‘Be honest with me’: Hanson’s Today Show blow-up

 

Senator Pauline Hanson has voiced her objection to Queensland's 2032 Olympics bid, calling it a complete waste of money that won't give the people in the state what they need most.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced last month Queensland will chase the hosting rights for the 2032 Games as part of a South East Queensland joint bid, featuring facilities across Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

Brisbane hosted the 1982 Commonwealth Games and the Gold Coast hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2018 - but the Olympics is another dramatic step up.

Ms Hanson said budget blowouts so often associated with hosting the Olympics and the fact Queensland has more pressing issues to deal with like water supply means the government shouldn't be splashing cash for the world's biggest sporting event.

"It is estimated to cost about $8.9 billion to hold the Olympics. This has always blown out. Can we afford it? No, we can't," Ms Hanson said on Channel 9's Today this morning.

"We can't afford it because we can't even afford water for Queensland.

"I have got townships, Stanthorpe, no water. You can't tell me that we can afford to put on the Olympics."

Today co-host Karl Stefanovic suggested while it may cost a lot to host the Olympics, the economic benefits that come with it may be enough of a reason to go ahead with a bid.

"This is an opportunity, while it may cost a lot, this is an opportunity to bring millions and potentially billions of dollars from outside Australia into our economy," Stefanovic said.

But Ms Hanson wasn't buying it, saying the Commonwealth Games in 2018 weren't as successful as expected.

Pauline Hanson is completely against Queensland hosting the Olympics.
Pauline Hanson is completely against Queensland hosting the Olympics.

"It didn't work. Look at the Commonwealth Games that we had in Queensland. They were flat out selling tickets to it and they were trying to give tickets away," Ms Hanson said. "It was a failure as far as I am concerned.

"Businesses on the Gold Coast and people actually complained because they didn't have the people coming in to support their businesses. The locals were … not happy with it at all.

"The fact is we are talking about 12 years down the track. If we have a debt in Queensland of $90 billion now, we have incompetent governments and they have no regard for taxpayers in this state and where the money goes.

"As far as I am concerned we don't need it here in Queensland. I have spoken to people in rural and regional areas of Queensland. They don't want it, they won't get the benefits out of it. They are sick and tired of seeing everything going to South East Queensland.

"It is not fair on the state, it's not fair on the people in rural and regional areas.

"I just think it's not right."

Stefanovic questioned whether Ms Hanson's anti-Olympics stance was motivated by a grab for votes, knowing her position would appeal to One Nation supporters. She denied that was the case, saying she was simply doing what's best for the state and emphasising the need to address more pressing concerns.

"Karl, don't you think I have always been straight up with the people regardless whether there is votes in it," she replied.

"Have I really said anything that I am looking where my votes are going to come from? Come on. Be honest with me? I say it the way that I see it and I call it that way. I am telling you this is not right for Queensland.

"We can't provide decent health care, and (Queensland has a) lack of teachers in rural and regional areas. The roads are absolutely atrocious … and we can't provide water to townships. They are running out of the water.

"I'm sorry, this is more important to me to get these things right and if the state government can't do that now and the federal government, then what is the sense of putting on the Olympics which is going to cost us $12.5 billion?"

Hosting the Olympics is a huge risk.
Hosting the Olympics is a huge risk.

Securing the Olympic hosting rights is one of the biggest gambles in modern sport. Recently, Tokyo 2020's preparations have been overshadowed by public angst surrounding a budget blowout.

Having initially bid for the 2020 Olympics with modelling of a total 700 billion yen ($US6.5b) budget, the cost to host the event has risen to more than $US12.5b. The IOC is providing just $US1.6 billion.

The most recent Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro were also an economic disaster for host country Brazil. Many facilities used for the 2016 event have fallen into disrepair or been abandoned, including the swimming and diving centre.

The main stadium, the Maracana Stadium, recently had its power cut off because of a bill dispute between the IOC and the local government.

According to reports the host city saw almost no economic boost following the Games and the cost of the event made the state of Rio de Janeiro late in paying teachers, hospital workers, and government employee pensions.



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