In a war of words, Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate has described Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews’ decision to axe the 2026 Commonwealth Games as “un-Australian,” while the premier has said that the matter is “settled” and is ready to move on.
This follows a push by Mr. Tate for the Gold Coast to host the games after the premier cited a cost blowout of $7 billion (US$4.5 billion), up from $2.6 billion, as his reason for cancelling the event.
On Aug. 29, Mr. Tate said the saga has impacted the country’s reputation.
“Reneging is un-Australian. That’s a blight on the country’s reputation,” the Gold Coast mayor said.
“Nobody will remember who Daniel Andrews is, and they won’t remember the Victorian government. It will be that the Aussies were the ones who reneged on the 2026 Commonwealth Games.”
Additionally, Mr. Tate said he feared China would invite Pacific nations no longer able to compete at an Australia-hosted 2026 Commonwealth Games to the Asian Games in Hangzhou held late in September.
“China wants a strong presence in Oceania—they will seize this opportunity to expand the Asian Games,” he claimed.
Speaking to reporters on Aug. 31, Mr. Andrews said his government was moving on from the whole saga.
“We have closed this matter, it’s not a matter about what I’m happy or unhappy about. It’s a matter for them,” Mr. Andrews said.
“The matter has been settled, and on that basis, the Commonwealth Games authorities, I’d be confident, they’d be working hard to try and find future venues and future hosts, and I wish them well.”
Premier ‘Not Embarrassed’ if Gold Coast Hosts the Games
When asked whether or not it would be embarrassing if the Gold Coast held the Commonwealth Games, Mr. Andrews said his political opponents were the ones who should be embarrassed.
“There’s plenty of people that have embarrassed themselves this week,” he said.
“I think (Nationals Senator) Bridget McKenzie has embarrassed herself, like sports rorts McKenzie lecturing people about anything, seriously.”
On Aug. 30, at a Commonwealth Games Senate inquiry, Ms. McKenzie accused Mr. Andrews of throwing an “invisible cloak” over his employees after he told the inquiry that no Victorian government ministers or employees would be attending.
“We are about building houses, we are about getting on and getting things done, we are about making choices that are not just popular but are the right thing to do,” Mr. Andrews said.
“And we are opposed in most of that by the Liberal and National Parties.
“That’s just the way they roll. They spend every waking moment bagging Victoria, talking Victoria down.”