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Thursday, 18 November 2004
Page: 85

Senator KEMP (Minister for the Arts and Sport) (3:45 PM) —The Hon. Robert Anderson QC was commissioned by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) and Cycling Australia (CA) on 24 June 2004 to investigate specific allegations regarding doping violations by members of the Australian cycling squad.

Mr Anderson's inquiry was undertaken in two stages. The first stage dealt with the allegations made in writing and oral evidence by cyclist Mr Mark French before the Court of Arbitration for Sport; whether there was any other evidence or information arising from the investigation that may indicate a breach by any persons of any of relevant anti-doping policies; and whether there was any other evidence or information arising from the investigation that may warrant a person being excluded from further participation in relevant programs, teams or events. Following the conclusion of an investigation by the South Australian police, Mr Anderson provided an addendum to finalise the first part of his report on 28 July 2004.

On 29 July 2004, I tabled in parliament the main body and addendum of the first stage of the Anderson report regarding his investigations into allegations made by Mr French.

It might be useful at this point to reflect on what the main findings of Mr Anderson's report were at that point. Mr Anderson concluded in his report that he was `quite unable to accept that there were group injecting sessions involving up to six athletes in one room'. Mr Anderson further stated that he was concerned that the untested allegations made by the athlete had been `stated in parliament and reported in the media to the great personal prejudice of the athletes concerned'. So much for Senator Lundy's comments.

On 6 August 2004, Mr Anderson completed a second addendum to the first stage report which covers further testing for equine growth hormone on the contents of the materials found at AIS Del Monte and which noted that further testing was still to be undertaken.

On 27 October 2004, Mr Anderson completed a sequel to the second addendum report. The sequel to the second addendum report addresses DNA testing and an examination of AIS Del Monte computers. I am advised that the content of the attachments is addressed in the reports and it is unnecessary to disclose additional personal information contained in some of those attachments.

I would now like to comment on the key points of the final Anderson reports.

If any single phrase elevated this issue into the public consciousness it was the use by some uninformed commentators of the term `shooting gallery' to describe the circumstances at Del Monte. Mr Anderson makes a strong finding that there was no evidence of a `shooting gallery' at Del Monte. As he summarises it `there is no evidence of a pro-drugs mentality, habitual widespread drug use, or of group injecting sessions as alleged by Mr French'.

Mr Anderson's second addendum and sequel raise further questions about Mr French and Mr Djaka, which are now being considered by the ASC and CA and their legal advisers. I am advised that further action against both these individuals is in train. Mr Anderson has cleared Shane Kelly, Sean Eadie, Graeme Brown and Brett Lancaster, and any other cyclist of any doping offence alleged by Mr French.

Mr Anderson concludes that a computer at Del Monte was used to search the word `EquiGen' and other products on the Internet. He then indicates `no other data was discovered of interest to my investigation'.

It is important to note that the allegations against the cycling team emanated entirely from the testimony of only one individual—that is, Mr French. Following Mr Anderson's detailed investigation, these allegations should no longer tarnish the reputation of our elite cyclists.

It is clear from the findings of the report that there was no cover-up by the ASC and Cycling Australia. Mr Anderson found the handling of these matters by the relevant organisations was reasonable in the circumstances at the time—which is quite contrary to the views that Senator Lundy has given this chamber.

In particular, Mr Anderson deals with the comments made in the Senate to the effect that it was only the raising of this matter in the parliament that caused action to be taken. This again was a comment relied on by Senator Lundy in her statement. Mr Anderson dismisses this view as a misconception. Mr Anderson states in the second stage report:

... it is clear from the contemporaneous records in files of the Australian Sports Commission that, well before those statements and accusations were made in Parliament, the Australian Sports Commission had commenced the process of appointing an independent investigator specifically to investigate the French allegations against the other cyclists ...

Senator Lundy —They were sitting on it, Rod, and you know. They were sitting on it, and they were hiding it from you.

Senator KEMP —Yes, Senator Lundy, you are sensitive about this because this quarrels completely with a statement you made to this chamber. You have not read the report closely and, therefore, you stood up once again and misled the chamber.

Mr Anderson has found that the independent investigation undertaken by Mr Justin Stanwix was properly resourced and appropriate to allow for a full and complete investigation of all matters. Mr Anderson also found that the time taken by Mr Stanwix to complete his investigation was reasonable, particularly given the investigation was conducted during the Christmas-New Year period.

Mr Anderson also found that Mr Stanwix's investigation could not be criticised for not ordering DNA testing of the injection materials found at the Del Monte facility and that `no blame' falls on the ASC or CA for not insisting that DNA testing be conducted at this time. This is because, at the time of the Stanwix inquiry, there was no evidence suggesting DNA testing was required.

In relation to the CAS hearing on Mr French's doping infractions, Mr Anderson did not think that it was appropriate to classify the matter as `not urgent'. In this instance the lawyers acting on behalf of the ASC and CA were of the view that it would not have been appropriate to make an assertion to CAS that the matter was urgent, given that there was no immediate selection or event deadline, Mr French himself had not qualified for Olympic selection and Mr French was continuing to refuse to identify any other cyclist whom he alleged was involved in injecting activities. With hindsight, this may have caused an unfortunate delay in the CAS hearing.

It was the allegations made by Mr French at the CAS hearing and the findings of the arbitrator that demanded that the allegations be taken up with the cyclists whom Mr French had accused. Mr Anderson concludes that this process was initiated expeditiously after the CAS hearing by the ASC and CA.

Based on Mr Anderson's findings, it is fair to say that overall the decisions taken by the ASC and CA were reasonable in the circumstances at the time. His report includes a range of suggestions regarding detection and prevention of doping offences. I have been advised that the AIS Athlete Scholarship Agreement has been revised to expressly allow searches of rooms, the seizure of goods found in rooms, the search of computers provided to AIS scholarship athletes and the collection of data found in those computers. The agreement has also been amended to provide that the ASC can disclose personal information on AIS scholarship athletes to relevant organisations. The AIS has also strengthened its existing policy of prohibiting self-injection by AIS athletes.

Mr Anderson makes comment about the intense media and public interest in the matter and how this might have been better handled. I have been advised that the ASC worked within the strict constraints of the CAS rules, the ASC's Anti-Doping Policy, the Privacy Act and the laws of defamation, natural justice and procedural fairness. However it is questionable whether any media strategy would have significantly reduced the impact once wide-ranging allegations were raised in the parliament.

For the longer term, the key recommendation put forward by Mr Anderson is `that there should be a body which is quite independent of the AIS and of the ASC and of the sporting bodies themselves with the power and duty to investigate suspected infractions such as substance abuse and to carry the prosecution of persons against whom evidence is found'.

This government has a very proud track record in the fight against doping in sport. We are proud that our anti-doping programs have helped establish standards for the world sporting community.

Let me make the point that the Department of Communications, Information Technology and the Arts and relevant portfolio agencies, including the ASC and ASDA, have, for some time, been working on options for investigating doping allegations and the better management of hearings. There are complex legal and policy issues involved here and the government wants to ensure that Australia gets the best solution for our particular context. The government's further consideration will address these difficult issues in a way that meets the long-term needs of the sports sector. Today I have released a discussion paper for public comment on a new Sports Doping Investigation Board.

This issue was raised in the parliament by the Labor Party. Mr Anderson rejects the allegations that were made by the Labor Party. The Labor Party decided to use sport as a political weapon against the government. The Labor Party is the big loser out of this report. The individuals who took part in this attack on sport and attempted to use sport as a political weapon I believe have not only damaged themselves but also sport. They have also damaged this parliament. (Time expired)