It’s routine for two major parties to establish vague rules to suit themselves and the sports club rorts scandal is just the latest and most blatant abuse of public office.
This pork barreling is particularly offensive because in many cases it is poor value for money and so clearly not addressing the gaps in providing for physical activity. Nor is it in the public interest.
Public handouts for affluent club facilities hardly address the main criteria – a gap in availability or accessibility of community sport and physical activity.
The gender gap. Women are significantly under-represented in organised sport, compared to men, eg.
- 30% of footballers (all codes) and cricket players are women
- 20% of golfers are women
- 24% of CEOs of national sporting organisations are women
- 15% of high performance coaches are women
- 9% of Olympic Games accredited Australian coaches at Rio were women
The health & wealth gap. Obesity is now a major health risk with rates in the most advantaged areas of about 24.6%, compared to 38.5% in the most disadvantaged areas, according to this new Torrens University health study.
Minister McKenzie must resign over her conflict of interest and interference in proper decision making for political advantage, however, the grants rules themselves need to change so that:
- The criteria give priority to health outcomes and gender gaps
- It is made absolutely clear in ministerial codes of conduct that funding decisions must not be manipulated by any minister for party or personal advantage
- The criteria for funding are tightened to exclude wealthy clubs
- Priority is given to physical activities for children that are broader than organised sport, especially for girls and young women
And while we are at it, let’s establish a National Integrity Commission with powers to enforce ministerial codes.