Australia's Next Prime Minister Won't Pressure AFL To Tighten Drug Policy
Australia's likely next prime minister, Tony Abbott, insists the Coalition does not have "the slightest intention" of pressuring the Australian Football League "to stiffen its illicit-drug testing policy, rejecting expectations to the contrary," according to Jesse Hogan of THE AGE. The AFL and AFL Players Association "would not be drawn on the implications of a change of government," although players "privately fear renewed pressure to significantly change the testing regimen they volunteered for." The sports portfolio "is now held by the Nationals' Luke Hartsuyker." On Tuesday, he "commended the AFL for strengthening its illicit-drug policy but did not rule out seeking additional amendments." In a statement, Hartsuyker said, "The Coalition has always supported taking a tough stance on illicit drugs in sport. I note the AFL has enhanced its out-of-season drug-testing regime and, if I am the sport minister in a new Coalition government, I will work with the AFL to reduce illicit-drug use within the code." On Wednesday, Opposition Leader Abbott "offered greater certainty on the issue," countering the suggestion the Coalition may pressure the AFL and AFLPA "to toughen rules surrounding voluntary out-of-competition testing." An Abbott spokesperson said, "The Coalition has not the slightest intention of getting involved in this matter. It is a matter for the code itself to police" (THE AGE, 9/4).