Australian Government's Visa Ruling Threatens Success Of 2018 Gold Coast CWG
The Australian federal government "remains unapologetic about its insistence that all athletes and officials must obtain visas to attend next year's Commonwealth Games," according to Nicole Jeffery of THE AUSTRALIAN. Games officials regard the move as the "biggest threat to the success of the Gold Coast event." The government is "defying" decades of int'l sports convention by insisting that accredited Games attendees must obtain a "temporary activity" visa via an online application. Olympic and Commonwealth Games host nations "traditionally waive visas for accredited athletes and officials" and that system was in place for the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. However, a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said on Wednesday that the government "makes no apologies" for the system put in place, arguing that it protected the Australian community and its visitors. She said that those who could not apply online could "provide a hard copy of the required visa information to GOLDOC [2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Corp.], who will then make an online application on behalf of that individual." GOLDOC CEO Mark Peters conceded Wednesday that he "did not expect the government to waive the visa requirement," with 175 days to go until the opening ceremony on April 4 (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/12).