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Tuesday, 10 August 2004
Page: 25998

Senator KIRK (2:44 PM) —My question is to Senator Coonan, the Minister representing the Minister for the Arts and Sport. Can the minister inform the Senate of when Minister Kemp was first provided with a copy of or was briefed on the contents of the report of the investigation undertaken by Mr Stanwix into allegations of drug use at the AIS Del Monte facility? Did these briefs or the report set out the details of allegations regarding the involvement of other cyclists, including introducing new members of the team to injection practices, the use of particular rooms for injections or indeed the broader injection culture which was allegedly the case in the AIS cycling team?

Senator COONAN (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) —I thank Senator Kirk for the question. She will have to wait for Senator Kemp to return to ask him when he became aware of the report that she refers to. Obviously, Senator Kemp is not here in the chamber. He has leave because he has a number of important meetings that he has to attend. I think some of them relate to some of these matters, the antidoping matters, and some of the very serious problems that many countries experience in relation to sending clean athletes to the games. The Labor Party has asked Senator Kemp many of these questions before. I have actually reviewed what Senator Kemp has said—I have reviewed his answers—and I think he was in fact asked yesterday about when he actually received a report. He has answered that. When you are asking for something that is within his knowledge, I think it is entirely appropriate that you should ask him when he returns. Having said that, I would have thought it would be important for the Labor Party to at some stage actually get behind our Olympians. I think the Olympic Games are due to start in something less than a week.

Opposition senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT —Order! Senators on my left! Senator Evans, come to order!

Senator COONAN —The Olympic Games are due to start very soon and I would have thought that if the Labor Party had a patriotic bone in their body they would be actually cheering for our athletes. They should be actually getting behind our athletes, calling it for Australia and stopping this constant negative carping about a number of inquiries that, so far as I can tell, have been conducted appropriately and thoroughly—particularly when there is an ongoing review, the Anderson report, of the processes and procedures in case there was something that was not appropriately handled or not handled in the best possible way. That is still obviously an ongoing matter, and I would have thought that by this stage the Labor Party would have been giving it a rest.

Senator KIRK —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. I will ask the minister to take the question on notice if she could. I wonder if she, as senior minister in the portfolio, can tell us what action Minister Kemp took when he was first informed of these allegations regarding a broader injection culture in the AIS Del Monte facility? What immediate actions did he require the AIS and the Australian Sports Commission to take? Or does the minister condone the apparent lack of any action by Minister Kemp to clean up this culture until he was forced to set up yet another inquiry by revelations made here in the Senate?

Senator COONAN (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) —The premise of the question is that first one has to establish when Senator Kemp received the report. I have already said that I think that is something that should be put to Senator Kemp. The rest of Senator Kirk's questions then flow from establishing that one way or the other. But what I can say from Senator Kemp's brief here, which is very fulsome, is that he has acted appropriately and he has acted promptly. There have now been, I think, about four inquiries, one of which is ongoing. It is time that the Labor Party let this rest.