WHETHER you’re a fan of AFL team Essendon or not, it will be very hard not to be quietly cheering on the Bombers this weekend.
After all, it was Essendon that copped it hardest after the so-called “blackest day in Australian sport”, and endured two fraught years before this week being found not guilty of being drugs cheats.
They can now get on with playing the game. But there are some politicians and investigators left with some ’splaining to do.
Two years ago then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard and two of her ministers, Kate Lundy and Jason Clare, took to the stage with football chiefs to talk about the release of the Australian Crime Commission’s report into organised crime and sport, a move which – to borrow a quote from The Australian – “set anti-doping investigators the unenviable task of having to gather evidence with intense publicity and, at times, political pressure surrounding their work”.
This whole stinking mess has brought nothing but disrepute to everyone involved in it.
And it remains impossible not to speculate that the whole saga was unleashed as a “look, there’s a unicorn” moment to divert attention from the trouble-plagued Gillard government.
Ms Gillard and her former ministers have brought no glory to themselves with their ham-fisted theatrics.
This whole sorry affair stands in stark contrast to a decision made by Ms Gillard that has done so much good.
I am referring, of course, to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, which is investigating how institutions like schools, churches, sports clubs and government organisations have responded to allegations and instances of child sexual abuse.
I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that there are children who are now, quite literally, sleeping safer in their beds because of the evidence being brought before the royal commission.
If Ms Gillard is looking to name the greatest legacy of her prime ministership, she should seriously consider establishing the royal commission as one of her shining moments.
As for the “blackest day in Australian sport”… Oh dear. Just oh dear.
- Jody Springett
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