.

[27].      Commonwealth Games Federation, Constitution, Regulations, Code of Conduct, November 2011, accessed 24 July 2013.

[28].      Ibid.

[29].      Ibid., Article 24.

[30].      Commonwealth Games Federation, Constitution, Regulations, Code of Conduct, op. cit.

[31].      International Olympic Committee (IOC), Olympic Charter, Lausanne, 9 September 2013, accessed 12 September 2013.

[32].      Three recognised countries did not compete in the London Olympics—South Sudan, Kosovo and Vatican City. Eleven ‘non-countries’/territories competed—America Samoa, Aruba, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Cook Islands, Guam, Hong Kong, Palestine, Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands.

[33].      Commonwealth Games Council for Scotland, People, place, passion: Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games candidate city file, n.d. accessed 26 July 2013.

[34].      Commonwealth Games Scotland website, accessed 26 July 2013.

[35].      Athletics, boxing, cycling, lawn bowls, rowing, swimming and wrestling.

[36].      National Archives of Australia, Empire Games, Sydney, 1938–Fact sheet 188, accessed 26 July 2013.

[37].      Australian Commonwealth Games Federation website, Sydney 1938 page, accessed 26 July 2013. The 1938 Commonwealth Games logo consisted of seven panels depicting the sports on the Games program. The black and white logo also showed a representation of Sydney Harbour.

[38].      C Dheensaw, The Commonwealth Games: the first 60 years: 1930–1990, ABC Books, Sydney, 1994, pp. 29–31.

[39].      Ibid. p. 28.

[40].      Comment on Athletics Australia website, biography of Decima Norman, accessed 26 July 2013. Norman’s international career was cut short by the outbreak of World War II.

[41].      Australian Commonwealth Games Association, ‘Sydney 1938’, website, accessed 20 August 2013.

[42].      Ibid.

[43].      Gordon Freeth, Obituary, accessed 26 July 2013.

[44].      Margaret Whitlam, Obituary, accessed 26 July 2013.

[45].      Melbourne City Council, Politics and government webpage, accessed 26 July 2013.

[46].      According to one source, Adelaide had originally been chosen to host the 1962 Games at the 1956 Summer Olympics in Melbourne, but this was overturned in 1958.

[47].      CJ Edmonds and NJ Willmott, The Official History of the VIIth British Empire and Commonwealth Games, 1962, Perth Australia, Organising Council of the VIIth British Empire and Commonwealth Games 1962, Mercantile Press, 1962, pp. 9–14.

[48].      Edmonds and Willmott, Official History 1962, op. cit. pp. 13–14.

[49].      The yellow and blue 1962 Games logo consisted of a British Empire and Commonwealth Games Federation emblem on a blue background. Above it was a yellow sun and a blue kangaroo, CGF, 1962 British Empire & Commonwealth Games, accessed 29 July 2013.

[50].      For further information see N Maxwell, India’s China War, Pantheon, New York, 1970.

[51].      Trout, Games Facts, op. cit.

[52].      Athlete’s Edge, ‘Commonwealth Games– 1962 Perth’, accessed 20 August 2013.

[53].      The XII Commonwealth Games (1982) Foundation, XII Commonwealth Games, Brisbane: the official history: a spectacular of sport, September 1983, p. 15.

[54].      List of mascots can be found at Top End Sports website, accessed 21 August 2013.

[55].      P Yelland, ‘A syrupy avalanche reaches the ACT’, The Canberra Times, 13 February 1982.

[56].      ‘Price decision on ”Matilda”’, The Courier Mail, 25 March 1981.

[57].      F Klein, ‘Matilda happy in new home’, The Gympie Times, 29 September 2012, accessed 6 August 2013.

[58].      ‘Aid cuts will stop boycotts: Premier’, The Sunday Mail, 19 July 1981.

[59].      S Ramphal, Secretary General, Office of the Commonwealth Secretary-general, circular letter no. 83/82, 15 November 1982.

[60].      In January 1982 six Indigenous protesters, angry about Alcoa’s plan to build a new aluminium smelter on sacred Indigenous lands at Portland Victoria, invaded the track during the Alcoa Games in Melbourne’s Olympic Park and caused injuries to two African-American competitors.

