Thursday, 4 April 2019
Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment (Sport Integrity Australia) Bill 2019; Second Reading
That this bill be now read a second time.
Sport is an important part of Australian culture. It has shaped the Australian national identity through events such as the Ashes, the Melbourne Cup and the Australian Open. Australians have come to expect that the sports they watch and participate in are protected from threats, and while Australia has always taken a strong stance against doping, cheating and misconduct in sport, it must be acknowledged that there is more that can be done to prepare for future threats and challenges.
It is essential that the millions of Australians who participate in sport at every level—from grassroots to the elite—have full confidence their sports are better protected from external threats such as doping, drug use, match-fixing and criminal exploitation of athletes and events. Australians should be confident that they can enjoy sports environments free of abuse, discrimination and harassment.
The nature of sports corruption is evolving at an unprecedented rate due to the immense commercialisation of sport and sporting organisations and accelerating technological advancement.
Sports integrity matters are now beyond the control of any single stakeholder.
They are complex, globalised and connected, forming a complicated threat matrix exposing vulnerabilities that require a robust and nationally-coordinated response across sports, governments, regulators, the wagering industry, law enforcement and other stakeholders.
In August 2017, the government commissioned the Review of Australia's Sports Integrity Arrangements, as part of the government's ongoing development of the National Sports Plan—Sport 2030. The review panel, chaired by the Hon. James Wood AO QC, delivered the Report of the Review of Australia's Sports Integrity Arrangements (the Wood review) in early 2018.
The Wood review warns that 'without the presence of a comprehensive, effective and nationally coordinated response capability, the hard earned reputation of sport in this country risks being tarnished' and that beyond the immediate impact of corrupt conduct of the kind identified, a public loss of confidence in the sporting contest has direct consequences for the health, economic, social and cultural benefits that sport generates, and undermines significant investment in sport.
The Wood review also identified a critical leadership role for the Commonwealth government by supporting the integrity efforts of sporting organisations in the evolving threat environment, particularly those sports with fewer resources.
To achieve this outcome, the centrepiece of the Wood review recommendations is the formation of a new agency—a single body to address sports integrity matters at a national level and ensure that Australia is positioned to effectively respond to escalating integrity risks.
This new body will be called Sport Integrity Australia.
Currently in Australia, sports integrity functions are shared between the National Integrity of Sport Unit, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority and Sport Australia. As a result, stakeholders are often required to interact with multiple agencies on matters across the sport integrity spectrum, creating undue regulatory burden.
Initially, Sport Integrity Australia will be established to unite the nationally focused sport integrity functions of the NISU, ASADA, and Sport Australia, establishing a single point of responsibility for all sport integrity matters and a single point of reference for all stakeholders, working in close cooperation with states and territories and across the sports sector.
The government remains committed to developing and implementing additional and enhanced capabilities recommended by the Wood review, including: enhanced anti-match-fixing intelligence capabilities; a new regulatory scheme referred to in the Wood review as the Australian Sports Wagering Scheme; and a protected disclosure (whistleblower) framework for sport. This will be implemented in stage 2, as outlined in the government response to the Wood review.
However, the early establishment of Sport Integrity Australia absent of these additional functions will improve the coordination of Australia's sports integrity response and reduce the regulatory burden on sport, athletes and others who are currently required to interact with multiple agencies across the spectrum of sports integrity issues.
This government is intent on protecting the integrity of the sports that make up this great sporting nation, the sports Australians enjoy and have come to expect as being safe, fair and inclusive—sports that deserve to be enjoyed by all, for generations to come.
Debate adjourned and the resumption of debate made an order of the day for the next sitting.