Wednesday, 4 December 2019
Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment (Sport Integrity Australia) Bill 2019; Second Reading
I'm tempted to say that the shenanigans of this morning are a bit like John McEnroe throwing down his tennis racquet. You cannot be serious with the behaviour that has been taking place in this chamber. I only have a few moments and I've had to cut down my speech, which was actually going to celebrate many of the sporting triumphs of the fifties, sixties, seventies and eighties.
Like many Australians, I like watching elite sport, and I have a particular fondness for watching the Olympic Games. Like many of generation X, I have fond memories of watching Nadia Comaneci in the 1976 Montreal Olympics—the first woman to score a 10 in gymnastics. Of course the Australian swimmers at Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games over the last 50 or 60 years—perhaps even more, but I don't go back that far—have astounded us all with their grace, their speed and their sportsmanship. We also have our fabulous Australian tennis players—and there normally is one who sits behind me, who just happens to be absent for one of the few compliments he's ever going to get from me!
Then of course we also have those tragic memories, those really bad memories of things that have happened at Olympic Games. Who, if they were alive then, can forget the 1988 Seoul Olympics 100-metre final: Ben Johnson, Carl Lewis? Ben Johnson got the gold taken off him. We then had Marion Jones—another awful event with somebody cheating the system.
Australians love to play sport. They love to play sport very hard, but they like to play fair. When people cheat the system, or rort the system, they don't just ruin it for those who have been beaten; they ruin it for everybody. It undermines the integrity of the system. It undermines our culture. It undermines our national identity. So I am very pleased to stand up and support the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment (Enhancing Australia's Anti-Doping Capability) Bill 2019.
This bill is an outcome of the Turnbull government's commissioning a review looking into Australia's sports integrity arrangements. The Wood review was released in late 2018, and this government responded earlier this year, committing to a range of important reforms, including the establishment of Sport Integrity Australia. The government's introduction of this bill is an important sign that the government remains firmly committed to protecting Australian sport from the increasingly sophisticated threats to its integrity.
Sport Integrity Australia is going to unite existing functions carried out by ASADA and by the National Integrity of Sport Unit in the Department of Health, along with relevant national sports integrity functions of Sports Australia. Commencing from July 2020, Sport Integrity Australia will support all sports integrity stakeholders to manage the spectrum of sport integrity related issues. Its focus is going to be on regulation, on monitoring and intelligence, and on policy and program delivery, including education and outreach. The new agency is going to act as Australia's national antidoping organisation and, in time, will also act as Australia's national platform for the purposes of the Convention on the Manipulation of Sports Competition, which was signed in January 2019, in a demonstration once again of this government's commitment to delivering critical sports integrity outcomes without delay. Through this bill and the creation of Sport Integrity Australia, the sporting community of Australia is going to benefit from an organisation which is able to cohesively draw together existing sports integrity capabilities and nationally coordinate all elements of the sports integrity threat response through a single agency.
This bill reinforces so much of Australia's long-held values about sport—playing hard but playing fair, playing to win but not playing at any cost. This bill, in establishing the Sport Integrity Australia body, is absolutely essential. It's a great step forward to ensure that the integrity in Australian sports remains. Thank you.