Wednesday, 4 December 2019
Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment (Enhancing Australia's Anti-Doping Capability) Bill 2019; Second Reading
Australia is a proud sporting nation with a history of performing well above the level that would normally be expected of a nation our size. From Fred Spofforth to Ash Barty, Australia has always competed at the top level and often been victorious. But Australians don't just expect our sportspeople to win; they expect them to do so fairly and within the rules. Where they don't do this, we expect them to face the music. The sanctions placed on the Australian cricket team for ball tampering were way in excess of the standard punishment for their crimes, showing how we place our sportspeople on a pedestal and expect them to report to a higher standard. We as Australians can't stand unfair behaviour on the field, and athletes like Mack Horton have faced flak from other nations for standing up for these more moral principles. But we can only point the finger because we know our internal systems are robust. Australia has obligations under the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation International Convention Against Doping in Sport to abide by the principles of the World Anti-Doping Code. The Wood Review of Australia's Sports Integrity Arrangements recommended a range of enhancements to the capabilities of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, ASADA, including through changes to legislation to counteract the increased sophistication of doping practices.
This bill, the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment (Enhancing Australia's Anti-Doping Capability) Bill, will assist ASADA to adapt and harmonise its functions to combat the complex and evolving nature of doping in sport. A version of this bill was introduced into the previous parliament. The election and subsequent introduction of this parliament has allowed for additional consultation to be undertaken with stakeholders in both the private and public sectors. As a result, the explanatory materials have been updated to provide greater clarity and context to the proposed amendments in the bill.
The following changes have been made since the bill's first introduction in the previous parliament: an amendment to allow ASADA's secrecy provisions to be included within schedule 3 of the Freedom of Information Act 1992, and very minor and consequential amendments to harmonise operation with the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment (Sport Integrity Australia) Bill 2019. Many of the proposed amendments will have the effect of streamlining of administrative procedures in relation to anti-doping rule violations, which will reduce the burden on sports, athletes and support personnel and are supported by the feedback of stakeholders. These changes include the removal of the Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel from the rule violation process and the removal of a pathway for review by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal of a preliminary anti-doping rule violation decision by the CEO of ASADA. Importantly, abolition of the Anti-Doping Rule Violation Panel will not affect the existing right of a participant to have a fair hearing of an allegation of an anti-doping violation. In fact, abolition of the process should serve to expedite the participant's opportunity to have a fair hearing. There will be additional protections against civil action for those working in sports bodies who are expected, under the current anti-doping arrangements, to take forward allegations of anti-doping rule violations within their sport when acting in good faith.
These protections match the existing protections for ASADA staff, and the extension of the immunity is a reflection of the fact that a sport may be required to do things as a result of ASADA's exercise of its legislative functions. By enhancing statutory protections of information provided to a sporting organisation, there can be greater information-sharing between ASADA and the sporting bodies, which will ensure security around the release of private information of those involved in possible anti-doping processes, while maintaining the ability to seek out violations. The amendment to the Freedom of Information Act 1982 will provide appropriate guarantees to athletes, support personnel and national sporting organisations around the protection of their information, including sensitive medical and health information. It will also provide consistency of information protection between ASADA and the proposed National Sports Tribunal. These changes will ensure that athletes can have confidence that they are playing on an even field, and Australians can have faith not only that the sports that we're watching are fair but that our Australian sports men and women are representing our country with the same ideals of fairness and equality that their forebears have had for over 100 years.
I thank the House for their support for me to remark on this antidoping bill. In the speaking time left, I might reflect—as it's quite important—on the Labor Party's sorry and sad history on a particular matter of doping. That is the South Australian Labor government's financial support of now disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, someone they paid an inordinate amount of money to attract to South Australia and compete in the Tour Down Under—coincidentally, adjacent to an important state election back in 2010.
We now know, after the expiration of the 10-year gag clause in the contract that the South Australian government and Lance Armstrong signed, that he was paid the princely sum of $1½ million—that's a lot of lycra—to come to Adelaide for six days. That didn't include the first-class airfares and the hotel expenses and all the rest of it. Now that this contract is in the public domain, after 10 years, it's interesting to see what it did and didn't include. It certainly did include the requirement for Lance Armstrong to do press conferences with the Labor Premier and participate in all kinds of public relations exercises. As I said, it was adjacent to a state election. He had to be the Premier's best friend, smile for the cameras and have dinner with him. What wasn't in the contract, interestingly, was any potential to claw back that money if Lance Armstrong brought the Tour Down Under into disrepute—say, I don't know, by being exposed as the leader of one of the greatest drug-doping rings in sports history? That is what Labor were complicit in, and it went on for three years. They weren't interested in the reputation of the Tour Down Under. They weren't interested after it transpired what Lance Armstrong had been associated with. They couldn't exercise a clause saying, 'We want that money back,' because they didn't even put one in the contract.
