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8 October 2020


Independent Senator Rex Patrick has called for Australia to boycott the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games. 

“The Australian Government needs to move without delay to announce an Australian boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, an event that will be a massive propaganda spectacle for the Chinese Communist Government,” Senator Patrick said. 

“It would be morally wrong for Australia to participate in an event that will be used to legitimise the Chinese Communist regime’s gross violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms.” 

“British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab this week condemned the ‘egregious human rights abuses’ committed by the Chinese Government against the Uyghur people in Western China; atrocities that the US president candidate Joe Biden has labelled as ‘genocide’.”

“The Chinese Government has forced upwards of one million Uyghurs into internment camps, subjecting them to political indoctrination and pressuring them to relinquish their language, culture and religion. Reports of torture and other brutalities are widespread.”

“Researchers at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute have meticulously documented evidence of the Chinese authorities subjecting Uyghurs to forced labour.”  

“Elsewhere across China President Xi has cracked down on free expression of opinion, employing the Ministry of State Security to harass, detain and prosecute any person seen to express dissent.”

“We have seen the effective end of the special status of Hong Kong through the use of a new national security law to crush democratic freedoms of the Territory. 

“China has also cracked down on the international media and engaged in what amounts to state directed hostage taking. At least two Australian citizens are among foreign nationals held in arbitrary detention, facing trumped up “national security” charges.  

“The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s travel advice now warns that Australians in China are at serious risk of arbitrary detention under that country’s harsh national security laws.”

“In these circumstances it would be imprudent and morally unsustainable for Australia to participate in the Beijing Winter Olympics.”

“Yesterday, however, when I asked the Minister for Youth and Sport, Senator Richard Colbeck, whether the Australian Government would support a boycott, the Minister said he favoured keeping sport and politics separate and then duckshoved sole responsibility onto the Australian Olympic Committee.” 

“What is needed here is leadership”, Senator Patrick said. 

“The Australian Government should be conferring with the Australian Olympic Committee and the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia to bring about an Australian boycott of the Beijing Games.” 

“Foreign Minister Senator Marise Payne should be contacting her counterparts in other Western democracies to encourage those countries to boycott the Games. Sports Minister Colbeck should be doing likewise with his counterparts. 

“The Australian Government should move without delay so that Australia’s winter Olympic athletes will know where they stand, and that appropriate financial support can be provided to the Australian Olympic Committee and the Winter Olympic Institute.” 

“Our athletes should not be asked to compete at an event that will promote a Communist Government engaged in genocide,” Senator Patrick said. 

The text of a speech Senator Patrick made in the Senate on Tuesday evening can be found here.

The text of Senator Patrick’s question to Sports Minister Colbeck on Wednesday can be found here.