The 2021 Diversity and Inclusion in Sport Forum was a livestreamed panel discussion conducted in October 2021 with Scott McDougall, Carmel Guerra OAM, Lilian Shamoon, Maia Tua Davidson, Faye Shee-Durnion, Kerry Tavrou, Courtney Hagen, Mark deWeerd, Taliqua Clancy and Tanya Hosch, discussing issues affecting Multicultural Youth and Indigenous Youth across Australia.
PBTR acknowledges the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and other First Nations people from around the world and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and culture.
>>Mr Newell: Good morning, everyone and welcome to the sixth annual National Diversity & Inclusion in Sports Forum presented by the Centre for Multicultural Youth, Play by the Rules, NSW Office of Sport, Monash and Victoria Universities and Pride in Sport. For those who don’t know me, my name is Beau Newell and my pronouns are he, him and it’s my privilege to welcome you all here today to enjoy this amazing event put together by our organising committee. People from the organisations that I just mentioned to volunteer their time and effort into putting together this amazing event.
I’d like to begin today’s proceedings by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we all meet and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging. I’m coming to you from Awabakal country and I extend a warm welcome to any indigenous people or people of colour who may be joining today’s events. Sovereignty on these lands has never been ceded. It was, is and always will be aboriginal lands.
The purpose of today’s forum is to share, share ideas, information, insights, strategies and best practise across the sporting sector to explore future approaches and solutions to help all of us in our inclusion and diversity journeys. We’d also like to acknowledge today and thank our hardworking scribers, who you’ll see their work showing up in the live captioning for this event. Thank you all for joining us for today’s broadcast. We can see that we’ve got over 100 people that are already joining us and that number is climbing.
Just some housekeeping things before we get started. The chat feature has been configured so that you can submit a question to our panel if you’d like, using the blue raised hand icon at the top of your screen. And we’ll do our best to answer as many of these questions as possible, so I encourage you to utilise this feature and show that this is a safe space to ask any questions to help you to learn. There are no silly questions today. Also, just to note we will be recording today’s session which will include closed captioning and you’ll be able to access these from both the CMY and Play by the Rules websites respectively in the coming days.
Please, rewatch them later and share them with your friends and colleagues, moving forward from today. Just a quick trigger warning as well; Some of the content and discussions that may be within today’s session may contain information about mental health, anxiety, suicide and suicide ideation and it may trigger personal emotions. If the content of this session raises any concerns for you, support is available. And with this in mind, I want to mention we are supporting Lifeline today. Today’s event is free and if you do have a spare, few dollars to support Lifeline’s work on mental health, please do so.
As some of you may already know, October is Mental Health Awareness Month and Lifeline has held a campaign that encourages people to check in with themselves and their mental health. Your donations will go a long way to support their important work so please visit the Play by The Rules website and dig deep. Now without further ado, I’d like to hand over to Scott McDougall, the Queensland Human Rights’ Commissioner to officially open Part One of today’s forum. Commissioner, over to you.
>>Mr McDougall: Thank you, Beau. It’s a great honour and a privilege to be asked to open the 2021 Diversity and Inclusion in Sport Forum. Today, I’m joining you from the beautiful land and waters of the Turrbal and Yugera people here in Brisbane and I pay my respects to aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people throughout Australia and wherever you are joining us from today.
In making that acknowledgement, I want to recognise also, the unfinished business in Australia and in particular, the fact that Australia is still yet to respond to the very dignified and modest proposals put forward by indigenous Australians in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. I have a great personal interest in today’s forum. Having been married into the mob on Stradbroke Island, I have four children who proudly identify as members of the Gurenpul clan of the Quandamooka people and I know how important sport has been to their personal development.
We all know that sport can have a transformative power in our lives. A couple of years ago, I was asked to give a speech at the Gabba at the Brisbane Lions citizenship ceremony and I talked about an event in my life that had a huge impact on me. When I was a 5-year-old, my mother returned to her country town, which is a place called Beaudesert just south-west of Brisbane, and she had five children and five suitcases and that was it. Things were pretty tough for the family. Anyway, one day one of my uncles turned up at the house with a pair of second-hand soccer boots and he took me down to the local soccer club and signed me up.
To this day, I think that simple act of kindness and inclusion on the part of my uncle had a huge bearing on my own personal self-confidence and self-esteem. It was really nice to be able to send my uncle a copy of the speech all those years later. He’s in his 90’s and he was terribly chuffed. I don’t think he remembered bringing the soccer boots at all.
Now that Queensland is hosting the 2032 Olympics and Paralympics, we have this fantastic opportunity to drive a diversity and inclusion agenda in sport. Recently, the former Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda and I met with the Director-General of the Department of Premier and Cabinet in Queensland and we highlighted the fact that the closing-the-gap targets in Australia are due to be met in 2031. That’s the year before the Brisbane Olympics.
The whole world will be watching Australia in 2032 and they’ll be looking to see the progress that we’ve made since Cathy Freeman carried the weight of Australia’s unfinished business around her shoulders and still managed to win the gold medal in the 400 metres back in 2000. There is a lot of work to be done in the next 10 years but we do have a great lead-in time and this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity that we have.
We really need to make sure that our laws and policies and procedures are world’s best practise and up to scratch. And currently in Queensland, I’m conducting a review of Queensland’s antidiscrimination laws to ensure that there aren’t any gaps in protections. One gap that we’ve already identified relates to the exemption that not-for-profit organisations in Queensland have. And there was a high-profile case that I was involved in, probably about 10 years ago where an African-Australian basketball team was excluded from a competition but was unable to take advantage of our discrimination laws in Queensland. We’ll be looking and that and we’ll be making sure that people from any background can receive the benefits of participating in sport. And before that review, our discussion paper will be coming out at the end of November and I would encourage all of you to make a submission to us about it.
On that note, I’d like to wish you well for today’s forum. Please engage your creative brains to generate some positive ideas. It’s those ideas that we need from on the ground to turn them into policy, to turn them into action. I’m really looking forward to seeing the outcome of the fruits of your labour today and I look forward to receiving the report of your work at the next meeting of the Play By The Rules committee. All the best and thank you very much for your time.
>>Mr Newell: Thank you so much, Commissioner, and now without further ado, I’ll hand over to the CEO of the Centre for Multicultural Youth, Carmel. Carmel, over to you.
