Dan Andrews may have killed the British Empire. Hopefully, opines managing editor Michelle Pini, it's really rather long overdue.
NO ONE gets the shock jocks, Murdoch rags and outraged keyboard warriors frothing at the mouth quite like Victorian Premier Dan Andrews.
Damned if he does and excoriated if he doesn’t, this week, Dan has again incensed all of the above. How dare he cancel the British Empire Games from our deserving colonial outpost? What was he thinking saving billions of dollars? Doesn’t he realise we must keep doing things in the same way they’ve always been done, even if it bankrupts us?
What a spoil-sport!
Enter stage Right, the following choice samples:
‘”Played by a conman,” Dan Tehan raged about Andrews on Sky.
'Commonwealth Games 2026: Why Dan Andrews and the woke mob will never kill the Comm Games,' declared the Herald Sun sagely.
But perhaps the best example of Andrews’ ability to fire up the shock jocks comes via this typically inane commentary from Neil Mitchell who can be heard here pressuring Andrews to cancel the Commonwealth Games.
And then yesterday, demanding that Andrews answer over the calamity of, you guessed it, cancelling the Commonwealth Games.
“This is mismanagement at a new level,” cried a disgusted Mitchell, though it was unclear if he was referring to the Victorian Government or 3AW's tolerance for his own conduct as a shock jock host.
Of course, the Andrews Government did agree to host the ill-fated Games, though, admittedly, only after Kuala Lumpur, Cardiff, Calgary, Edmonton and Adelaide all withdrew due to cost concerns, leaving Victoria as the only candidate still standing.
But after agreeing to host the hot potato games no one else wanted to handle, pulling out is rarely an effective method – even for conducting international affairs – and this announcement could have been more timely.
Then again, there are the changed economic conditions fuelling inflation and soaring cost of living post-COVID, which have apparently forced the budget blowout.
As Andrews explained:
When the Commonwealth Games needed a host city to step in at the last minute, we were willing to help – but not at any price, and not without a big lasting benefit for regional Victoria.
Now the choice couldn’t be clearer — $6 billion is just too much.
"I will not take money out of hospitals and schools in order to fund an event that is three times the cost estimated and budgeted for last year,” the Premier added.
In place of ditching the games, the Andrews Government is offering a '$2 billion package to ensure regional Victoria still receives all the benefits that would have been facilitated by the Games...including a $1 billion Regional Housing Fund to build 1,300 new homes across regional Victoria.'
Australia does traditionally perform well over the other, often poverty-stricken, Commonwealth nations at the Empire Games, but is this worth Victoria or any other state forking out an estimated $6 billion? Well, remember all those special moments when we won medals at the 2022 Commonwealth Games? No, neither can we.
The British Empire Games were introduced as an important ritual aligning Australia and other colonies with the mother country.
But at a time when families are struggling to put food on the table, with many not even having a roof under which they can put a table, would the end of the British Empire Games be such a catastrophe?
Naturally, we are saddened for fellow sportspeople excited about competing in the Games and those sports preparing and budgeting for this eventuality while recognising that in a rising cost of living crisis, there are many who need support.
As proud Australians fighting for our independence, however, it is particularly interesting that such a decision can be made, which was once unthinkable.
Today, it’s hard to argue in favour of funding an antiquated sporting event over much-needed hospitals and schools and regional development, for a competition once described by Jamaican sprinting record holder Usain Bolt as “a bit shit”.
While Downing Street said it hopes a “viable solution” can be found for the 2026 Commonwealth Games to be held in Australia, a spokesperson for the British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak dismissed suggestions of Britain hosting the event at home as “getting slightly ahead of ourselves”.
As Craig Foster and Nova Peris told IA:
Australia's demography, identity and place in the world has fundamentally changed since the Commonwealth Games was invented as the British Empire Games in 1930 and while many are aggrieved at the loss of an opportunity to play and watch sport, few are concerned at the impact on the relationship with our existing Head of State.
If even the mother country won't entertain the idea of funding this emblem of its ancient declining empire, perhaps the British Empire Games have really had their day.
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You can follow Michelle Pini on Twitter @vmp9 and Independent Australia on Twitter @independentaus and Facebook HERE.
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