People like Lance Armstrong are looked up to by young kids, who treat these sportspeople as heroes. It doesn't matter whether it's cycling or cricket or tennis. In our country and in our culture, sport is one of the great pastimes—watching it, participating in it. For young people in particular, it is so very important that there are some things that entertain them that don't involve sitting inside on the couch in front of a television. We want kids to have that passionate interest in sport and being outdoors, exercising their minds and exercising their bodies. Part of their sporting ambition is because they have these heroes that they see on the television competing for our country and competing for their favourite sporting team. So those people have a responsibility to set a very high standard in sportsmanship, which includes, as the member for Bennelong commented, seeking to win but doing it fairly and making sure that people understand that principle, and that that's what they should pursue in their own interest in sport and, frankly, their whole lives—fighting hard and fighting fair.
ASADA is a very important institution in this country because, of course, it provides integrity around that and confidence around that. I think that, generally speaking, Australian sports men and women have the highest reputation in the world when it comes to fair play and fair conduct, and it's because of organisations like ASADA providing that guarantee. But it is important, obviously, every now and then to change and enhance and improve the processes that are put in place, to anticipate different developments and changes related to those people who do seek to do the wrong thing. It's highly appropriate that the House consider and, hopefully, support this bill this morning, because it will give ASADA the enhanced framework that they need in order to keep up their vigilant work to make sure that Australian sport is clean so that everyone can participate in sporting pursuits in this country with the confidence that the best person on the field, in the pool or on the court is the one that is going to be successful and win out.
I'm very proud as the member for Sturt of the excellent sporting pedigree of my electorate. I point out that probably the most famous sportsperson in Australian history is from the electorate of Sturt, Sir Donald Bradman, who was from the Kensington Cricket Club and was a great president of the South Australian Cricket Association. And there are many others. He's the sort of person that's still looked up to by young people in that particular pursuit in my electorate, across the country and across the world, because he was renowned for not only his prowess on the field but his sportsmanship. It's sportspeople like Sir Donald Bradman who have set such a very high standard, and ASADA need changes like those in this bill that we're debating this morning to put them in a position to maintain that reputation well into the future. I commend this bill to the House.
It could be said that my electorate of Reid is the heart of sport in Sydney. Reid is home to Sydney Olympic Park, where everyone from young soccer players to Olympians train and compete. My electorate has hosted the Sydney Olympics, NRL grand finals—
I don't wish to unnecessarily delay the House, but I do want to clarify, though. The member for Reid may be speaking on the bill which is listed next. I think she may be mistaken about the bill before the House. I don't mean to cause trouble, but I do want to be clear what bill is before the House.
Government members interjecting—
It doesn't happen very often.
I understand what the member for McMahon has said. However, I've given the call to the member for Reid. If she wishes to continue on this bill, she has the call. No? The question then is that the amendment be agreed to. I call the minister.
No, I had called the member for Reid, I think. I understand what the Manager of Opposition Business is saying. There was some confusion; I missed the fact the member for Reid was seeking the call, and I gave her the call. The division was rescinded, if I can put it that way. I propose to call the minister.
On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker: I heard the call for the division. There are times when divisions, once called by the chair, are called off, but leave is usually sought across both sides of the House for agreement on that. I'm not aware of that having occurred.
The member for Reid stood up after the division was terminated by the Deputy Speaker, and then she's sat down. As the minister, I've stood up to do the summing-up speech.
On the point of order, the point goes to when the division was called off. If the division was called off without there being leave sought from the House or agreement from both sides of the House, I'm not sure how a division, once declared by the chair, can be called off.
I say to the Manager of Opposition Business that, if there's any mistake here, it's by the chair. I didn't see the member for Reid on her feet; I then gave her the call. The division will still occur. I think it would aid the House if you allow the minister to sum up, and then, obviously, there will be a division.
An opposition member interjecting—
I can sum it up, and we can get it done. The fight against doping in sport continues to get tougher. The key factor in addressing doping across the world is the unrelenting commitment of the international sporting movement and the government's work together to implement harmonised programs that are robust, effective and fair.
Australia continues to be at the front of the fight against doping in sport. To ensure that we remain there, Australia's antidoping capability needs to be enhanced. We need to streamline the antidoping rule violation process and reinvest those efficiencies back into ASADA and sporting organisations to enhance intelligence and investigation capability and education resources to support athletes across all sports and all levels. This bill amends the ASADA Act to enable key measures to be implemented so that Australia meets its obligations to contribute to a safe and fair sporting environment, safeguards athlete health, and continues to protect the fundamental values of sport. I thank the members for their contributions to the debate on this bill and I commend the bill to the House.
The original question was that this bill be read a second time. To this, the honourable member for Shortland has moved an amendment that all words after 'that' be omitted with a view to substituting other words. The immediate question before the House is that the amendment moved by the member for Shortland be agreed to.
The question now is that the bill be read a second time.
Question agreed to.
Bill read a second time.