The Australian Open is sponsored by Emirates airline of Dubai, where homosexuality is illegal



Tennis Australia celebrated January 24th this year as Gay Pride Day. Australia has changed a lot in the past couple of generations; few now challenge the freedom of LBGT people to celebrate their diversity, and many warmly applaud them and defend their right to do so.

But the official sponsor since 2015 of the Australian Open is Emirates airline, owned by the government of Dubai. Homosexuality is illegal in Dubai and penalties for “offenders” can be very severe.

It almost defies belief that a national sporting body can accept money and sponsorship from an organization (and a country) that is deeply hostile to some of the freedoms long since enshrined in our supposedly wicked Western laws.

Other instances of large-scale two-facedness abound in our world. The winter Olympics in China are to be boycotted by Australian and allied government officialdom in reaction to the treatment of the Muslim Uyghurs and other persecuted minorities. But will that stop the Games? Of course not. The show will go on, enjoyed by athletes and spectators, with occasional messages of encouragement and sympathy for the suffering perhaps – but hey, it’s just sports, isn’t it?

It would be useful if we could blame governments for all the hypocrisy in the world, but that would actually be two-faced. Evil prevails when good men and women are silent.


David Daintree was President of Campion College (Australia’s only Catholic liberal arts college) from 2008 to 2012. In 2013 he founded and is now Director of the Christopher Dawson Centre for Cultural Studies, under the patronage of the Archbishop of Hobart.

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