Government reintroduces National Sports Tribunal legislation


Last week, the Federal Government introduced a revised bill into Parliament to establish the National Sports Tribunal.1 This follows an earlier draft bill introduced into Parliament in February 2019 which did not proceed due to the recent Federal election.

The creation of a National Sports Tribunal was a key recommendation of the Wood Review of Australia's Sports Integrity Arrangements which published its final report and recommendations in August last year. We consider that the reintroduction of the National Sports Tribunal legislation is a signal of intent from the Government that it is motivated to see key recommendations of the Wood Review implemented in the short to medium term.

The revised bill

The new draft of the proposed legislation contains some minor amendments to the earlier bill, however the fundamental features of the proposed tribunal remain the same. In particular, it remains the Government’s intention that the business of the tribunal be separated into three divisions - an anti-doping division, a general division and an appeals division.
Although the wording of the proposed legislation is now known, much of the operational aspects of the tribunal which will have a particular impact for sporting organisations will be provided for in the 'rules' of the tribunal. These rules will be implemented by separate regulations which are yet to be publicly released.

Key considerations for sporting organisations

As the draft legislation progresses through Parliament, some key considerations for sporting organisations are likely to include:

  1. How the rules of each sporting body will interact with the proposed new National Sports Tribunal having regard to the potential advantages the tribunal may present; and
  2. The identification of particular disputes by each sporting body which will be referrable to the tribunal’s general division.

We have started to advise sporting organisations to assist them to understand and navigate the proposed new legislative regime and we would be glad to discuss these recent developments with you.

We will be continuing to monitor the progress of the draft bill through Parliament and we will be publishing further updates to our networks and on our website at key milestones.

1a copy of the wording of the proposed bill and the explanatory memorandum can be accessed here.


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