>>Ms Guerra: Great, thank you very much for that lovely welcome and thank you, Scott, for that wonderful overview and introduction to today’s forum. I’d also like to begin by acknowledging the traditional custodians of the land on which we’re all meeting and acknowledge the lands on which I am, with is the Wurundjeri people, down south in Victoria by the beautiful banks of the Mary Creek. Wow, how exciting it is to be here today for the 6th national meeting. I still remember the conversation that myself and a couple of other key instigators behind this forum had 7 years about wanting to dream about this happening, that we wanted to start. It started in Victoria but we wanted to take it national because we knew that these issues around inclusion and diversity were fundamental to sport and particularly, to the communities who engage in sport, who want to engage in sport and possibly hadn’t had the chance to.
It's really exciting to be here. I am really quite excited also about the panel we’ve got. I think it’s going to be very exciting, interesting and hopefully, challenge some of our thinking and that you’ll all have an opportunity to ask us some questions as we go along. Firstly, for those of you that don’t know CMY and the work we do, we are a Victorian organisation. We also look after a national organisation called the Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network and we also have recently launched a new sport organisation called the Centre for Multicultural Sport Australia.
Sport is at the heart of a lot of what we do. That’s why we’re so passionate about being here today with this wonderful panel because we know the power of sport, but we’re also today going to also talk about some of the challenges of sport. I think we might start.
Before we start, and I’m going to try and manage this technology today, just for those of you listening who have to be at these events. I’ve got three devices going to get me in and things happening. One of the things we want to do with you throughout this conversation is have instant polls. I’m really excited about this technology, I must say, when I found out about it. We’re going to ask you a question. We’re going to get the poll results pretty quickly and then, we’re going to converse about what was said amongst our panel members. And I’m going to throw to them, sometimes expectedly, maybe unexpectedly at times to get them to give us their thinking.
Let’s get started. The first poll question that we’d like to hear from you is, what is your level of knowledge of issues relating to multicultural use in sport. The scale will be between 0 to 5, 0 meaning nothing, I have a lot to learn and 5 being I know it all. If you could pop your answer in now. We’ll also ask you this question at the end and we’ll check on what the results were pre and post. Without any further ado, I would like to now introduce my fellow panellists. I will hand over to them in a minute but I’ll just introduce them generally. You can see them all up on your screen. They are Fay Shee-Durnion who I do know quite well, who’s got a great passion about sports, Mia Tua-Davidson and Lillian Shannon. Welcome to the three of you.
The way we’re going to start today is I’m going to hand over to each of them and they’re going to tell us a little bit about themselves and maybe, a little bit about their story. Faye, over to you.
>>Ms Shee-Durnion: Thank you, Carmel. I’d also like to just acknowledge and pay my respects to the traditional owners of where I’m calling in from today. I am on the lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation in Melbourne’s northwest. It means a great deal for me to be able to join you all for this conversation today alongside the expertise of you, Carmel, as well as Mia and Lily. I still feel quite new to hearing my own voice on the issues that we’re going to be tackling today. I’m sure that I’ll probably doing as much learning as I will be sharing my own perspective. I guess I should explain why it is that I’m here.
As Carmel said, my name is Faye Shee-Durnion. I’m 19 years old and I’m a second-year Uni student majoring in media, politics and international studies at Melbourne Uni. I moved from Northern Ireland when I was very, very young and I come from a family with a cultural history in Malaysia as well as in Ireland. As a multicultural young person, I am involved with CMY as a youth volunteer and in their reverbed mental health initiative and also, as a speaker for their Shout Out program. I’m lucky enough to have many opportunities which I seek out but which are also presented to me in which my voice is elevated as a creative young woman with dual identities. I’m passionate about environmental activism, mental health advocacy, antidiscrimination rights and youth empowerment. And so, I seek to have conversations in my everyday as well as on larger scales about the intersectionality of these sorts of issues and their pervasiveness in our lives.
But funnily enough, in the range of things that I usually describe as taking my interests, sports is not often one of them, not so literally at least. At no time previously have I been close to describing myself as an athlete but I do recognise that there are problems in the sports industry that are reflective of my passions specifically and in some ways, sports is also the answer to those issues. In saying that though, I am quite an active person. I like to go for bike rides and I work out often. I used to swim in a silver-grade squad for a few years and I really love rowing, which I started in Year 12. Growing up, sport just wasn’t really a valid priority for me. My parents endorsed a more realistic engagement in academics and even in high school, I always stopped myself from joining the school sporting teams because I hadn’t done much when I was younger so I feared that I’d make myself look like a fool as opposed to all my other peers.
But with the restrictions and our lockdown and the limitation of my ability to engage in active activities, it showed me how greatly I care about movement and what it means to people in terms of physical, mental health, entertainment, even that socialisation aspect. I’m coming to this conversation today with an open mind but also, some other perspectives on how, as a young person who sees the issues with accessing sports, we can work towards creating those inclusive sporting organisations and hopefully, a sense of pride when 2032 rolls around.
>>Ms Guerra: Thank you, Faye, for that lovely story. I’ve got a few questions about that story of yours a bit later, but I’m now going to hand over to Mia. Over to you.
>>Ms Tua-Davidson: Hello everyone. My name is Mia Tua-Davidson. I’m the National Manager of Welcoming Clubs. I’m coming in from Turrbal and Jagera country today in Brisbane and I’d like to acknowledge the traditional owners. Welcoming Clubs works specifically with clubs around advancing inclusive practise. We used to work with young people and families from refugee backgrounds here in Brisbane and shifted the model, feeling like we could do more if we supported clubs to build their capacity in that space. I’m also the Head Coach of South’s Logan Magpie BHP Women’s Premiership Program and I’m a committee member for a really small culture and sports club called Taiwhanake Youth Academy which is rugby seven’s and also, Kapa haka.
Unlike Faye, my entire life has been based around sport. I’ve been an athlete myself. I’ve been really fortunate to represent New Zealand and play rugby union in a number of places overseas and coach as well so really diverse experiences in the sporting space. It’s something I’m very passionate about. I think it should be accessible to everybody regardless of their background or their ability level. I think if anything, Covid has made a greater need for sport and recreation and physical activity for the benefits that it can bring to all aspects of our life. I’m really excited to be here today and share some of the insights that we have from Welcoming Clubs and from my experiences as well. Thank you.
