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‘Political’ appointments overshadow move to majority female board for Australian Sports Commission

‘Political’ appointments overshadow move to majority female board for Australian Sports Commission
November 7, 2017

Coinciding with Melbourne Cup day, Federal Sport Minister Greg Hunt has announced new appointments to the board of the Australian Sports Commission (ASC).

The appointments, which see the Federal Government sport agency gain a majority female board for the first time, have been marred by accusations of political bias with two of the three appointees having longstanding ties to the Liberal Party.

Making the announcement of the new board members, Minister Hunt advised that “Gabrielle Trainor, Andrea Mitchell and Mark Textor will add broad and extensive experience to the ASC Board, chaired by John Wylie AM.

“I am also delighted to announce the extension of ASC Board member Andrew Plympton’s term for a further three years.”

However, Textor is long-time key Liberal campaigner and strategist while Mitchell is a former Western Australian Liberal MP.

With the ASC’s board normally made up of ex-athletes and business people, the appointment of Textor, who, along with his business partner Lynton Crosby has worked on conservative campaigns in elections in Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom is seen as a major politicisation of the role.

Minister Hunt’s appointment statement advised that Textor's skills include "strategic insights", adding that Textor “has led many successful government and commercial campaigns that are defined by market research, corporate intelligence and strategic communication."

While having served as Western Australian MP from 2008 until losing her seat earlier this year, Mitchell began her career in physical education, before moving on to managerial positions with the Western Australian Department of Sport and Recreation.

She is a former President of Tennis West (from 1996 to 2008) and Director of Tennis Australia (1997 to 2008).

A former lawyer, journalist and public sector executive, Trainor has served on boards in the public and private sectors for more than 20 years across areas such as sports, infrastructure, urban development, public transport, tourism, construction, arts and culture, Indigenous advancement and welfare.

She was a founding member of the Greater Western Sydney Giants and was appointed an AFL Commissioner in 2016.

Minister Hunt added “the appointments have been made at a pivotal time for Australian sport as the ASC plays a lead role in the development of the Turnbull Government’s National Sport Plan.

“(The Plan) will provide a unified, long-term strategy for Australian sport across four key pillars; Participation, Performance, Prevention through physical activity and Integrity.

“These ASC Board appointments will add value to the implementation of the National Sport Plan given their impressive backgrounds.”

In respect of the Board’s gender balance, Minister Hunt concluded “the ASC has worked hard to advance the number of women on Australian sport boards and lead by example with six females among the 11 Directors on their Board.” 

The ASC will be hosting its biennial Our Sporting Future conference on the Gold Coast.

Image: The Australian Sports Commission's Canberra headquarters.

2nd November 2017 - SPORTING CONFERENCES CONVERGE ON THE GOLD COAST

23rd October 2017 - SENIOR APPOINTMENTS TO ENHANCE AUSTRALIAN SPORTS COMMISSION LEADERSHIP

29th August 2017 - PETER CONDE APPOINTED NEW AIS DIRECTOR

18th August 2017 - AIS PERFORMANCE MANAGER TO LEAD SURFING’S CHARGE TO TOKYO OLYMPICS

18th August 2017 - FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SPORT PLANS OPPOSED BY STATES

9th June 2017 - AIS DIRECTOR MATT FAVIER MOVES TO HEAD HOCKEY AUSTRALIA 

22nd May 2017 - FEDERAL SPORTS MINISTER SUGGESTS NEW LOTTERY TO FUND NATIONAL SPORTS PLAN 

10th May 2017 - FEDERAL BUDGET BACKS HEALTHY LIFESTYLES AND GOLD COAST COMMONWEALTH GAMES

16th March 2017 - JOHN WYLIE REAPPOINTED TO LEAD AUSTRALIAN SPORTS COMMISSION THROUGH TO THE TOKYO OLYMPICS

14th February 2017 - AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE BLOCKS AUSTRALIAN INSTITUTE OF SPORT FROM TOKYO 2020 PLANNING 

13th December 2016 - KATE PALMER UNVEILED AS NEW AUSTRALIAN SPORTS COMMISSION CHIEF EXECUTIVE 

17th June 2016 - SPORTS COMMISSION ADVANCES GOVERNANCE REFORM TO UNIFY SPORTS AND BUILD TRUST

28th October 2014 - WOMEN ARE ‘SECOND-CLASS CITIZENS’ IN SPORT GOVERNANCE AND MANAGEMENT 

21st August 2012 - BOARD DIVERSITY A KEY TO SPORT MANAGEMENT AND FUNDING


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