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senate vote 2020-02-24#5

Edited by mackay

on 2020-03-06 13:32:32


  • Bills — Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment (Sport Integrity Australia) Bill 2019; Second Reading
  • Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment (Sport Integrity Australia) Bill 2019 - Second Reading - Accountability


  • <p class="speaker">Carol Brown</p>
  • <p>The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment (Sport Integrity Australia) Bill would establish a new Australian government agency, to be known as Sport Integrity Australia, to protect the integrity of Australian sport. Well might my colleagues scoff and those opposite cringe when the words 'sport' and 'integrity' are mentioned in the same sentence in this place. It is ironic, and no doubt more than a little awkward, for the government to be talking about integrity in sport. We are all aware of the shocking revelations of the past month. First, it was Senator McKenzie's sports rorts scandal and now we've got the sequel, which I've heard described as 'sports rorts 2&#8212;look who's rorting now'. But while integrity might not be something that the Morrison government takes seriously in relation to itself, it is an issue that is very serious for Australia's sports sector.</p>
  • <p>The new agency that will be established by this legislation will bring together a range of sports integrity functions that are currently the responsibility of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, ASADA, the National Integrity of Sport Unit and Sport Australia. The establishment of such an agency was a key recommendation of the 2018 review of Australia's sports integrity arrangements, known as the Wood review. It recommended the establishment of:</p>
  • The majority voted against an [amendment]( to the usual [second reading motion](, which means it failed. The usual second reading motion is "that the bill be read for a second time", which is parliamentary jargon for agreeing with the main idea of the bill. The amendment was introduced by Victorian Senator [Janet Rice]( (Greens).
  • ### Motion text
  • > *At the end of the motion, add "but the Senate:*
  • >
  • > *(a) notes that:*
  • >
  • >> *(i) the provision of adequate sporting infrastructure will assist Sports Integrity Australia in meeting its education and outreach goals,*
  • >>
  • >> *(ii) an evaluation of the Community Sport Infrastructure Program by the Australian National Audit Office found that 'the award of funding reflected the approach documented by the Minister's Office of focusing on 'marginal' electorates held by the Coalition as well as those electorates held by other parties or independent members that were to be 'targeted' by the Coalition at the 2019 Election. Applications from projects located in those electorates were more successful in being awarded funding than if funding was allocated on the basis of merit assessed against the published program guidelines', and*
  • >>
  • >> *(iii) the Government, including the former Minister for Sport, has not displayed ethics and values that promote community confidence in sport; and*
  • >
  • > *(b) calls on the Government to provide an honest, comprehensive account of the role the Prime Minister's office played in allocating these grants".*
  • <p class="italic">&#8230; a National Sports Integrity Commission to cohesively draw together and develop existing sports integrity capabilities, knowledge and expertise, and to nationally coordinate all elements of the sports integrity threat response including prevention, monitoring and detection, investigation and enforcement.</p>
  • <p>This bill seeks to implement the government's response to that recommendation.</p>
  • <p>The review of Australia's sports integrity arrangements was announced in August 2017 by the then Minister for Sport, Mr Greg Hunt. The review panel was chaired by the Hon. James Wood, a former justice of the New South Wales Supreme Court and a former chairman of the Law Reform Commission of New South Wales. Senator McKenzie, who took over the portfolio from Mr Hunt, received the Wood review in March 2018 and released the government's response to the review in February 2019. Senator Colbeck is now the Minister for Youth and Sport and it is his job to implement the government's response to the Wood review. It is a detailed and extensive review&#8212;nearly 300 pages and it contains 52 recommendations. The government has been cooperative in facilitating briefings by departmental officials on both the Wood review and on various aspects of the proposed response to its recommendations.</p>
  • <p>The work done through the review process builds on Labor's establishment of the National Integrity of Sport Unit in 2012 and its strengthening of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's powers in 2013. In government, Labor recognised the need to evaluate the effectiveness of Australia's sports integrity measures and to upgrade and update them when needed in order to address changing environments and new threats. Protecting Australia's sports integrity is a goal that has bipartisan support. Labor intends to continue that bipartisan approach by supporting the establishment of Sport Integrity Australia through these bills.</p>
  • <p>I want to talk about why it is important that governments invest in protecting the integrity of sport. Sport is an integral part of our way of life in Australia, whether it be through supporting local, state and national teams from the stands or from our living rooms, taking the kids to school or junior club sport or swimming lessons, pulling on the boots or strapping on the pads as a weekend warrior at the grassroots level, or training hard and striving to compete at the elite level. Most Australians have a connection to sport in some way, the value of which is enormous: exercise through physical activity and all the health benefits that it brings; bringing people together, which builds and strengthens communities; family time; and the benefits to local, state and national economies from sporting events.</p>