>>Ms Guerra: Great, thanks Mia. Now, over to you Lillian, for your story.
>>Ms Shamoon: Thank you. My name is Lilly Shamoon I’m the Youth Project Officer at [STARTTS] and I work with young people from refugee and asylum-seeking backgrounds. I also volunteer in the local sports clubs in my community. I coach soccer and I play soccer myself. And I’d like to pay my respects and acknowledge the original owners of the land. Thank you.
>>Ms Guerra: Thanks for that. Before we go to the next poll question, I just want to let you know for the panel members as well that out of that question of how much our audience know, knowledge about issues relating to multicultural young people in sport, it’s pretty high. It’s probably ¾ or just under, who acknowledge between 2 and 3. It looks like we’ve got a pretty engaged, informed audience so I think I want us today to test our thinking more broadly and start to push some of those boundaries.
Next poll question that I’d like you to do – and thank you again for being so prompt and engaging in our polls – the next question is, number 2, how ready is your club or sport to talk about racism? This one intrigues me somewhat more. Again, the question is how ready is your club or sport to talk about racism. What do we think people are going to answer to that, Lilly? You spend your day job working with refugee immigrants. What do you think?
>>Ms Shamoon: I think they should be ready because at the start, we have a very clear policy on no racism and our offices are all based in the west and southwest of Sydney where it’s a hub for multicultural communities. Let’s get into it.
>>Ms Guerra: Right, okay. Any other view from you, Mia, from where you sit? Have you got some views on what you think is going to come out?
>>Ms Tua-Davidson: We deliver bi centre training to clubs for racism and discrimination and I would say, not really. It’s a really, really challenging conversation for clubs to have.
>>Ms Guerra: Here we go. The answers are up and I think we can share them. We’ve had close to 120 people respond. We’ve got 6.6% who say, no way, I’m not ready at all. We’ve got 35% that say, let’s get into it, so that’s great. That probably means there is a whole group of people there wanting to engage. And really encouragingly, we’ve got 54% saying something in-between, which is probably a good indication of where people are at. For you, Fay, what does that tell you when you hear that really? There are 38% saying getting into it, something in-between. What do you think that translates to what sports have to do about racism?
>>Ms Shee-Durnion: I’m not entirely surprised by that result because I think the question posed is how ready is your club or your sport to talk about racism isn’t exactly a personal question, even if we’re all coming to this conversation as openminded individuals. The fact of the matter is that there is a lot of systemic issues and that is oftentimes hard. Like Mia said, it’s a hard conversation and for a club to acknowledge that there might even be racism happening, and there most certainly is in most situations, is definitely difficult. It’s good to hear. I think 30% saying let’s get into it is a good indication and 50% is like, I might feel this way, my club might not be ready for it, and that’s what that’s reflective of, I’d say.
>>Ms Guerra: Great, thank you. And I think my own observation also as someone who has worked in this space and this issue, I would have thought even 5 years ago, I suspect that this level of honesty wouldn’t have been there around the club. I’m really encouraged. What do you think, Mia, as someone who’s lived in sport in their whole life? What do you think about that kind of openness of response?
>>Ms Tua-Davidson: Yes, I think it’s great. I think it does demonstrate that people are becoming more openminded and they know that the conversation needs to happen. I think it’s that next step where the challenge is, is having that conversation. And like Fay said, acknowledging that it might be an issue. I think people get into a place where they have to accept that they are not the centre of those conversations sometimes and they don’t have to be the perpetrator but it quite often doesn’t reflect well on the club or the environment, then you kind of have to step away from that and look at the bigger picture and the impact that it can have, if your club is a place that’s safe and doesn’t tolerate discrimination or racism.
>>Ms Guerra: That’s great. I want us now to talk – we’ll have another poll coming soon – but I want us to talk a little bit about, in order to tackle things like racism and inclusion, we probably have to talk a little bit about what the barriers are for lots of refugee and migrant young people who want to participate in sports. I’m just wondering, Lillian, do you want to start on that around the groups of young people you work with, what are the barriers for them in wanting to participate in sport? Can you take us through your thoughts?
>>Ms Shamoon: Sure. Some of the common barriers that we come across is language issues and lack of local knowledge. For example, where to register or where to go to sign up for a sport. Another one I’d say would be expenses. That would be hard for them to afford the expenses associated with insurance, registrations, uniform and equipment. Transport is a big challenge as well. Also, they may feel intimidated to play in a new environment and probably feel more comfortable to play with their own communities. I would say they may have gender-related issues including discrimination, stigma and culture. And lastly, geographically speaking, multicultural young people living in areas, sport clubs lack resources such as fields, venues and variety of sport as well. That’s what I’m thinking about.
>>Ms Guerra: Great. How about for you, Fay? You said that in your journey, you were able to play some degree of sport. Have you got ideas of what other young people, either through yourself or your friendship network or even, through the work you’ve done, of what some of those barriers are for the young people and what they see the challenges as?
>>Ms Shee-Durnion: Yes, definitely. I think Lilly has given us a really great overview of all those aspects but I think often, multicultural young people get lumped in as having issues with engagement, if they are acknowledged as a group that aren’t as engaged because of their cultural, their families. And I think it’s quite easy to generalise that those communities might just not value sport as much as education or something like that. But I think that the hesitancy, those barriers are linked to the larger issues. Even if I have to speak to my own experience, one of those things is probably seeing representation. For example, I don’t look like most rowers. And it can be easily put-----
>>Ms Guerra: What do rowers look like, Fay?
>>Ms Shee-Durnion: This is the thing. The fact that I can even say that means that there is something in my mind or in other people’s minds about what they should look like. When I go down to the Yarra, most of the clubs are just flocking with white private school kids. That’s what rowers look like and they’ve got their fancy gear. I don’t even like athletics. That doesn’t work for me so just moving around the clubs is already a bit uneasy. I started in Year 12 so I was lucky to get into it and I encouraged my friend group who happen to be more culturally diverse, but we were doing it at a private all girl’s catholic school. Most of the kids were Caucasian, white so when we went to the club, it was the same sort of thing. There wasn’t anyone that looked like us and immediately, it was like, okay, how does that sit. We have to create a space for ourselves, at least, feel safe enough to lean on each other but that shouldn’t have been the responsibility of us.
