Australian Athletes To Fight Doping Sanctions Proposed By Australian Olympic Committee
The Australian Athletes Alliance has described as "excessive" a submission from the Australian Olympic Committee to a Senate committee recommending criminal sanctions against anyone refusing an order to provide information on doping in sport, according to Wayne Smith of THE AUSTRALIAN. Federal Sports Minister Kate Lundy "has called for submissions and comment on proposed legislation to equip the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority with powers not only to investigate drugs in sport but to coerce witnesses to testify and to hand over any material demanded." As draconian as the ASADA Amendment Bill sounds, the AOC believes "it does not go far enough." AOC President John Coates "has called for far tougher penalties to be applied to any person withholding information about sports doping or providing false information." But AAA CEO Paul Marsh, who already has grave reservations about the bill as it currently is shaping, warned that the AOC proposal "would take it into dangerous territory." Marsh said, "The powers proposed are excessive. They would empower ASADA to make just about anyone in sport turn up where it wants, when it wants and provide every document or answer that it demands. To apply criminal sanctions for not following ASADA's every demand would be highly inappropriate in our democracy" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 2/26).