Plum seats for Chelsea Clinton, Bill Gates

Published: Wednesday, August 9, 2000, 18:23 [IST]

Move aside, Mr Megabucks. The Taylors are coming to town and, by order of the Premier of New South Wales, they're lined up for plum seats at the Olympics opening ceremony.

The Premier Bob Carr's invitation to the Taylors had its origin in his recent visit to their flood-bound home in the outback. The family had been flooded in for about two months but Timothy Taylor, 9, was keeping up with education via wireless and telephone.

Timothy had told Carr that, if he really was the premier, he should be able to help him get a ticket to the Games. There was that sort of embarrassed laugh from parents, Tammi and Alan Taylor, and no further thought about it until the invitation to the corporate box came from the Carr office a couple of months later.

"Tough times and remote location meant the Olympics was not something we ever thought we'd get to," she said. Timothy and his brother Andrew, 13, will make the 1,000-km road journey to Sydney to accompany their parents to the Games.

That's left the state government's hospitality crew shuffling the deck to see which VIPs from global business and overseas politics get the flick from its 40-seat corporate box at the Homebush Bay stadium to make way for the outback battlers.

When it comes to Olympic seating first off the rank, the government insists, will be representatives of companies most likely to make big investments inNSW.

It is unclear, for instance, whether Bill Gates will be getting an invitation in the mail, although this seems very likely.

There is pressure, too, to find seats for the United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and Chelsea Clinton, who will be representing the US President's family.

The stadium box and one superdome suite were included as part of the State Government's Games contribution and come at no extracharge.

The Federal government is spending Australian $ 360,000 on a 20-seat stadium box and an 18-seat suite at the superdome.

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