Senator the Hon. George Brandis S.C.
Minister for the Arts and Sport
Former Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts; Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate archived website
Minister for the Arts and Sport from 23 November 2001 to 30 January 2007
Senator Kate Lundy, the Shadow Minister for Sport, had made a grave error of judgment in endorsing the AFL’s “three strikes” drug policy, the Federal Sports Minister Senator George Brandis said in Melbourne today.
“Senator Lundy’s statement yesterday, reported in today’s Melbourne Age, suggests she is comfortable with the AFL’s lenient policy, at the very time the AFL has itself indicated that it intends to review the policy, and when other major Australian sports, including the NRL, have moved to adopt much tougher policies. Senator Lundy is behind the game, out of step with community attitudes to drugs and out of touch with Australian sport,” Senator Brandis said.
Senator Brandis also pointed out that, as recently as 21 May this year, Senator Lundy was saying that the AFL’s “three strikes” policy wasn’t working. Speaking in a Senate Estimates hearing on 21 May, Senator Lundy said:
“… I suppose we now have demonstrable evidence that their policy has not worked …”
When challenged by Victorian Liberal Senator Michael Ronaldson whether she supported the policy, Senator Lundy replied:
“I do not because it is not working. If it were working and it was effective in changing the culture of these clubs and stamping out drug use then I would defend the policy. The policy, however, is not working and so I believe there is a case for a better policy to be put in place.”
[Senate Environment, Communications, Information Technology and the Arts Estimates Committee Hansard Monday 21 May 2007 pp. 113-114]
“If the ‘three strikes’ policy wasn’t working at the end of May, what has changed in the 3 ½ months since to persuade Senator Lundy that it is now a good policy?” Senator Brandis said. “The truth is that the Shadow Minister is all over the place on this issue. Sending out weak messages on drugs in sport, as she did yesterday, is the very last thing a person who would be the Sports Minister in a Labor Government, should be doing.
“By contrast, Minister Pyne and I have been working throughout the year, in co-operation with sports leaders, to crack down on the scourge of drugs in sport. The contrast could not be clearer,” Senator Brandis said.
Media contact: Travis Bell 0448 950 248
5 September 2007 102/07