It's also coupled in with the elitism and that lack of representation in sports alike. If I were to have to face that alone, I definitely would have been more discouraged from it. Yes, that idea of representation, being able to see other people like you like Lilly was saying, a lot of migrant and refugee young people from those backgrounds, maybe more inclined to join if they were actually able to do it with people who they feel are like them who would understand that that tackles those language issues as well. But it’s about having the resources, I think. That’s just one aspect.
>>Ms Guerra: Yes, and that whole issue of having people that look like you there is really an interesting one that I think we might talk a little bit further on later because it’s something that’s emerged in a lot of the research. And I mean in – and so, I don’t want to be disrespectful to anyone from rowing on the audience but you’re probably right. It is one of those sports where you don’t see a lot of multicultural communities engaging. And that’s not to say they don’t want it but it is probably an issue of – even someone like you, as you said, who’s articulate and although has found it quite intimidating. And I suspect for a lot of the sports, they don’t understand the extent to which young women like yourself or others turning up to that is a really big effort, isn’t it? And then, to kind of look around and not feel like there is someone like you is challenging, isn’t it? Yeah.
Mia, do you have some thoughts on that? And maybe with you, what if we even take you a bit further around looking at families and communities because obviously, young people are not an island. They live in families and communities. Can you take us through a little bit about young people’s challenges and what it means for families?
>>Ms Tua-Davidson: Yes. Everything that Lilly and Fay said, 100%. I think the only addition I’d make to that, and I’m contradicting my own presence here, but having young people involved in the conversations that are going to involve them right from the start is something that certainly, I’ve seen here in Queensland as like, year after year, these programs come out and they’re delivered by people that don’t have a connection at all with the people that are currently excluded from those sporting systems.
That’s really important. If you’re trying to target a particular audience, they have to be there. They have to have a seat at the table and they have to be involved in the decision-making and the co-design. And that includes the families and the communities that support those young people because they’re the ones at the end of the day, that are going to be doing the work around to support the young person. And that includes the clubs as well. Quite often, clubs have come-and-try days or those kinds of things that are directed from outside the club, but at the end of the day, if the young person’s going to join that club. It’s the club that needs the resources, the support and the capacity-building to make sure that the young person and that family is welcome and included and ends up staying there.
I think moving some resources to club land, bringing families and communities into the conversations right from the start is really important. That’s where I’ve seen the greatest success in programs that we’ve been involved with. I had a really interesting conversation with Longhorn’s basketball down in Victoria last week where they basically have created their program outside the system because the system just doesn’t work for their young people. And that means that they’ve been able to build those relationships with families. One of the things that we spoke about with them is whether they felt like racism was an issue, but they said no, it was actually just the disadvantage. And if the disadvantage could be addressed first, then that will address a lot of the barriers before any of the other things that stops people coming back to sport.
But having them involved in the conversation right from the start is so, so important, asking them what they want, asking what suits their needs, trying to have things play spaced, local, adapting the models, supporting clubs to adapt their models as well. That’s really challenging for traditional sports, to think that there might be something different that is equally beneficial that brings in members, that brings in income and those types of things.
>>Ms Guerra: Fay, tell me, because a lot of the work we’ve found nationally too, is that often the challenges that the actual young people want to play sport. So, the challenge often isn’t young people wanting to play sport. As I think Fay mentioned earlier, often the family’s priority is keeping them at school, particularly if they’re new arrivals in communities. Their first priority is, I want my child to go to school. Rightly so. Being a child of migrants myself, when I took up sport my parents thought it was a complete waste of time and that was over 40 years ago. And still, 40 years later, the young people we work with say the same thing.
I think the challenge is the families – not always, but the families. What, if any of you, have done that? I don’t know. Lilly, is that something you must have to address with the programs you’re running? What have you done to help get the families engaged?
>>Ms Shamoon: I’m going to start very easy. We use translated materials and forms just to inform the families and let them know, make it easier for them to understand what their kids are doing, even provide access through current organisations that are supporting sport engagement for youth to support families with vouchers to be able to help the kids join sport clubs, even maybe assist them with subsidised payments. One of my favourite ones is invite high-profile multicultural sports people to come speak to family and young people and just to show them that sport does make a different in people’s lives. You don’t have to just concentrate on education.
Yes, it is important but you can have both. Even invite family, like the young people and the person to visit professional clubs to feel connected with the sport. That’s another one that usually works with them. Ask clubs for subsidised payments for young people, even explain to them that there is payment plans because I think expenses, it’s a very challenging issue for families. Playing sport when you can have education so free and you need to pay for your own sport, so having the concept to play sport overseas is usually, you get selected. From my experience, I played overseas soccer so you would get selected. You don’t have to pay anything and then, you get trained to become a player.
The concept of joining a club here is that you need to make the payment. For parents, they need to understand the new concept and what a club means in Australia. I think just explaining the new concept to them, that it’s different to back home, is very important as well.
>>Ms Guerra: Great. And how about from your perspective, Fay? What do you think we could do to help get informed families or to help young people with information to talk to their parents about? What can club or service providers do to help families understand the importance for those young people who want to play sport? That sport is valuable and has more than just its physical benefits. You know the research about how it helps you study and your mental health. Have you got any ideas of what might work?
>>Ms Shee-Durnion: I was just nodding away at everything you were saying. I think that was brilliant. I think we should definitely be prioritising things like grassroot programs where we can acknowledge exactly what a community need. And as Mia was saying before, that idea of having everyone involved in the dialogue of what people want and what they need. If we’ve established that young people want to play sports and they do, it’s fine, but at the very least, that issue of finance is a huge overbearing net. I’m able to do rowing now but it’s only because I’ve got a part-time job. I pay for my own membership. It’s expensive and I know that even soccer, literally every sport has these massive fees that come with it nowadays, especially if the kids want to pursue it on some sort of serious level.
Which is why I think the idea of informal sports as well, in those diverse communities is really, really important. I was speaking to my friends recently, I know that in the Western suburbs specifically, basketball is a really big thing and just to be able to go and just hang out with your friends. It’s that kind of thing but not everyone has these communities or might want to do that and they don’t know how to access those things. If we have those opportunities where there is informal sports, people can get more involved in them that sort of way.
