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Coates congratulates Lundy as Anti-doping powers beefed up

25 June 2013

DOPING: The President of the Australian Olympic Committee, John Coates, has congratulated the Federal Sports Minister, Senator Kate Lundy, after the ASADA Bill passed through the Senate saying it “reinforces the Minister’s strong commitment to the fight against doping in sport in Australia”.

“With this legislation and the new powers it provides ASADA, Australia remains at the forefront of the fight against doping in sport,” Coates said.

Sports Minister Kate Lundy said the legislation will help speed up doping investigations. 

"Doping has no place in sport and it is incumbent on the government to provide ASADA with the right tools to investigate allegations of doping," Senator Lundy said. 

The law compels suspect athletes and other people to face questioning from the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) and hand over documents on request. 

Under the measures the ASADA chief executive will be able to issue disclosure notices requiring a person to comply, with a fine of up to $5100 for people who don't. 

On the 1st of March this year, Coates and dual Olympic rowing medallist Kim Crow spoke at a Senate enquiry pushing for even tougher penalties for non-compliance with investigations.

Coates has been lobbying Government for over a decade to give ASADA coercive powers as an important weapon in the fight against doping. He told the Senate Inquiry “of the thousands of tests annually, only 0.89% result in a meaningful ADRV” (Anti-Doping Rule Violation).

The Greens were initially concerned the original bill went too far and negotiated several amendments to provide checks and balances. 

"Ultimately we do accept the argument that ASADA needs further powers to expand its investigations into doping," Greens senator Richard Di Natale told the chamber. 

"But those powers need to be limited and they need to be fully compatible with fundamental legal and human rights that we value so highly in this country."

Last minute safeguards were added to plans to grant Australia's anti-doping agency police-like powers, as legislation cleared the Senate.

The right to remain silent was returned to individuals, under an amendment. 

The Greens also won another amendment to protect doctor patient confidentiality so GPs would only answer questions about doping and not about an athlete's medical history. 

Other amendments included requiring the ASADA chief executive to obtain two signatures from the anti-doping violation panel in order to be able to compel witnesses to a hearing. 

The Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority Amendment Bill 2013 now returns to the lower house for a final tick of approval. 

AOC and AAP