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Another ALP 'catch-up' policy.

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Senator Lundy's latest offering - a 'Sports Doping Ombudsman' - was cobbled together, on the run, once it was reported that the Government was working with ASDA, the ASC and AOC on a sports doping investigative body.

This is obvious 'catch up' politics for which Senator Lundy is becoming famous.

The policy has been released without proper consultation with sporting organizations. It is not surprising that it lacks clarity and is confused.

The ALP's Fact Sheet states that for a complaint to be heard by the Ombudsman, it must fall outside the jurisprudence of CAS, however the World Anti-doping Code requires all appeals by international level athletes to be heard by CAS.

Does Senator Lundy's seriously intend to exclude the bulk of our elite athletes from examination by the Ombudsman?

In addition, the press release and Fact Sheet state that the Ombudsman would provide a report of its findings to the sport for action. However, the paper also states that the Ombudsman would hear cases. Hearing cases could be taken to mean that the Ombudsman would have a decision making role similar to CAS or other tribunal.

If that were the case, there would be significant constitutional difficulties in establishing the Ombudsman as a Commonwealth body.

And if that were not enough, Senator Lundy's paper also states that the Ombudsman would be co-located with the Commonwealth Ombudsman. It is obvious that this could cause difficulties for the Commonwealth Ombudsman if it were, consistent with its normal mandate, to have a role in investigating complaints about the Sports Doping Ombudsman.

The Australian Government's consideration will include the complex legal and constitutional issues involved and will address the long term needs of the sports sector, rather than provide a short term political fix.

MELBOURNE 23 July 2004

Media contact: Adrian Chippindale, 02 6277 7350 or 0407 208 743