By Patrick Smith
Published August 17, 2012
AUSTRALIAN sporting organisations that do not include women in their governance structures could lose their funding from the Australian Sports Commission.
In the aftermath of the London Games, federal Sports Minister Kate Lundy believes Australia has fallen behind the world in good governance, with women overlooked in running Australia’s Olympic sports.
Senator Lundy’s demand for better governance will come today when she addresses the Australian Rugby Union women’s lunch in Sydney, her first speech since returning from London.
“Those sports that will grow, those sports that earn the right for our investment, will increasingly be able to demonstrate their strength in governance,” she will say.
She believes funding for sport is not the problem, an assessment with which the Australian Olympic Committee agrees, and she will say it is acknowledged Australia has its funding at the right level: “The challenge is spending it effectively. This was reinforced by AOC president John Coates in his comment that our level of success is no longer dependent on funding, as we have addressed that issue.
“However, the sports world is still vastly under-represented by women in leadership positions, with a direct correlation to the broadcasting of women’s sport and its commercialisation,” the senator will say in her speech.
“The gender breakdown of the boards of Olympic sports is not an area where Australia leads the world.
“Of the sports that recently competed at the Games, two have no women on their boards – swimming and judo. But gender equality is no better in the other Olympic sports: 11 have only one female board member, five have two, four have three and one sport, handball, has five.
“As certain and predictable as the four-year Olympic cycle, now is the opportunity for Olympic sports to reflect on their performances. It is an appropriate time to take stock. As Olympic sports undertake this important reflection, it will be important they take a leaf out of rugby’s book, and look at their governance structures.”
The ARU, forced into a governance review by the minister earlier this year, has appointed Ann Sherry to its board as it continues to restructure.
Senator Lundy’s overall view of Australia’s much-scrutinised performance is mostly positive.
“Our Australian team was brilliant,” she will say. “On the simplistic but popular measure of the medal count, we reached our forecast 35 medals and came 10th.”
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Published August 2012