Young people from different cultural backgrounds

Inclusion

The Australian Sports Commission describes inclusion as: ‘Providing a range of options to cater for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds, in the most appropriate manner possible’. Download the Australian Sports Commission fact sheet - Inclusion in Sport.

Inclusion is about ensuring that sport caters for the range of backgrounds, cultures, ages and abilities in the community who may wish to participate in various activities or roles in a club. Being inclusive is really about following best practice for what sport should be so that everyone can get the most out of it.

Diversity

Diversity broadly includes gender, race, disability, age, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex, and multi-faith. A good way to think about diversity is to think about your local community. Does your club reflect the diversity of your local community?  

Discrimination

It is discrimination when a person is treated less favourably (worse) than other people because they have a particular characteristic, such as their age, race, sex or disability. It is also discrimination when a person is disadvantaged compared to other people because they have a particular characteristic.

We have to discriminate all the time in sport. We discriminate to create fair and safe competition. Sometimes we discriminate simply to create participation opportunities. For example, we discriminate on age (Masters), gender (womens only leagues), by weight (boxing) and by ability (the handicap system in golf). This is perfectly within the law and is accepted as normal. Sometimes though, we treat people less favourably because of their background or a personal characteristic. This form of unfair discrimination can be against the law.  

Discrimination can be against the law if it is unfair and based on a person’s:

  • age
  • disability
  • race, including colour, national or ethnic origin or immigrant status
  • sex, pregnancy, marital or relationship status, family responsibilities or breastfeeding
  • sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status.

This is where it is important to understand the difference between fair and unfair discrimination based on a personal attribute. For example, it is not unfair to create an ‘over 45’s’ masters football competition that excludes people under 45 years old. It is reasonable and acceptable to do that.  Of course, the issue of what is fair and unfair, and whether it is based on a personal attribute or not can be difficult to determine at times. And it’s not that unfair discrimination is always a deliberate act. Often, unfair discrimination can occur inadvertently. This is why it is particularly important for administrators and committee members to understand what discrimination is and what to do to about it should it be an issue. 

If you would like more detailed information about discrimination law you can download the following Information Sheets: