House debates

Wednesday, 4 December 2019


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

12:32 pm

Photo of Pat ConroyPat Conroy (Shortland, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for International Development and the Pacific) Share this | Hansard source

I rise to speak on the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment (Sport Integrity Australia) Bill 2019. I move:

That all words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

"whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House notes that the government's patchy approach to sport continues, with three different ministers having had carriage of sports integrity reforms in just two years, resulting in uncertainty for athletes and other parts of the sport sector in relation to sports integrity reform"

Australia has a long and proud history as a sporting nation. From backyard games to the Boxing Day Test, from grassroots participation to competition on the national and international stage, sport has and continues to play an important role in our way of life and our national identity. Whenever we hear good news stories about sport at any level, those stories enhance the reputation of Australian sport and our love for it. But reports of doping in sport and reports of match fixing damage and devalue Australian sports reputation and our relationship with it.

Labor, when in government, was proactive in deploying measures to protect against those and other threats to the integrity of sport in Australia. We recognised the need to evaluate the effectiveness of Australia's sports integrity measures and to upgrade and update those measures when needed to address changing environments and new threats.

In 2012, the Labor federal government established a National Integrity of Sport Unit, and in 2013 we passed legislation to strengthen the Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority's powers, but threats to the integrity of Australia's sports continue to evolve, and so must our protective measures. In response to those ever-evolving risks, the government announced the review of the sports integrity arrangements in August 2017. The panel that conducted the review was chaired by Justice James Wood, and the review has come to be known as the Wood review.

The government received the Wood review in march 2018 and released its response to the review in February of this year. It is a detailed and extensive review, with nearly 300 pages and containing 52 recommendations. One of those recommendations was the establishment of 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, detection, investigation and enforcement.

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment (Sports Integrity Australia) Bill 2019 seeks to implement the government's response to that recommendation. The bill would allow a new Australian government agency, to be known as Sport Integrity Australia, designed to protect the integrity of Australian sport. It is proposed that the new agency will bring together a range of sports integrity functions that are currently the responsibility of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, the National Integrity of Sport Unit and Sport Australia. To paraphrase from the review, a centrally coordinated response to sports integrity issues will help overcome the silo effect that currently exists, with multiple bodies, including NSOs, law enforcement and regulatory agencies, engaged in protecting sports from threats. The review also noted that difficulties in securing a coordinated response are compounded by our federated system, in which there are differences in state, territory and federal regulatory and criminal laws.

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. Labor has engaged with stakeholders across the sports sector and taken into account their views on the reforms that would be implemented by this bill and the associated Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment (Enhancing Australia's Anti-Doping Capability) Bill 2019.

While the majority of feedback has been supportive, some stakeholders have raised specific concerns regarding certain specific aspects of this bill and the enhancing Australia's antidoping capability bill. In relation to this bill, the Scrutiny Of Bills Committee is seeking advice from the Minister for Youth and Sport as to why it is considered appropriate to provide members of the Sport Integrity Australia advisory council with civil immunity so that affected persons have the right to bring action to enforce their legal rights limited to situations where lack of good faith is shown.

The scrutiny committee has also asked for more detailed advice as to why it's considered necessary and appropriate for Sport Integrity Australia to be an enforcement body for the purpose of the Privacy Act 1988. Specifically, the committee has noted that consideration of this aspect of the bill will be helped by further explanation of how Sport Integrity Australia's enforcement related activities will be undertaken in practice, including the nature of the enforcement powers and who will be exercising the enforcement powers.

These scrutiny committee concerns largely mirror the issues that some stakeholders have raised with Labor. Broadly speaking, these concerns are related to appropriate checks and balances ensuring that, in bolstering Australia's defences against sports integrity threats, the rights of individuals are not inappropriately eroded. In recognition of the concerns, the Senate has referred this bill to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee for a short inquiry to report on 3 February next year. Labor hopes that process will enable stakeholders that still have concerns to outline these issues and allow them to be appropriately considered before this bill is passed in its final form. The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment (Enhancing Australia's Anti-Doping Capability) Bill 2019 has been referred for inquiry over the same time frame given its connection with this bill.

Given the great value of sport to Australians and our society and economy, protecting the integrity of Australian sport is something Labor supports. Labor will continue to engage with stakeholders, the government and the crossbench through the community affairs committee inquiry on the establishment of Sport Integrity Australia. We will also continue to work to ensure that government's response to the recommendations of the Wood review effectively protects the important role sport plays in our Australian way of life now and into the future. Labor will support the passage of this bill in this place, noting its referral in the other place to the Senate Community Affairs Legislation Committee. We reserve the right to move amendments to this bill based on the outcomes of that committee inquiry process. Labor supports integrity and truthfulness in sport.

I conclude by correcting the record on the member for Sturt's outrageous previous claim that Don Bradman was from South Australia. Don Bradman was a proud Bowral boy from New South Wales, yet again emphasising the fact that New South Wales is the premier state for sport as it is for all other things! I commend the bill to the House.


No comments