A Sporting Life
In Australia's sporting life, anything is possible. If it
involves competition, Australians will compete in it, or watch
it, or even gamble on it. It has been that way from the start.
Australians are not seduced simply by newer sports, like rollerblading
and BASE jumping. They are impressed not only by traditional
sports with passionate fans around the globe like football
(soccer). Their enthusiasm is not restricted only to sports
defined by the country's climate and environment, like swimming
and surfing. In Australia, sport encompasses all those activities
and many more.
Australia has more than 6.5 million registered players of
organised sports and 1.5 million volunteers involved in sport
and recreational activities. Australia sport is based on over
30 000 local clubs, each of which focuses on a single sport.
The clubs are run for and by their members, and many are affiliated
with one of more than 100 national sporting organisations.
Professional clubs exist outside this system in the four football
codes, basketball and cricket.
Sport accounts for about eight per cent of Australia's gross
domestic product, and all levels of government spend a total
of over a billion dollars on sporting activities, mainly to
support amateur sport.
-- gambling on sporting contests -- is also part of Australian
culture. Gambling is legal at Totalisation Agency Boards (TABs)
and through racecourse bookmakers. The Melbourne Cup horse
race brings workplaces throughout Australia to a stop for
a few minutes on the first Tuesday every November.
The previous was an excerpt from the Australia
in brief; 2000 publication put out by the Australian Ministry
for Foreign Affairs and Trade. Reprinted with permission.
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