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Monday, 9 September 2019
Page: 2011


Mr CONROY (Shortland) (11:56): Sport holds a special place in Australian culture, and for many Australians it's a central part of our way of life. Australians quite rightly expect sport to be fair, clean and safe. No nation and no sport are immune from integrity threats that can put at risk these expectations. Labor is committed to supporting appropriate responses to real threats facing Australia's sporting integrity. When the integrity of Australian sport is weakened, it can have a cascading impact on the benefits of sport to Australia at all levels—from the contribution of professional sport to our economy to the participation of Australians in grassroots community sport.

Threats to Australia's sports integrity evolve over time, and so too must Australia's response to them. I don't need to go through the sordid history of the various sports scandals, but it is true that when we see a scandal in sport it diminishes the reputation of both that sport and participation in that sport, whether it be the Armstrong doping scandals in cycling, the various scandals involving the Manly Sea Eagles and a couple of AFL teams around the use of calf's blood a decade ago, or the various incidents around betting. Integrity must be upheld in every sport. In fact, the prevalence of online betting agencies, the ability to bet on sporting events in minute detail and the ability to move markets quite easily mean that urgent action is required to make sure that the integrity of Australian sports is maintained.

That's why the review of Australia's sports integrity arrangements completed last year, known as the Wood review, was so important. It was broad and complex. It returned 52 recommendations that sit across several portfolios and agencies. The government's response to the review, including the plan to establish the National Sports Tribunal, builds on Labor's establishment of the National Integrity of Sport Unit in 2012 and the strengthening of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority's powers in 2013. Labor will continue to work with the sports sector and agencies to provide strong, appropriate protections to the integrity and reputation of sport in Australia. We will continue not only to work with the government but also to closely monitor, in response to the Wood review, the recommendations to ensure they're implemented fairly and with consideration for the rights and wellbeing of athletes. Labor supports this bill, the National Sports Tribunal Bill 2019.

The companion bill, the National Sports Tribunal (Consequential Amendments and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2019, which we are debating cognately, deals with the consequential and transitional matters arising from the enactment of the National Sports Tribunal Bill 2019. In my earlier remarks on the National Sports Tribunal Bill, I outlined Labor's support for appropriate responses to threats to Australia's sports integrity. This bill enables the establishment of the tribunal through consequential amendments and transitional arrangements, and, as such, Labor supports this bill.

Given the nature of these bills, it is essential that there be a bipartisan approach. The integrity of sport must be upheld in this country. As I said before, when a scandal rocks Australian sport it undermines both the professional level of that sport and the grassroots participation in that sport, and that's something that we must avoid at all costs. On that basis, I commend these bills to the House.