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Thursday, 10 December 2020
Page: 11305


Mr CONROY (Shortland) (12:18): I rise to speak on the Sport Integrity Australia Amendment (World Anti-Doping Code Review) Bill 2020. I move:

That all words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

"whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House:

(1) notes the high standards of integrity expected of Australian athletes and sports organisations, and supports the changes in this bill to align Australia's anti-doping legislation with global standards; and

(2) calls on the Government to hold themselves to the same high standards of integrity and do what the Prime Minister and Treasurer said they would do—fund the projects recommended by Sport Australia under the Community Sport Infrastructure grants program".

This bill seeks to amend the Sport Integrity Australia Act 2020 and the National Sports Tribunal Act 2019. Australia has ratified the UNESCO International Convention against Doping in Sport. This means we have an international obligation to align our antidoping arrangements with any revisions of the WADA code, the World Anti-Doping Code. This bill seeks to ensure that Australia's antidoping legislation is aligned with recent revisions to the World Anti-Doping Code, international standards which come into force on 1 January 2021. Labor supports Australia being at the forefront of global efforts to deal with doping in sport. In turn, we support Australia fulfilling its international antidoping obligations. Therefore we support these amendments, which will ensure our domestic antidoping arrangements remain aligned with the WADA code.

This bill does three key things in response to the WADA code revisions. It adds relevant nonparticipants to the persons who may be subject to the National Anti-Doping scheme. It gives the CEO of Sport Integrity Australia discretion not to publish details of an antidoping rule violation when the athlete is recreational or does not have the mental capacity to understand the antidoping rules. And it allows the CEO to respond to misinformation. This bill also makes consequential amendments to the National Sports Tribunal Act 2019 to enable a nonparticipant to apply to the tribunal for arbitration of a dispute arising under an antidoping policy. These measures all respond to the WADA code revisions.

Beyond that response, the bill also seeks to extend the definition of 'athlete' to include persons who competed in sport within the last six months. That measure is designed to deal with the potential for the current definition to be interpreted narrowly as only a person who currently competes. Sport Integrity Australia believes that a narrow interpretation could restrict its ability to investigate possible antidoping rule violations. Initially stakeholders, including the Australian Athletes Alliance, raised concerns with the opposition about the potential for this measure to impact retired athletes. Labor has worked with these stakeholders to seek clarification on that aspect of the bill. The government has since made it clear that the measure does not apply to formally retired athletes but instead to athletes who for some reason, perhaps injury, are on a short break from competing. Athletes who intend to compete again remain within the National Anti-Doping scheme to ensure they continue to be compliant with their obligations under the World Anti-Doping Code on their return to competition. The same stakeholders that raised concerns have advised the opposition that, given the clarification, they now believe this aspect of the bill is appropriate.

Labor supports measures that strengthen Australia's protections against evolving threats to the integrity of sport. We recognise that these protections, particularly in relation to doping in sport, can place a large burden and a lot of pressure on athletes. We will continue to work closely with stakeholders and to monitor the implementation of Australia's new sports integrity operations to ensure they deliver the dual goals of protecting Australian sport and protecting Australian athletes. Labor supports the bill. Given this bill's focus on integrity in sport, I have moved a second reading amendment noting the high standards of integrity expected of Australian athletes and sport organisations and calling on the government to hold themselves to the same high standards of integrity by funding the projects recommended by Sport Australia under the Community Sport Infrastructure Grants Program.

The sports rorts affair is notorious for the complete lack of integrity by ministers in the administration of grants to Australian sporting organisations. The government has introduced this bill to ensure Australian athletes adhere to the highest standards of conduct on the sporting field, but, when it comes to integrity in sports grants administration, this government has set an appalling example. The government acted with a complete lack of integrity around the $100 million Community Sport Infrastructure Grants Program and the $150 million Female Facilities and Water Safety Stream program. The government rorted these programs to channel grants to marginal electorates and Liberal-held electorates, for its own political gain, and ignored the needs of sportspeople in electorates in regional Australia like Shortland. They provided $10 million to improve facilities at the North Sydney pool, in one of the wealthiest parts of Australia. I've no idea how that particular project, the North Sydney pool, could qualify for this grants program.

In contrast, not a cent was provided for any project in the Hunter Valley or the Central Coast. I will give you an example. The mighty Garden Suburb Football Club, in my electorate, has seen a boom in female football players. Only a decade ago, it had one or two female players. Now half of its 500 registered members are female football players. But they don't have a single changing room to change in. They are forced to get changed in the back of cars, in the canteen, in the bush. That's a disgrace. A grant of only $300,000 would repair this horrible situation. This is but one club in my electorate that has seen the boom in female sport participation, a boom across Aussie Rules, soccer, touch football, rugby league and rugby union. They are all missing out—in contrast to the $250 million that was rorted by this government. This is why this second reading amendment is so important. It calls on the Prime Minister to hold himself and his ministers to the same standards of integrity expected of our athletes and sports organisations.

One way the Prime Minister can demonstrate that he has learned the lessons of the sports rorts affair is by doing what he and the Treasurer said they would do—that is, fund projects that were recommended by Sport Australia under the Community Sport Infrastructure Grants Program. After being caught out by the Auditor-General for funnelling millions of dollars in sports grants into marginal and target seats before the 2019 election, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer said they would provide more funding in the budget. On 29 January the Prime Minister said:

… there are many other projects that you would like to support, and the Treasurer and I will consider that as we go forward.

On 20 January he said: 'I will work with the Treasurer to see how we can better support even more projects in the future.' On Insiders, on 2 February 2020, the Treasurer said:

What the Prime Minister has foreshadowed is given the strong community need and the importance of supporting these sporting organisations, we would, in the context of the Budget, revisit a program of this type.

…   …   …

A support to support the actual sporting clubs.

The Prime Minister told the sporting clubs that missed out because of the sports rorts affair that he would revisit the grants program in the budget. If he was serious about integrity in sport and serious about integrity in government, he would have delivered on these undertakings. Yet, as usual, Scott Morrison is all talk and no action. There was nothing in the budget for the sports clubs who were snubbed in the sports rorts affairs. As my colleague the shadow minister for sport has pointed out, after building up the hopes of hundreds of community sports club that his government ripped off, the Prime Minister has again treated them with contempt. The Prime Minister was happy to splurge hundreds of million dollars on sports projects that he thought could win him an election, but he clearly has no intention of making right his rort and no idea of how sports is hurting.

Female sports participants in my electorate are hurting right now. They lack places to get changed with the dignity that every person in this country should be granted when we encourage them to play sport. The Prime Minister and the Treasurer are dudding the female football players, the female sports people of the electorate of Shortland. The Australian Sports Foundation has reported that more than 16,000 community sports clubs could be forced to close the doors permanently because the impacts of COVID-19. The millions of Australians who take part in or volunteer in community sport every week all deserve so much better than a Prime Minister with nothing to offer but empty promises.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr Andrews ): Is the amendment seconded?

Ms Templeman: I second the amendment and reserve my right to speak.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The original question was that this bill be now read a second time. To this the honourable member for Shortland has moved as an amendment that all words after 'That' be omitted with a view to substituting other words. The question now is that the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question.