12 February 2019

Protecting the Integrity of Australian Sport

• In responding to the Wood Review of Australia’s Sports Integrity Arrangements, the Australian Government has unveiled landmark reforms that will ensure Australia is a world leader in clean, safe and fair sport.

In responding to the Wood Review of Australia’s Sports Integrity Arrangements, the Liberal Nationals Government will today unveil landmark reforms that will ensure Australia is a world leader in clean, safe and fair sport. The reforms will help safeguard the integrity of Australian sport, combating present, emerging and future threats from doping, match-fixing, illegal betting, organised crime and corruption, and ensure that all Australians can enjoy sports environments free of abuse, discrimination and harassment.

Minister for Sport, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, said that the Government committed to making sure that sport in Australia continues to reflect the Australian values of fairness, equality and reward for hard work. “We are reassuring the hundreds of thousands of Australians who are involved in sport at every level – from grassroots to elite – that they can be confident their sport is better protected from doping, drug use, match-fixing and criminal exploitation of athletes and events,” Minister McKenzie said.

“In particular, we want parents to know their children are protected and be confident the sports in which they participate are clean, fair and safe. To say that Australia is immune from sports integrity challenges denies recent examples that include the Southern Stars football club being accused of match fixing in the Victorian Premier League; the use of supplements by the AFL and NRL clubs; and the suspension of a former Australian Open tennis junior champion for match fixing.”

The Government is establishing a new single national sports Integrity agency – Sport Integrity Australia – to protect Australian sport from these threats. Sport Integrity Australia will bring together the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA), the National Integrity of Sport Unit and the national sports integrity functions of Sport Australia.

Sport Integrity Australia will fulfil the role of Australia’s national anti-doping organisation and will require the ongoing support of the sports sector. ASADA will receive ongoing funding over the next two years in the lead-up to the agency’s formal establishment.

A new National Sports Tribunal will hear anti-doping rule violation and other sports disputes, and resolve them consistently, cost-effectively and transparently. The Tribunal, to be piloted over two years, will have the power to call evidence to establish facts and ensure natural justice.

The Minister for Home Affairs The Hon. Peter Dutton said that transnational, serious and organised crime, including the infiltration and exploitation of sport – threatens the safety, security and trust of our citizens, the prosperity of our businesses and economy, the integrity of our institutions, and ultimately our Australian way of life. “This response is part of the broader action the Government is taking to protect Australia, its people, and its interests from the harms of TSOC, guided by the National Strategy to Fight Transnational, Serious and Organised Crime, which was agreed to by the Council of Australia Governments (COAG) in December 2018,” Minister Dutton said.

The Government will continue to work with the betting industry to clamp down on betting-related sports corruption, including the industry playing a key role in monitoring betting activity. “We have seen the massive fall-out from the cricket ball-tampering scandal and the loss of belief in our national cricket team and we are determined to prevent incidents like this from happening,” Minister McKenzie said.

“Australian sports lovers deserve to know that the sport they watch and the teams they support are competing on a level playing field and playing fairly. When Australians – and especially our kids – see examples of sports being corrupted, it means they become disillusioned and less likely to get involved.”

The reforms are the Australian Government’s response to the wide ranging Review of Australia’s Sports Integrity Arrangements chaired by the Hon James Wood AO QC. The Wood Review was conducted by the Liberal Nationals Government in response to the growing global threat to the integrity of sport.

“Our Government has accepted the overwhelming majority of the Wood Review’s 52 recommendations, which are across four key areas – tackling match-fixing, strengthening anti–doping, making disputes arbitration independent and affordable, and co-ordinating Australia’s national and international response to sports integrity matters,” Minister McKenzie said.

“These reforms send a very clear message. Australians have no tolerance for the corruption of sport. And neither does our Government. Sport makes a huge contribution to Australia – socially, culturally and economically and we are absolutely committed to protecting our sporting integrity now and into the future.”

• This media release was jointly published by Senator Bridget McKenzie and Peter Dutton MP on 12 February 2019. Click here for the original; click here for a response from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA); and click here for a PDF of the ‘Report of the Review of Australia’s Sports Integrity Arrangements’ (Wood Review).

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