I think the idea of trying to get people from those communities who understand the value already, who can speak in the language if that’s what preferred, to really communicate with families is the best way to get through because you want to talk about those transformative benefits, that it is something valuable outside of school and there are opportunities that can stem from that. I know CMY has those Balkan sports as well as welcome sports programs. Even those transition programs which try and integrate your interests from those sporting programs into potentially industry-based jobs, which is, I think a larger conversation but something that’s really important.
>>Ms Guerra: That’s really useful. We might come back to some of the fabulous points the three of you have made. I want to do one more poll and then, we’ll start taking some questions from the audience as well, which is, with the focus on the Olympics, the women’s World Cup here, there is a lot of work nationally, isn’t there, around getting more young women playing sport. I just wondered if we could take a poll around asking the people online, how well do you think clubs are doing in dealing with issues of inclusion for girls and women? If people could get onto that really quickly and I’ll share the result. What do you think about that, Mia? If you’re working with clubs a lot in Brisbane, what are you finding out? What do you reckon the answer is going to be to this?
>>Ms Tua-Davidson: I think a lot of clubs really are trying. I think it’s uncharted territory. Some are really genuine in their efforts, whether that’s because it’s good for business and it’s a 50% of the population they may not have included before or more of a social responsibility, your focus. I think clubs really are trying and there’s a lot of facilities funding as well that’s making that more attractive. I think the important thing is that it’s not a high-performance focus, that we’re looking at including all women and girls. That’s really important because we know that-----
>>Ms Guerra: What do you mean by that, Mia? Can you take us through what you mean by that?
>>Ms Tua-Davidson: High performance? I think the sports that you see doing really well and having enormous growth is because there are really obvious pathways to the top for a lot of the girls. Rugby league that I coach is a really good example. I think it’s really important at club level that we don’t only focus on those pathways and that high-performance but there’s lots of options for anybody that wants to play. They don’t have to be looking to play for the NRLW or the State of Origin or things like that. Particularly for girls because we know that they drop off if they don’t have something that’s relevant to their level and a place where they can continue to develop.
>>Ms Guerra: That makes perfect sense, doesn’t it? At the moment, the poll results are – I’m just reading one of my devices so excuse me while I check the figures. Out of that 140 or so people that have filled in, we’ve got about 1.5% say not at all. That’s pretty insignificant. There is probably 40% or more saying that some inclusion work has been attempted, so that probably resonates a bit with what you’re saying, Mia, isn’t it? And then, there’s about another 48% saying they’re trying hard but have got some headway. Actually, it’s not bad. We’ve got close to 10% saying that they’ve had some success.
That’s not bad. I’m just wondering if there are any examples? Maybe again, going to you this time, Lilly, could you talk to us about where you think inclusion is being done well? We’ve got the panel we’ve got Mia who is part of the sports. Fay, a young person, you’re at the other end a bit like probably a bit like some people in our audience who are working with these communities wanting to connect them to sport. Can you tell us about any really positive examples maybe, where you think it’s worked? If you could share that with us, that would be great.
>>Ms Shamoon: Sure. I think the best model of intervention is when community organisations like Start and other organisations are in partner with peak sporting organisations like Football NSW. I myself facilitated a program with Football NSW called Community FC. And Community FC was developed to provide playing, coaching and leadership opportunities for multicultural young people. What we did was incorporate the community FC into our sport education programs at the youth centre or within schools. We used our young people to – so we trained them. We trained local multicultural young people to become coaches to train other young people within the local community.
And then, with that it was like an easy transition for young people to access sport clubs. The young person that is their coach and the workers that work with them actually guided them to have an easy transition into local clubs and to play further. Young people that became coaches actually were given equipment and trained to become coaches. The participants were provided with uniforms to feel like they are part of the team and they’re not missing out on anything. And the young people that became coaches were actually paid for their time engaged within that program. I think Community FC was a great example of inclusion for the community.
>>Ms Guerra: That’s great, Lilly, because I think one of the big things, isn’t it, about this is that young people often forget that they can get some money out of this. The notion of part-time jobs is really important. There are more jobs than working at your local supermarket or KFC or McDonalds – not wanting to be highly political here, but you’re right.
>>Ms Shamoon: Yes, they feel empowered in a way, that they are taking, they are helping other young people within their local communities and they are being acknowledged for it and getting paid. I think that’s a great way.
>>Ms Guerra: Yes, it’s good, isn’t it? And one of the other observations on that too, is that sometimes, often the young people, when they become coaches or even refs, start to see the world from the other side as well, don’t they? Which often is where racism plays out. It has many benefits, doesn’t it?
>>Ms Shamoon: It has. That’s how I actually started. With my work with Start, I was actually a young person that attended one of the camps. And then, to my team leader now, I told them one day I want to become like you and she’s like, okay, when you turn 18, then come back to me and you can volunteer. I ended up taking the opportunity at 18 and then volunteered and she told me what to do next, so I took the next steps, went and studied and now I actually help young people that were in my positions back then.
>>Ms Guerra: Wow, so really, you’re a really good example of someone, not dissimilar to Mia who’s taken her passion for what they like into a paid job. You’re really role models for many of the young people that are in the community. Thanks for sharing that, Lilly. Now Mia, you must spend a lot of your time on this question, yeah? How do you build up some good practise or ideas of helping clubs and models? Have you got some principles that you think are useful, whether it’s through your own experience or your professional work?
>>Ms Tua-Davidson: Probably at Welcoming Clubs we’ve got a bit of a library of case studies. The best ones that I have seen again, is going back to ones where young people are involved in the conversation right from the start and they’re the ones informing what’s being done. I think in Victoria, it seems to be done a little bit better where there is actually an acknowledgement that informal – it’s not informal but it sits outside the traditional system or unstructured, even though it’s a restructured sport – is really valuable.
We haven’t quite got there up here in Queensland in that space but I think that is a way of recognising a different model and a different approach. I think it’s really successful down there because young people are active, young people are connected. Like what Lilly was saying, coaches are being developed, leaders are being developed but it just sits outside the system so I think there is space for that, for growth in that particularly here in Brisbane looking towards 2032.
And then, I think the other ones, what we encourage clubs to do is actually benchmark their practise, so give themselves a starting point around inclusive practise and actually have that as a measure. Because when we have the conversation, very few clubs don’t want to be inclusive and welcoming. The most common thing that they say is we just don’t know where to start. If they can have a look at their existing practise with a benchmarking tool and then, just pick a couple of things to move forward with and have a little bit of direction, we’ve found that that’s really supportive for clubs and they can concentrate on a particular area of inclusion before they move on to another one without being overwhelmed by trying to be very inclusive to everybody.