[61].      Queensland State Archives, ‘Matilda kangaroo mascot, Opening Ceremony, XII Commonwealth Games, Brisbane, 30 September 1982’, accessed 20 August 2013.

[62].      Commonwealth Games Act 1982 (QLD), accessed 6 August 2013.

[63].      International reports cited in ‘Shock troops claim ”stupid”’, The Courier Mail, 11 September 1982.

[64].      ‘Police arrest 39 in games curtain-raiser’, The Australian, 1 October 1982.

[65].      ‘NAC expects 10,000 for Games rallies’, The Canberra Times, 10 September 1982.

[66].      I Wilson (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs), Minister accuses Labor of provoking unrest over Games, media release, 20 September 1982.

[67].      Alan Moir cartoon, Declare a State of Emergency, 5533, John Oxley Library, SLQ, cited on State Library of Queensland, State of Emergency site, accessed 6 August 2013.

[68].      B Rollings and J Hourigan, ‘A grand opening’, The Canberra Times, 1 October 1982.

[69].      The official history of the XII Commonwealth Games, op. cit., p. 17. Estimates were approximately $19 million from the Brisbane City Council, $10 million from the State government and $12 million from the Federal Government.

[70].      A Welburn, ‘Chance to win back our status’, The Australian, 30 September 1981.

[71].      D Hanaghan, ‘How the games became a $100m business’, The Courier Mail, 27 October 1981.

[72].      A McKenzie ‘Games cost city nearly $44 million’ The Courier Mail, 23 June 1983. Actual figure cited was $43 624 434.

[73].      L Nicklin and T Bransdon, ‘Brisbane rallies behind it troubled Games’, The Bulletin, 28 September 1982, p. 24.

[74].      The official history of the XII Commonwealth Games, op. cit.

[75].      ‘Walsh hits games bungle’, The Sunday Mail, 21 June 1981.

[76].      Major sponsors for the Games included BHP, Henry Jones (IXL) Utah Development the Commonwealth Bank, Esso and the State Government Insurance Office, ‘Sponsors trim Games bill’, Business Review, 6 February 1982.

[77].      Reference to tax status in ‘Money worries plague Games’, The National Times, 2 August 1981. Tickets for the Opening Ceremony, for example, ranged from $10 to $40 and some noted this was more expensive that attending a cricket test match at Lord’s, which would have cost $6.80, ‘$40-a-ticket Games–and 90-day wait’, The Courier Mail, 29 June 1981. Note: of the 750,000 Games tickets printed, about 600,000 were for sale at average of $10 per ticket. Ticket sales made $6.8 million.

[78].      Note: as a result of this donation, the Games Foundation granted unlimited domestic broadcasting rights to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), but it continued to hold international broadcasting rights. The ABC topped broadcast ratings for the first time as a result of its coverage of the Games. The broadcaster received international acclaim for its broadcast of 1982, but in 1988 coverage of the 1990 Games was awarded to the Nine Network, essentially because it was able to pay more, although the CGF argued it was because there were doubts that the ABC coverage would be satisfactory and that sponsors would get value for their money. ‘Nine beats ABC for TV coverage of 1990 games (sic)’, The Courier Mail, 13 April 1988.

[79].      E Johnson, ‘21c a head to catch a scent of victory’, The Australian, 6 October 1982.

[80].      K Hepworth, ‘Scots may go home’, The Courier Mail, 21 September 1982.

[81].      ’Qld dips in for the swimmers’, The Courier Mail, 2 September 1982.

[82].      ‘The deadweight drag on the Games’, The Australian, 6 October 1982.

[83].      One report claims the Canadians saw the Games ‘as Canada versus Australia, with others participating’, B Wilson, ‘Newsweek: shame Games’, The Courier Mail, 5 October 1982.

[84].      N Maher, ‘Raelene rebuke’, The Sunday Mail, 17 October 1982.

[85].      A Stone, ‘Games organisers score gold with big profit predicted’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 12 October 1982.

[86].      P Molloy, ‘New roads, full shops, smell of a boom’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 9 October 1982.

