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Motion: LIV Golf

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: I move:

That this council calls on the South Australian government to table in this council all documents relating to payments or agreements made to host the LIV Golf tournament, including details of money paid from the Major Events Fund or any other state government source to the proponents of the LIV Golf tournament and the Grange Golf Club.

LIV Golf has been dubbed by themselves as 'golf as you have never seen it', but by critics as golf that sportswashes the human rights abuses they do not want you to see or raise. The LIV Golf series is a large-scale effort to sportswash Saudi Arabia, using top-level sports to distract from their human rights violations.

The Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia is the major shareholder of this controversial new tour. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is Chairman of the Public Investment Fund. The Crown Prince now wants to release his Vision 2030 plan of making the country more modern and less dependent on oil money. LIV Golf puts the eyes of the world on South Australia, but do we really want South Australia to be tied to the Saudi regime when we are on that world stage, because that is actually what is happening.

By allowing LIV to happen in our state, allowing LIV to promote to the world from our state, we have condoned the actions of the Saudi regime, and what is this regime that we are giving this support to? This is a regime that executed 81 people on a single day. This is a regime that holds sham trials for child defendants. Since 2013, 15 child defendants have been executed. This is a nation of bloodshed and lies. The six bloodiest years of Saudi Arabia's recent history have all occurred under the leadership of Mohammed bin Salman and King Salman. We see LGBTIQ+ people in Saudi Arabia being targeted by laws to 'maintain public morality'. We have individuals who form community organisations subjected to grossly unfair trials and lengthy prison sentences.

This regime is the one looking for legitimacy and by welcoming LIV with open arms our Premier has tarnished our state's international reputation. He has provided Saudi Arabia with that legitimacy, all for a weekend of golf.

LIV Golf has come to South Australia after a string of states and venues refused to host them. The Royal Sydney Golf Club did not want anything to do with them. The state of Victoria and their Premier chose not to put themselves in the running, in fact to publicly declare that they were not interested in hosting an event. Tiger Woods, of course, reportedly turned down a payment in the hundreds of millions of dollars in their attempt to get him to play for them. Others saw the writing on the wall and saw LIV for what it was—a blatant attempt to sportswash the Saudi regime.

It is not just my word on this. It is the word of organisations such as Amnesty International, but I specifically draw council members' attention to Human Rights Watch, which has written to LIV asking them for information. Human Rights Watch have also revealed from the court documents they have reviewed that, in 2017, one of the Crown Prince's advisers ordered Yasir al-Rumayyan, the then Public Investment Fund's supervisor, to transfer 20 companies into the fund as part of an anti-corruption campaign. Human Rights Watch contends it is possible these companies were transferred from their owners without due process.

One of the companies transferred to the Public Investment Fund was Sky Prime Aviation, a charter jet company that owned the planes used by Saudi agents to travel to Istanbul where they then, of course, murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate. I am not sure how much more of a connection we need to see, but I note Human Rights Watch did write to LIV Golf in August 2022 urging the league to develop a strategy to mitigate the risk of laundering the reputation of the Saudi government. There has been no answer or indication that LIV Golf sought to develop such a strategy. The Crown Prince is rolling out ever more sporting events, and sponsors and our state should be insisting on human rights protections and disclosure and use the LIV Golf events to demand those human rights reforms.

We have heard our Premier, however, try to deflect by comparing this event to other investments made by the Saudi Public Investment Fund, and the difference is that the Saudi Public Investment Fund is 'the moving force behind the founding, funding, oversight and operation' of the LIV Golf tour. Its governor personally recruited players and had a hand in negotiating their contracts. The PIF owns a reported 93 per cent of LIV Golf and cannot be described as a mere investor. It is the driving force behind LIV and yet we have welcomed them here with open arms.

The Premier has blatantly refused to reveal how much taxpayers have spent funding this tournament. South Australians deserve transparency. Claims of commercial-in-confidence ring hollow when so many other places simply turned them down. The Saudi regime did not need our money. They wanted our reputation. It is now time for our South Australian government to restore our reputation around transparency and trust and disclose to this council and to the public the true cost and the true nature of this deal.

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