>>Ms Guerra: And how is your view, because I’d certainly, and I think Fay and Lilly picked up that partnering with organisations that are doing multicultural work with communities is really important too. Have you seen that up in Brisbane as well, or not?
>>Ms Tua-Davidson: Yes, I think that we’re definitely moving towards more of a collaborative approach up here in Brisbane. I think everybody coming to the table with a little bit rather than anybody coming to the table with a lot is better. And definitely involving the embedded community organisations is really, really important because they’re going to be there forever. Little organisations like Inala Community House out in Inala, they’re going to be in Inala forever. Someone like myself and our organisation, we’re not going to be in Inala forever so we have to work really closely with those organisations that have the relationships and are going to be there.
>>Ms Guerra: Great, thank you. And we mentioned – and I just want to say, I don’t know what’s happened to the tech but I had questions and they’ve now gone, if someone could – I’m not quite sure why that’s happened. If someone could put them back, that would be great. The issue of informal sports came up and I know a couple of the researchers that are on the organising committee for this conference, Ruth and Ramon, have done a lot of work in this area and talked about that’s the way of the future and it seems that a lot of inclusion is based on that.
Fay, you referenced that. Have you got some ideas of why you think a lot of young people and even, adults are now saying they might not want to join a club and that’s the way of the future? Because many of the clubs see that as a threat – rightly so – but it actually could be an opportunity. Why do you think young people are turning to informal sports? I think you started answering that a little bit earlier. Could you elaborate a bit?
>>Ms Shee-Durnion: Yes, of course. I think it’s for a couple of reasons, one of them being what Mia was alluding to before in terms of this goal of a lot of clubs for high performance. And I can certainly see that in rowing. It’s a very competitive sport and there isn’t a lot of space for you to just exist, for you to learn the basics and then, just have fun with it. It’s very, let’s keep moving up, let’s get you into competitions, let’s get the medals, because we’re a club, this is our pride, this is how we do it, right?
I think that’s something that we see across a lot of different sports, this idea that joining a club puts you in a structure and there is an expectation for you to do that sort of thing. Even if it’s inclusive at the beginning for you to learn the very basics, there is an expectation that at some point, I’m taking this on. It’s like it is becoming part of me and I have to really commit to it, which I think is a bit daunting.
But then, there is also that idea of the elitism that comes with certain sports where you don’t want to engage with it if that’s the kind of only pursuit at the end of the day. I think besides that, the idea of informal sports as well, tackles that idea specifically about community and the lack of more financial pressure, which I think is a huge thing. Because a lot of young people should be engaging in sport for – there is a lot of reasons people play sport but I think that idea of socialisation and maintaining your mental health as well as your physical health is huge. And I think that when we think of club culture and that idea of making sure that we’re doing our best, it kind of removes that aspect of what sport can be and what it should be because we’re all moving towards results, basically.
And so, if we can prioritise informal sports, I think a lot more younger people would be engaged. It’s an easier avenue first of all, for them to commit to. If it’s informal, you probably don’t have as much of a structured program. It’s not going to be labelled as 3-4 times a week training and that kind of thing. It's show up to practise, you’ve got a community, we’re all helping each other and we’re just going to have a bit of fun for a couple of hours. I think if we were able to promote those sorts of structures, you could at least target a larger branch of young people.
And then, if they really find a passion in that, they will go on to – like in Lilly’s case, find something that they enjoy, go back and volunteer and then, end up finding something that actually does make them money or actually, supports the industry in the longer term which is think is ultimately more beneficial.
>>Ms Guerra: That’s great. Thank you, Fay. That’s very comprehensive and I suspect it picks up on the issue, the poll question about girls and women too, that maybe informal ways could be one practical solution to engaging more young women if they’re not. What do you think about that, Lilly or Mia? Are informal sports a way of getting more girls playing?
>>Ms Shamoon: It is. It’s a step to get it started. I think we need to have funding available for community sports, not just because it’s for women. It’s mainly for established sport clubs. If we have it available for community sport, maybe we can have more inclusion within the women and the girl’s sport. What about you, Mia?
>>Ms Tua-Davidson: Yes, I agree. I think it’s the same thing. It the structure that we’re used to, is that you’ve got to be a club, you’ve got to have your public liability insurance, you’ve got to have a facility and the reality is that those informal spaces don’t have those things. Again, I think there’s a place where clubs can take that on. They’ve got a facility. They’ve got the insurance. It’s just adapting their model and being prepared to change and potentially hosting something that’s informal in a place that’s really used to doing formal and structured activities.
>>Ms Guerra: Yes. It’s really a mind shift for some of the sports, Mia, isn’t it, about same space, same opportunity but maybe doing business differently? Great. I’ve got a couple of questions. I’ve got a really interesting one here that I’d really love your view on, all of you. Maddy asks, what I often hear from clubs that she works with is, we welcome everybody. However, we support clubs to understand the difference between welcoming everyone and making everyone feel welcomed and that they belong. A really interesting question, isn’t it, because I think that’s part of the point we’ve got. Clubs will say, “We welcome everybody. Come in.” But yet, it doesn’t always happen. Do you want to take that one up first maybe, Mia? Because that’s what you basically do in Brisbane, don’t you?
>>Ms Tua-Davidson: Yes. We talk quite often about symbol and substance with clubs. There are really symbolic things that you can do to be welcoming like saying, “We welcome everybody,” or having a sign saying we welcome everybody. But if the substance, which is the day-to-day actions of every person in that club don’t back up those symbolic things, then it’s not going to have that impact and it is difficult because we’re working with volunteers in the community sporting space. We work with committees and a couple of people as the first point of contact but if the things that we are asking or sharing with them don’t get shared down to every manager and every coach and every sideline official, there is no substance to them having that symbolic, we are welcoming to everybody.
I think there is a really big difference between welcome, inclusion and belonging. I think that sense of belonging is the real long-term goal. I always measure belonging by young people that are actually wanting to invite their family there or people that they know and bringing someone along. I think that’s a really good measure of belonging. But volunteers – and I’m saying this as a coach and a committee member myself – if someone above me did some training around welcome and inclusion, that doesn’t mean that I have those skills and that knowledge and it doesn’t mean I’ve bought into that.
