13 Jun 2012

Australia considered option of NZ Games ban

9:49 am on 13 June 2012

Confidential Australian cabinet papers from 30 years ago reveal that concern about the 1981 Springbok tour was so high, it jeopardised New Zealand's participation at the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane the following year.

The documents, which have just been released, were written by Australian cabinet minister Tony Street.

The papers say one option Australia looked at was banning New Zealand from the Games if it did not call off the tour.

Another was to show low level concern which would escalate as the start of the tour approached.

Mr Street recommended the Australian Government avoid the hardline approach.

New Zealand's Prime Minister at the time, Rob Muldoon, refused to call off the Springbok tour saying politicians should not interfere in sports.

Hugh Templeton, who was a Cabinet minister in the 1980s, says Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser raised concerns with him about the tour and the possible banning from the games.

John Minto, national president of protest group HART at the time, says the papers show how isolated New Zealand was in allowing the tour to go ahead.