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Tuesday, 28 April 1992
Page: 1640

Senator CROWLEY —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for the Arts, Sport, the Environment and Territories. Has the Minister's attention been drawn to the overturn of the ban on Martin Vinnicombe for testing positive to drugs? Can the Minister tell the Senate what steps, if any, the Government is planning to take in this matter?

Senator COLLINS —The Government has taken some action on this matter. As Senator Crichton-Browne and Senator Michael Baume would know, this was a matter of wide ranging discussion at the last meetings of Senate Estimates committees where, as usual of course, we did have a wide ranging discussion about everything except Supplementary Estimates.

Senator Crichton-Browne —It was very informative, too.

Senator COLLINS —Indeed it was. The Government's position on the use of drugs in sport has not changed. The Government remains strongly opposed to the use of drugs in sport. The drug testing regime of the Australian Sports Drug Agency, ASDA, is probably the most thorough in the world by virtue of its comprehensive procedures and its recognition of the importance of human rights, natural justice and privacy matters. In fact, its requirements are stricter than those of the International Olympic Committee.

  So far as Mr Vinnicombe is concerned, let there be no doubt about the results of his tests—they were positive. The sample was collected in accordance with International Olympic Committee standards and was tested at an IOC accredited laboratory. However, the test did not meet the stricter requirements of the ASDA legislation which formed the basis of the recent court action by Mr Vinnicombe. This, I understand, is what led to the recent problems in the Vinnicombe case. That is why the Minister for Sport, Mrs Kelly, approved drafting instructions on 12 April to amend the ASDA Act so that ASDA can officially recognise the results of tests conducted by other agencies when those tests are conducted in accordance with internationally accepted protocols.

  Mr Deputy President, you may be assured that the Government will move quickly to ensure that, in future, individuals who are guilty of cheating cannot escape sanctions on technicalities.

Senator CROWLEY —Mr Deputy President, I wish to ask a supplementary question. Can the Minister say whether or not the Government will take any specific action in the case of Mr Vinnicombe?

Senator COLLINS —As I have just explained, it was the Vinnicombe case which prompted the Minister, Mrs Kelly, to take the action she has already taken, on 12 April, to ensure that these things will happen in the future.

Senator Alston —That's for the future.

Senator COLLINS —I thank Senator Alston for his—

Senator Alston —Answer Senator Crowley's question.

Senator COLLINS —Senator Alston never fails to be helpful with his incessant interjections from his corner of the chamber. Before I was so rudely interrupted by Senator Alston, I was about to say that, in respect of the Vinnicombe case in particular, I am happy to refer that question to Mrs Kelly, who is handling this matter, and get a response for Senator Crowley.