[87].      PG Lynch and RC Jensen, ‘The economic impact of the XII Commonwealth Games on the Brisbane region’, Urban Policy and Research: a Guide to Urban Affairs, 2, 3, 1984.

[88].      Ibid.

[89].      B Stoddart, ‘Why Empire’s gold has a hollow ring’, The Age, 14 October 1982.

[90].      Melbourne Commonwealth Games 2006: our bid, Melbourne Commonwealth Games 2006 Bid Candidature Committee, 1996.

[91].      Ibid and F Millar, ‘Contest’, The Age, November 2001, accessed 21 August 2013.

[92].      A Carswell, ‘Funds and Games: Commonwealth Games’, Australian CPA, August 2003, accessed 21 August 2013.

[93].      Ibid.

[94].      Ibid.

[95].      Melbourne 2006 website, ‘New home for Karak’, Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Corporation, accessed 15 August 2013.

[96].      Karak: Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo,, accessed 15 August 2013.

[97].      Melbourne 2006 website, ‘Festival Melbourne’, Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Corporation, accessed 15 August 2013.

[98].      Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, Melbourne 2006 XVIII Commonwealth Games Environment Report Card: WaterWise, Carbon Neutral, Low Waste, October 2006, accessed 21 August 2013.

[99].      K Davidson, ‘Parkville is no place to billet visiting athletes’, The Age, 8 August 2002, accessed 15 August 2013.

[100].     A Carson and S Finlay, ‘is this the place for a village?’, The Age, 23 August 2001, accessed 15 August 2013.

[101].     Ibid.

[102].     R Millar, ‘Games village plan branded “primitive”’, The Age, 27 May 2003, p. 2, accessed 15 August 2013.

[103].     K Davidson, ‘Melbourne’s Games village is all wrong’, The Age, 20 February 2003, p. 17, accessed 15 August 2013.

[104].     Ibid.

[105].     A Keenan,’Bracks Games plan risks safe seat’, The Australian, 24 October 2002, accessed 15 August 2013.

[106].     Commonwealth Games Planning Advisory Committee (Games village), Advisory Committee Report, June 2003, accessed 15 August 2013.

[107].     R Millar and P Ker, ‘Vow on Games village broken’, The Age, 5 February 2005, p. 2, accessed 15 August 2013.

[108].     P Ker, ‘Games village get the judges’ nod’, The Age, 8 April 2005, p. 6, accessed 15 August 2013.

[109].     K Gibbs, ‘Place for a village’, The Age, 21 November 2005, p. 4, accessed 15 August 2013.

[110].     Auditor General Victoria, Results of 30 June 2005 financial statement and other audits December 2005, accessed 15 August 2013. This figure largely comprised of expected revenues from the sale of: houses ($28.2 million), apartments ($34.0 million), heritage precinct apartments and townhouses ($13.6 million), demountable housing ($3.7 million) and other (land payments, aged care precinct) ($1.5 million).

[111].     Auditor General Victoria, Auditor-General’s report on the annual financial report of the State of Victoria: 2005-06, September 2006, accessed 16 August 2013.

[112].     Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), Annual report: 2005–06, Canberra, accessed 5 September 2013.

[113].     Ibid.

[114].     The Australian Government provided an appropriation of $334,000 to implement the Games’ Doping Control Program: $103,900 for off-shore testing arrangements, $145,100 for sample collection in Australia and $85,000 for project management, ASADA, Annual report, op. cit.

[115].     ASADA, Annual report 2005–06, op. cit.

[116].     ASADA, Annual report: 2006–07, Canberra, accessed 5 September 2013.

[117].     ASADA, Annual report 2005–06, op. cit.

[118].     M Casey, ‘Agencies unite for the Games’, Platypus: the Journal of the Australian Federal Police, 89, December 2005, accessed 12 September 2013.

[119].     D Hoare, ‘Melbourne Commonwealth Games security scrutinised’, The World Today, transcript, ABC, 20 September 2005, accessed 12 September 2013.

[120].     ‘Mercury rises in Games mock terror threat’,, 20 October 2005, accessed 12 September 2013.

