There are many groups in our society for which I have sympathy. Homeless people. The disabled. The elderly. The mentally ill. People who are struggling financially to feed their children. People with chronic illnesses or disabilities and those caring for them. Teachers. Childcare workers. Social workers. Carers. Nurses.
If there is money being handed out, I personally believe all these people who deserve a larger chunk of the federal budget.
Olympic athletes and Olympic sporting organisations? Not so much.
Which is why I was so surprised at the reaction of Australian Olympic President John Coates last week when the independent Crawford Report into sports funding was released and presented to the government.
If your eyes are glazing over at this point, please stay with me because this isn’t actually a post about sport. That would make me glaze too. This is actually a point about something deeper. It’s about what it means to be Australian.
I have no idea how that cliched sentence found its way into this debate. Oh actually yes I do. It’s because John Coates used it to try and bolster his claim that Olympic athletes are the most needy group in Australia.
This is despite receiving $500 million of government funding since 2003.
Background: here are the top line findings of last week’s report.