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Transcript of interview with Ben Fordham: 2GB: 14 February 2013: ACC report into drugs in sport



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Michael Keenan MP - Federal Member for Stirling 2GB Interview with Ben Fordham February 14, 2013

Topics: ACC report into drugs in sport

Ben Fordham

The Shadow Minister for Justice Michael Keenan is on the line, Michael good afternoon.

Michael Keenan

Good afternoon Ben.

Ben Fordham

Thanks for talking to us. Where do we find you this afternoon? Are you in the nation’s capital?

Michael Keenan

I am in the nation’s capital but I am on the way to the airport to head home.

Ben Fordham

Ok. This whole announcement, I mean how badly did they stuff this thing up? How huge was the exaggeration at that press conference?

Michael Keenan

The report itself was very general and I think what happened was when it got in the hands of Government Ministers that they have come out and the way that they have framed the report has really cast a very wide net across essentially all codes and all sports in Australia. It doesn’t appear that there is the evidence to back that up and I think that is very concerning. We in the Opposition would like to clear this up as soon as possible because I don’t think it is fair to come out and cast aspersions over all sportsmen and women around this country.

Ben Fordham

I watched that press conference live as it was taking place and at the start of it I thought wow this is big just like the leaks beforehand indicated, because the Government has tipping of the media beforehand to get ready for this announcement as it is going to be earth shattering to do with drugs in sport and worse. When it came I listened to the start of it, I will play some of Jason Clare in a moment, but when I listened to the rest of it and I soaked up all of the detail of the press conference I got to the end of it thinking, it doesn’t sound to me like they have got a hell of a lot compared with the sell of the whole thing. Let’s listen to Jason Clare the Justice Minister:

“The findings are shocking and they will disgust Australian sports fans. We are talking about multiple athletes across a number of codes. We are talking about a number of teams. It is cheating but it is worse than that, it is cheating with the help of criminals. Don’t underestimate how much we know and if you are involved in this come forward before you get a knock at the door.”

Ok so Michael Keenan, the Shadow Justice Minister, so how does that compare to what we know a week later?

Michael Keenan

Well I think it is an indication that he really cast his net far too widely when he made these statements than what the evidence to date has shown from sporting codes around the country. Clearly it doesn’t seem to apply to all sporting codes and neither does it apply to that wide net that was suggested by the Minister then. This is a very serious problem wherever it occurs but I think what the Government needs to do now is come out and clarify what it actually knows, how many codes this does effect and really clear the names of the vast majority of sports people around the country who are clearly not involved in this and are doing the right thing.

Ben Fordham

Ok let’s hear from the Cowboys Coach Neil Henry who has spoken to SBS in Townsville:

“The way the whole thing has been handle is a disgrace really and I think it is embarrassing for the NRL to come out and mention that there are six teams and we are forced into a situation to defend ourselves against something we don’t even

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know about. The information hasn’t come out until after the event. It has been a slight on this club, our fans but more importantly the individuals working for this club.”

What they did last week was line up everything, the drugs, the match fixing and the criminal links and it was up to every team in the country for a week now to try and convince people that no we aren’t into any of those things but when the detail has come out time and time again we are hearing clubs come back and say on that we don’t have a case to answer, on this we don’t have a case to answer. Why didn’t they just line up last week what they did have instead of leading people to believe that everyone was guilty of everything?

Michael Keenan

I think that is a very good question but they need to answer for themselves. It is not clear why they had representatives from codes, who don’t seem to be implicated in this, up on the stage on Thursday apart from the fact that they wanted to make a very big media splash in a week that had been pretty bad for them politically to date.

Ben Fordham

How stupid were those sporting bosses for agreeing to go along to that press conference in hindsight?

Michael Keenan

I think if you are asked by Senior Government Ministers to attend a press conference well then generally people would attend under those circumstances, so I don’t want to drag them into it. I think in many ways they would consider themselves to be victims in the way the Government have has handled this. It is just not clear though why they would have asked heads of sporting codes to attend a press conference when they don’t seem to have anything to do with the allegations being made.

Ben Fordham

Speaking of sporting clubs, Phil Gould from the Penrith Panthers spoke to Ray Hadley this morning about Tuesday’s meetings:

“A lot of what you have heard and read during the week comes from hearsay and innuendo and guesses of what must be going on simply because the people that are in the middle of this are being bound by such confidentiality and people think because you don’t talk you must have something to hide.”

As the Shadow Minister, what should the Ministers involved Jason Clare and Kate Lundy, what should they be saying right now as a way of making it up to all of the sporting clubs who aren’t involved in drugs, who aren’t involved in match fixing and who don’t have links to criminal gangs?

Michael Keenan

They need to come out and clarify these allegations that they have made. They cast such an enormous wide net essentially over all sport and all sportsmen and women last week. They need to come out and pare back about what they know and where they are seriously having a look at this misconduct, not that they are just looking at it in every corner of the Australian sporting community because clearly that is not the case. They really need to undo some of the damage they have done last week.

Ben Fordham

If you bump into Jason Clare, the Justice Minister, can you let him know we would like to talk to him?

Michael Keenan

I would be very happy to pass that on Ben.

Ben Fordham

Thankyou Michael

Michael Keenan

Good to talk to you.

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Ends……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

© Authorised by Michael Keenan MP, 203 Wanneroo Road, Tuart Hill WA 6060

www.keenan.net.au

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