[121].     S Phillips, ‘Our Games fortress’, The Herald Sun, 24 February 2005, p. 1, accessed 12 September 2013.

[122].     ‘Strong military presence for Commonwealth Games in Australia, Radio Australia’, 6 December 2005, accessed 12 September 2013.

[123].     ‘Terror attack authentic’,, 12 September 2005, accessed 12 September 2013.

[124].     ‘Athletes 'go missing from Games', BBC News, 23 March 2006, accessed 5 September 2013.

[125].     ‘Visas for second group of athletes’, The, 22 March 2006, accessed 5 September 2013.

[126].     A Sharwood, ‘Running for his life’, Alpha, May 2007, accessed 5 September 2013.

[127].     ‘Runaway athletes in talks over visas’, The Age, 13 April 2006, p. 7, accessed 5 September 2013. At least one of the six became an Australian citizen according to an ABC report in 2012 which described the athlete’ demand to be paid to participate in a qualifying event for the London Olympics, S Donovan, ‘Koum may compete despite cash demand’, transcript, Radio National, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), 13 June 2012, accessed 12 September 2013.

[128].     ABC, ‘Mismatches and amusing moments typify Games’, Melbourne Games blog, 27 March 2006, accessed 5 September 2013.

[129].     Ibid.

[130].     Ibid.

[131].     Ibid.

[132].     Melbourne 2006 website, Results pages, accessed 16 August 2013.

[133].     Auditor General Victoria, Auditor general’s report 2005–06, op. cit.

[134].     Australian Government, Part 2: expense measures’, Budget measures: budget paper no: 2: 2011–02, accessed 16  August 2013.

[135].     See  two views on these rules at: S Bolton, ‘Howard’s lies on industrial relations ”reforms”’, Green Left Weekly, 20  July 2005 and ‘Industrial relations ; the Howard years’, 4 July 2008, Henry Thornton weblog, 4 July 2008, both accessed 16 September 2013.

[136].     H Ewert, ‘Victorian Govt rejects federal funding for MCG renovations’, The 7.30 Report, transcript, ABC, 18 June 2002, accessed 16 August 2013.

[137].     Ibid.

[138].     D Rood, ‘MCG funding falloutThe Age, (online edition), 6 June 2002, accessed 16 August 2013.

[139].     D Broadbent, ‘Auslink a hard road for unions’, The Sunday Age, 21 November 2004, accessed 20 September 2013.

[140].     L Johnson, ‘Victoria after federal Games cash’, The Age, 5 August 2002, accessed 20 September 2013.

[141].     Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts (DCITA), Australian Government support for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth (M2006) Games, 6 February 2008, accessed 16 August 2013.

[142].     G Hughes and P Ker, ‘Federal MPs go for gold in the Games publicity race’, The Age, 10 June 2005, p. 3, accessed 16  August 2013.

[143].     Commonwealth Games Taskforce, Australian Government: support for the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games,  DCITA, n. d., accessed 16 August 2013.

[144].     KPMG, Economic impact study of the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games: post-event analysis, (report prepared for the Office of Commonwealth Games Coordination), October 2006, accessed 16 August 2013.

[145].     Ibid.

[146].     The report cites Quantum Market Research as the source of these figures, KPMG, op. cit.

[147].     Ibid.

[148].     Ibid.

[149].     Ibid.

[150].     Ibid. Note KPMG added that ‘many of the employment opportunities manifest as increases in over-time or in short term casual positions. Accordingly, incorporated within the 13,600 FTE jobs, it is estimated that there were over 22,000 employment opportunities created in 2006 alone (most of which were casual positions or overtime.

[151].     Ibid.

[152].     Insight Economics, Triple bottom line assessment of the XVIII Commonwealth Games, (report to the Office of Commonwealth Games Coordination), October 2006, accessed 16 August 2013.

[153].     Ibid.

[154].     Ibid.

[155].     Ibid.

[156].     Ibid.

[157].     Ibid.

[158].     A Caldwell, ‘Accolades for Melbourne Games flow in’, AM, transcript, ABC, 27 March 2006, accessed 21 August 2013.

[159].     Insight Economics, Triple bottom line assessment, op. cit.