There has got to be a real club-wide commitment. We talk to clubs around developing some non-negotiables. Non-negotiables are things that everybody commits to doing every day in every way and also, things that everybody commits to not doing based on the experiences of inclusion and exclusion that people might have had. And we use the experiences of those people themselves as well.
>>Ms Guerra: Great. I’ve got a different take. There’s another question that’s a flip of this, that I’m going to go to you, Lilly and Fay, which is from anonymous, the question is, my narrow experience is that when diverse people – so I’m assuming they’re meaning refugee, migrant people – come into our spaces – so I’m assuming the ‘our’ means sport. It’s a bit unclear but I’m interpreting – that they are mostly welcome but there is little energy – I’m assuming that this person’s saying the question is a bit unclear for the people that have come into this – have little energy to move out and meet other diverse people in their space. Would appreciate your comment. Lilly, what do you think about that? Do you have a view on that or comment?
>>Ms Shamoon: I think that brings back to how they may feel when they come into a new environment, how I mentioned before. It’s really about how they feel being around – I’m going to speak about my own experience. When I first arrived, I spoke very little English. I played soccer for a whole year and I didn’t speak a word. I was silent so my team mates actually thought I couldn’t speak, that I was deaf or something.
It's just, how are you going to make that young person feel welcome and to move forward? They probably are scared of – they may experience racism or stigma associated with the refugee status or the way they are in, so that’s my take on this.
>>Ms Guerra: Yes. How about you, Fay? What’s your view of this, the notion that was raised in that question?
>>Ms Shee-Durnion: I obviously wouldn’t be hasty in making the judgement that it’s any kind of thing where the young person, they are the one being reserved for whatever reason. I think it’s more likely to be something that Lilly’s alluding to as well, where they’re kind of in the same way that I felt like I had to carve out a space for myself and for my friends. If I didn’t have my friends with me, the idea of being just – and I come from a privileged background where I’ve grown up mostly in Australia and went to an all-girl’s private school.
Most people shouldn’t have that issue anyway, but simply because you don’t look like the people or they can see that you’re different, you add another layer of being a newly arrived migrant and a young person who’s trying something new. There is more than likely to be some sort of resistance there because I see this all the time and even in my family. There is always this idea with migrant and refugee families and young people that you don’t want to push the boundaries. Just stay in your lane, make sure that you stick to what we’ve done because there is a lot of self-sacrifice in a lot of our journeys.
And so, you get taught by your parents, don’t push the envelope too far because you just stick in your lane, basically. And if you’re going to take the step to try something new, you’re probably going to be a little bit reserved about it until you know that it is a safe space where you can really thrive. That’s how I feel about it.
>>Ms Guerra: That’s right. It’s not uncommon, is it, that you don’t feel your part of everyone else that looks like you. You’ll tend to connect with others that are like you until you feel what you were talking about Mia earlier, move from – because I think welcoming is also a very soft entry point, isn’t it? What you were referring to was how do you move from that to belonging. What’s your take on that question, because I think it’s really interesting, isn’t it, that people have identified this other side of the coin?
>>Ms Tua-Davidson: I think for me and I’m sure a lot of people here will understand this but even coming from New Zealand, you go to a footy club and all the Kiwi’s hang out with the Kiwi’s. It’s not the same situation. I wouldn’t like to imply that it is the same situation but the experience of similarity outweighs the experience of difference when you’re someone going into someone else’s space.
I think in clubland there’s a responsibility to create opportunities where we’re building bridges between those differences, as opposed to – but also supporting people to feel strength in their similarities and feeling strong in their identity but making sure that everybody has that. I think some really good examples I’ve seen is things like heritage days where people come and share their food with other people, so that’s not them just staying within their group, it’s actually sharing it. Things like Harmony Day have done really well, are good opportunities for those types of things, but sharing those cultural differences so that people feel like they don’t have to stay in their own group because other people aren’t interested or those kinds of things.
It is really difficult because you want people to maintain their identity within your space but you want them to feel the club identity and the club culture as well, and I think, again, that goes down to those day-to-day practices by everybody. I think that the language that’s used is quite often really important. I’ve been in club environments where groups of people have been referred to by their cultural background, they’ve been called “The Islander Boys” or “The African Kids,” and that’s by the people in the club. So the people within the club environments have a responsibility to think about those things as well.
>>Ms Guerra: Great. Really good answers. I’ve got another really interesting question, really wanting to know your answers here, again anonymous, but Queensland Athletics – I’m assuming it’s someone from Athletics Queensland asking this question – has 15,000 members, slightly more female than male, but coaching is still predominantly male and I wonder if this is due, primarily, to women having the responsibility for children at the time coaching sessions are run? What do we think about that notion? Shall I start with you, Mia, because you’re a coach yourself? What does rugby look like in Queensland? How many female coaches are there like you?
>>Ms Tua-Davidson: Oh, few. I think the role I’ve stepped into, I’m probably not quite ready for it, to be perfectly honest, at that level, but I’ve stepped into it because when I look on the field, all the players look like me and I look off the field and they don’t. And I’ve been really fortunate that I’ve had a couple of really fantastic male coaching mentors that have been really supportive, I think that’s really, really important, and also looking at how we bring people into coaching environments, what are some really good soft entry points and opportunities. With our club and what we’ve done is gone to our local clubs and said, “We’re going to have some opportunities were you can come along and just watch and you don’t have to be a coach but if you’re a female we’d love for you to be there,” and having those soft entry points where it’s really easy and they’re not actually put into a position of being the coach right from the start. It could be an observer, it could be someone that’s been mentored by somebody but, again, same thing I’ve been talking about all day, it’s just looking at different models. I think giving people small tasks to ease them into those jobs is really important.
For me, personally, I’ve always made sure that the athletes that I’m coaching, the young woman that I’m coaching, take on some responsibility with the even younger athletes and young people, and that’s a soft entry, they’re building confidence around that. So I’d encourage people to think about what little things they can do just to give those soft entry points but not necessarily lump a whole coaching responsibility onto people.
>>Ms Guerra: Yeah, and Lilly, you talked about the program you run that did that, what were some of the success factors or how do we get more women involved in administration, in coaching, in refereeing so girls see themselves there? What’s your idea?
