Parliament Updates

Zali Steggall supports motion on AFL drug accusations

27 March 2024


Thank you Madame Deputy Speaker, and I commend the Member for Clark for his motion and for bringing this issue to light for the parliament. As an ex- sportsperson I absolutely admire and love sport. I love the role it plays in our society; I love the example it set, the aspiration, the opportunity it offers to all of those who participate in the vast and many sports that we have. Australia has always been incredibly successful, and really, punched above its weight in so many areas.

It is important to remember that sport, especially sport codes and organisations, don't operate outside of the rules of society and in particular our criminal rules. It is important that there is transparency and accountability, and that we don't have a situation where the administration or the self-interest of a particular sport, code or club is overriding that compliance with the norms of society, to comply with our laws, but also to look after the well being of those involved. There is ultimately a concern here that the players are not, if there is truth to these allegations, that is what the motion can help establish by having these documents tendered. It will show whether or not there is a duty care that is going a miss in relation to these players, by looking the other away, condoning or facilitating the breach of these rules and that is incredibly concerning for the role of the players and the example they set for young people in our society. I was previously a member of the panel for anti-doping rule violation and a lot of that relies on sporting codes and clubs complying with procedure and rules and being up front about testing and all those procedures. So, it's really concerning to hear allegations of this nature and knowledge not in respect to banned substance from a performance enhancing perspective, but in relation to substances that incur criminal consequences. So, it is important for there to be transparency around this issue, and, as such, I strongly support the member for Clark's motion.