[160].     Gold Coast City, [Commonwealth Games] Candidate City file: 2018, Volume 1, accessed 21 August 2013.

[161].     M Peters,’$1.9 billion reasons why it’s game on’, Gold Coast Business News, 9 February 2011, accessed 22 August 2013.

[162].     M Stell, ‘Candidate cities and the Commonwealth Games—the limits of aspiration’, in S Dun, M Kalaji and M Stell (eds), It’s how you play the game, Interdisciplinary Press, 2013, accessed 21 August.

[163].     CGF, 2018 Commonwealth Games candidature: report of the CGF Evaluation Commission: Gold Coast, Hambantota, accessed 19 August 2018. The vote was Gold Coast 43 and Hambantota 27. Following its loss in 2011 Hambantota suggested that it may bid again for the 2022 Games, T Degum, ‘Hambantota may bid again for Commonwealth Games after Gold Coast defeat’, Inside the Games website, 12 November 2011, accessed 21 August 2013.

[164].     ‘Gold Coast toasts Games coup’, Sunday Tasmanian, 13 November 2011, p. 2, accessed 21 August 2013.

[165].     Gold Coast Games information page, Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) website, accessed 21 August 2013.

[166].     Gold Coast City, Candidate City File, op. cit. Bid book costing was in GBPs. This figure has been converted using one Australian dollar equalling 0.63 GBP.

[167].     Gold Coast bid book, op. cit.

[168].      L Arden, ‘2018 Commonwealth Games logo unveiled’, Gold Coast Bulletin, 4 April 2013, accessed 21 August 2013.

[169].     S Willoughby, ‘Coast Games ripped off by Feds’, Gold Coast Bulletin, 1 March 2012, accessed 21 August 2013.

[170].     S Willoughby and L Ardern, ‘Government not playing the game for 2018, Gold Coast bulletin, 9 May 2012 accessed 21 August 2013.

[171].     M Ludlow and M Whitbourn, .‘Leaders fume over no funding Infrastructure’, The Australian Financial Review, 10 May 2012, p. 26, accessed 21 August 2013.

[172].     A Alabanese (Minister for Infrastructure and Transport), Budget provides historic investment In rail, media release, 12  May 2012, accessed 21 August 2013.

[173].     L Ardern,’ Federal Coalition promises $100m for Games’, Gold Coast Bulletin, 27 July 2012, accessed 21 August 2013.

[174].     Ibid.

[175].     Ibid.

[176].     Gold Coast 2018 Bid Committee, ‘Gold Coast set to shine with 2018 Commonwealth Games’, media release, 12  November 2011, accessed 21 August 2013.

[177].     T Nicholls (Treasurer and Minister for Trade) and J Stuckey, (Queensland Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games ), Newman Government maintains commitment to Commonwealth Games, joint media release, 11 September 2012, accessed 21 August 2013.

[178].     Ibid.

[179].     Queensland State Budget, Gold Coast Regional Budget Statement 2013–14, accessed 22 August 2013.

[180].     Gold Coast, Candidate City file, op. cit.

[181].     M Silk, ‘State government, Gold Coast Council to fund Games’, 10 November 2012, Brisbane Times, accessed 22  August 2013.

[182].     S Willoughby, ‘State backs out of Games land deal’, Gold Coast Bulletin, 12 April 2013, accessed 22 August 2013.

[183].     Queensland Commission of Audit, ‘Risks and contingent liabilities’, Interim report, June 2012, accessed 29 August 2013.

[184].     Ibid.

[186].     G Christian, ‘Disquiet after Perth game bid rejected’ The West Australian, 28 July 1984.

[187].     D March, ‘Perth lodges bid for 1998 Games’, The West Australian, 20 May 1986.

[188].     ‘Funding offer’, The Age, 4 December 1991.

[189].     Source of quote: ‘Can we lift the Games?’, The Adelaide Advertiser, 21 March 2006, p. 19 accessed 28 August 2013 and W Smith. ‘Threat to SA bid on ’98 Games’ The Advertiser, 5 February 1990.

[190].     G Scholes ‘Adelaide angry at loss of 1998 Games’, The Canberra Times, 23 July 1992.