  • <p>According to the Intergenerational Review of Australian Sport 2017, more than 90 per cent of Australian adults have an interest in sport, with 8.4 million adults and three million children participating in sport each year. That report also revealed that the sports sector's contribution to the Australian economy was equivalent to two to three per cent of GDP, employing more than 220,000 people, and attracting 1.8 million volunteers&#8212;Australia's largest volunteer sector. The work that those volunteers do is invaluable. Without them, most of the opportunities for Australians to participate in sport and to enjoy its health benefits wouldn't exist. Volunteering in sport, as in other sectors, is a labour of love. If those volunteers lose their love of sport because it is tainted by doping, match fixing or other integrity threats, our nation risks losing that huge and immensely important volunteer contribution. Labor commends every one of those volunteers for the huge and valuable contribution they make to Australian communities and society.</p>
  • <p>Unfortunately, the Morrison government has treated those very same volunteers with complete contempt. In many cases, club volunteers put hundreds of hours into preparing grant applications to the Community Support and Infrastructure Grants Program, but they are still waiting on an apology from Senator McKenzie and Mr Scott Morrison for snubbing their meritorious applications so that they could run an industrial-scale pork-barrelling scheme. Just as threats to the integrity of sport can leave volunteers and workers disillusioned, so too can a total lack of integrity from government.</p>
  • <p>However, we must progress efforts to protect the integrity of Australian sport, even as the Morrison government makes a mockery of integrity in government. We must progress, because we know, through studies like the <i>Intergenerational review of Australian sport </i>and others, that sport can make a major contribution to our health and wellbeing. Participation in sport can play an important role in an active, healthy lifestyle, combating obesity and physical inactivity. For our children, sport improves outcomes in core academic fields and also teaches life skills and improves retention. Sport brings people together like few sectors can and is a rich source of social capital. And success on the international stage builds national pride and reinforces Australia's international reputation for excellence in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.</p>
  • <p>There's never a shortage of great Aussie sporting success stories. Over the weekend our brilliant Australian women's cricket team recorded yet another win. The Bushfire Bash has reportedly raised $7 million for fire-impacted communities, on top of the $2 million that Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers' Association have committed. Ash Barty is No. 1 in the world. I could go on.</p>
  • <p>Returning to why we must protect the integrity of Australian sport, I note that every time we hear a good-news story like the ones I've just mentioned it enhances the reputation of Australian sport and our love for it. But every time we hear reports of doping in sport, or when we hear reports of match fixing, it damages and devalues sport's reputation and our love for it. Labor, in government, was proactive in deploying measures to protect against these and other threats to the integrity of sport in Australia. But those threats evolved, and so must Australia's protection measures.</p>
  • <p>This bill seeks to implement an important part of the first stage of Australia's response to the 52 recommendations of the Wood review. To paraphrase the review's report, a centrally coordinated response to sport integrity issues will help overcome the silo effect that currently exists, with multiple bodies, including NSOs, law enforcement and regulatory agencies engaged in protecting sport from threats. The review also noted that the difficulties in securing a coordinated response is compounded by our federated system, in which there are often differences in state, territory and federal regulatory and criminal laws. And, as I mentioned in my remarks on the National Sports Tribunal Bill 2019 in this place last year, the need for measures to strengthen Australia's sport integrity arrangements is something Labor recognised and acted on in government. The establishment of Sport Integrity Australia, through this bill, is yet another step towards strengthening Australia's defences against any and all threats to Australia's sports integrity. Given the value of sports to Australians, Australian society and the Australian economy, this is something that Labor supports.</p>
  • <p>Labor has worked closely with stakeholders in relation to the government's implementation of its response to the Wood review, and we will continue to do that. I note that this bill was referred to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee late last year, and the committee reported on the bill last week. Most submissions to the committee supported the establishment of Sport Integrity Australia. The Australian Olympic Committee's submission, for example, stated:</p>
  • <p class="italic">It is paramount to the integrity of sport in an increasingly complex sporting environment that there is a co-ordinated national approach against doping, matchfixing, illegal gambling, corruption and participant protection issues.</p>
  • <p>A few concerns remain, and Labor has been informed that the government, through Minister Colbeck, has undertaken to work with stakeholders to address those concerns, where possible, through implementation.</p>
  • <p>Notwithstanding those remaining concerns, the committee recommended that the Senate pass this bill. Labor will continue to engage with stakeholders to ensure that the establishment and operation of Sport Integrity Australia is done in an appropriate way and that the agency can deliver the outcomes it will be tasked with achieving. We will also continue to work to ensure the government's broader response to the recommendation of the Wood review is appropriate and as strong as possible, to protect the important role sport plays in our Australian way of life, now and into the future. Labor support the bill, and we commend the bill to the Senate.</p>
  • <p class='motion-notice motion-notice-truncated'>Long debate text truncated.</p>