National Sports Tribunal 20190909

Thank You Mr Deputy Speaker. 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 is 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 contribution of professional sport to
our economy to the participation of Australians in grassroots community
sport. Threats to Australian sports integrity evolve over time and so too
must Australia’s response to them. And I don’t need to go through the sordid
history of various sports scandals but it is true Mr Deputy Speaker when we
see a scandal in sport it diminishes the reputation of both that sport and
participation in that sport whether it was 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 to the various incidents
around betting. Integrity must be upheld in every sport and in fact the
prevalence of online betting agencies, the ability to bet on sporting events in
minute detail, the ability to move markets quite easily means that urgent
action is required to make sure that the integrity of Australian sports is
maintained. And 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 reviews including the
planned establishment of a national sports tribunal builds on Labor’s
establishment of the National Integrity of Sports Unit
in 2012 and strengthening of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority
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 a sport in Australia. We will continue to work with the
Government but also to closely monitor in response to the Wood review
recommendations to ensure it’s implemented fairly and with consideration for the
rights and well-being of athletes. Labor supports this Bill. The companion bills
which we are debating cognately deals with the consequential and transitional matters arising from the enactment of the National Sports
Tribunal ACT 2019. In my earlier remarks on the National Sport Tribunal Bill I
outlined Labor’s support for appropriate responses to threats to Australia 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 Mr Deputy Speaker it’s
essential that there is 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 but also 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.

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