[191].     D Miller, ‘Games saved by choosing Malaysia’, The Australian, 23 July 1992.

[192].     G Cooke, ‘ACT Commonwealth Games bid is ”as good as dead”’, The Canberra Times, 18 August 1992.

[193].     Ibid and note: from at least 1985 Sydney had been considering staging either the .Commonwealth Games (in 1994) or the Olympics.

[194].     Editorial, ‘Economic hurdles too big to think about games [sic]’, The Age, 22 March 1993.

[195].     ‘”Tasteless’ Tunstall hits out on disabled’, The Canberra Times, 17 August 1994.

[196].     David MacFarlane quoted in ‘Tunstall’s remarks damage Adelaide’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 August 1994. The Games in Auckland in 1990 cost $65 million, whereas the Victoria Games cost $160 million.

[197].     C le Grand, ‘Joint games bid given little chance’, The Australian, 24 January 1996.

[198].     M Fyfe, ‘Details of Games bid secret, says committee’, The Age, 15 June 1996.

[199].     D Reardon and M Quekett, ‘Humiliation as WA bid is disqualified’, The West Australian, 8 August 1996, p. 3.

[200].     L Martin, ‘Melbourne wins the first contest to host the Games’, The Age, 19 October 1996.

[201].     M Magazanik and D Stewart, ‘Retreating Wellington puts boot in Kennett’, The Australian, 12 February 1999, p. 6.

[202].     ‘Auditor slams Delhi Commonwealth Games preparations’, BBC News (South Asia), 5 August 2011, accessed 11 September 2013.

[203].     The World Bank, which defines poverty as survival on less than $1.25 per day, reports reduction in poverty in India from that affecting 60 per cent of the population in 1981 to 42 percent in 2005. Those in poverty in 2010 represented approximately 30 per cent of the population of around 400 million people. World Bank data, accessed 11 September 2013 and ‘Indian poverty levels fall to 29.8%–gov’t (sic)’, Inquirer Business, 19 March 2013, accessed 11 September 2013.

[204].     Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN), Planned dispossession: forced evictions and the 2010 Commonwealth Games: fact-finding mission report 14, New Delhi, February 2011, accessed 13 September 2013.

[205].     P Han, ‘Hard evidence of child labour at 2010 Commonwealth Games’, CNN, 24 September 2010, accessed 13 September 2013 and M Basu and A Gupta, Violation of labour laws at the Commonwealth Games Construction sites continues unabated, Peoples Union for Democratic Rights, n.d., accessed 13 September 2013.

[206].     HLRC, Planned dispossession, op. cit.

[207].     Central Vigilance Commission, Commonwealth Games works inspected, no date given but dates of inspection in contained in the report, accessed 13 September 2013.

[208].     S Rai, ‘Commonwealth Games mar New Delhi’s image’, Global Post, 17 August 2010, accessed 13 September 2013.

[209].     Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Audit report on XIXth Commonwealth Games, Report no. 6 of 2010–11, accessed 13 September 2013.

[210].     ‘India admits 2010 Games problems’, BBC News, South Asia, 15 September 2009, accessed 13 September 2013.

[211].     ‘Delhi Games village ”unfit for athletes”’, BBC News, South Asia, 21 September 2010, accessed 13 September 2013.

[213].     Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Audit report, op. cit.

[214].     At the time of writing, this case has yet to be decided.

[215].     ‘Sport corruption: India’s ex Olympic Games boss pleads not guilty’, Global Times, 2 April 2013, accessed 13 September 2013.

[216].     E Randolph, ‘Two shot in attack on Delhi mosque’, The National, 20 September 2010, accessed 13 September 2013.

[217].     ‘New Zealand admit Commonwealth Games security concerns’, BBC Sport, 13 September 2010, accessed 13 September 2013.

[218].     P Ker, M Wade and D Oakes, ‘Delhi in frantic bid to save Games’, The Age, 24 September 2010, accessed 13 September 2013.

[219].     ‘Auditor slams Delhi Commonwealth Games preparations’, BBC News, South Asia, 5 August 2011, accessed 13 September 2013.

[220].     Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Audit report, op. cit.

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