>>Ms Shamoon: I agree with Maia, giving little tasks as a soft entry for girls, for women, just to show them, okay, you can be there, it is a safe space for you to carry your work like this. Most of them will see it as a male-dominant work so I’m not going to get into it, so having that little soft entry and giving them that little task, I think, opens many doors. And with our program, actually, we had about 200 young people registered and half of them probably got into coaching and sporting clubs, so just having a young person or a female young person within the guilds to coach them and show them, okay, I’m taking you to a club, you can feel safe, there is a space for you to play, is very important as well just to have the bridge between the club and the community as well.
>>Ms Guerra: Yes. Great. Another question here which I think, again, picks up on some of those issues of inclusion. One of the participants talks about a role that they’ve just picked up as a sports inclusion role and it’s with Korean young people in Bendigo, and after the consultations there were a whole lot of challenges, and this person’s from the Korean community themselves, that they have very limited incomes. I think you, both Lilly and Faye, raised that earlier about the cost. Say they like sport but they can’t go anywhere free, so it goes back to informal spaces or low-cost space where they can meet up with their friends to play sport, and they’re going, “How do we do more of that? How do we encourage so that people with very limited income and availability of space can actually go and play sport?”
I think everyone’s kind of raised that. Is there any solutions or models that anybody’s seen or have got ideas to share with, I suppose, local government or State Government that own all these spaces and the sports that are charging quite extravagant prices for membership? We know why. I don’t want to get into debate that we don’t need the money but it does mean that it’s difficult for lots of families to participate, isn’t it? Who wants to take up? Anyone, hand up to go first, otherwise I’m going to – yeah, is that you, Maia?
>>Ms Tua-Davidson: The million-dollar question. I think this is the greatest barrier for everybody’s sport’s participation is cost. Even myself, I think the last rugby club I played for in New Zealand my fees were $60 and I came here and my first fees at the rugby club were 600 or something like that, which was a bit of a shock to the system. One of the things we say to the clubs when their assumption is that people from different backgrounds can’t afford to play their sport is, “What can they afford and have you actually asked them that question?” Up here in Queensland the State government has the Fair Play vouchers which are worth $150. I know Victoria’s got one similar now.
>>Ms Guerra: Ours is 200, Maia. Maybe we should get them to talk to each other. Is there one in New South Wales, Lilly? Do we need to get them to have vouchers?
>>Ms Shamoon: I think they’ve got $100 in New South Wales.
>>Ms Guerra: Victoria’s leading the way. We need to get them to have 200. Sorry, Maia, keep going.
>>Ms Tua-Davidson: No, you’re right. That’s not a lot of money but if you’re in a position where you’ve got 30 people that you know can access those and you go to a club and say, “We’ve got this many people, we know that they can access this much money, what could you provide?” and maybe it's not a club. I mean, a club obviously has the facilities which is helpful, but maybe it is a conversation with council or someone, or a school, with these sort of conversations. I know some councils up here really have tried to build partnerships between schools and community groups. I’m not sure how successful it’s been but we always say to clubs, “Instead of just assuming they can’t afford it is just saying, ‘What can you afford? What places can you get to?’” and work in with that, as opposed to just stopping the conversation because that barrier seems too much to overcome.
>>Ms Shee-Durnion: Yes. If I could jump in?
>>Ms Guerra: Yes, please do, Faye.
>>Ms Shee-Durnion: I think that dialogue is really, really important and we talked about funding programs and it’s great, 200, 150, 100, whatever it is, even though it’s small it is something, but I think what’s lacking there is the clubs being aware that that’s something that they can promote. There isn’t enough actual – like, I didn’t even know that that was a thing until right now. So in saying that, that should be part of the conversation. Even if some clubs are open about going on a payment plan or whatever, it’s not a problem to endorse something that exists as policy as like a government program where like, look into this, apply for this if you’re eligible. We can help you, we’ll guide you through the process, that shows effort as well, which is more than some clubs can say when it’s just like, “Okay, money’s an issue. This isn’t for you.” I think, yeah, definitely those kind of programs and if on a greater level that there is that genuine acknowledgement that it’s valuable, sport is valuable and especially in those diversity inclusion aspects as well, we should be promoting that sort of thing, if we can get more money put there it’d be for the best.
>>Ms Guerra: Great. I’ve got another great question here, which I know comes up a lot with us in Victoria with the sporting groups we do, which is, “How do you attract diverse community members to non-traditional tier 1 sports?” We’ve heard through both Lilly and Maia how rugby and football through your own examples, so I suppose this person’s asking how do you get those communities into the non-tier 1 sports? How? How could they go about attracting them and selling the benefits and the potential that those non-tier 1 sports have got? Shall I start with you, Faye, since you – rowing, I don’t know whether rowing is – no disrespect, I don’t think of rowing as a tier 1 sport but you kind of went and did rowing, what’s your idea of how they might attract sports outside of the kind of top four or five that have got high performance, they’re all over the TV? There’s probably some role models, I think those non-tier ones are the sports, you know, really community based, probably lower participation numbers, and from what I’m gathering here there’s a real keen interest to get our communities involved. What can they do?
>>Ms Shee-Durnion: I haven’t thought about this too much because there’s definitely an idea that we want to be – it’s easier to engage in those sports that are more likely to be – like, for example, soccer or football, like that’s a huge thing across the world, so we know that’s something that’s more easily engaged with, but I can’t say that something like rowing is a hugely popular sport for anyone who isn’t directly exposed to it, you know what I mean? Like, you might walk along the river and see boats out there and that will be your kind of exposure but you’d have to do the investigation yourself if it’s not provided during school or something like that. To be quite honest, I don’t feel like I have enough experience there or the insight quite yet into what we can do about that, so I’d rather pass on to either Lilly or Maia.
>>Ms Guerra: No, that’s fine. So, Maia or Lilly, some thoughts on what we could do to get these young communities playing in other sports?
>>Ms Shamoon: I think promoting it in schools is a very good start to have young people introduced to different sports, and it’s not just our general ones that they know already. Even when you’re running a program for community organisations within schools, try to introduce refugees, young people to other sports, maybe rowing or rugby league, because most people from refugee backgrounds it’s always soccer, soccer. From my experience, if I run anything else at the Youth Centre that is not soccer, “I’m not coming today.” Maybe having friendly games and challenges for them to engage in different sports, that’s a way of starting.
>>Ms Guerra: Yes. Great. Maia, any tips?
>>Ms Tua-Davidson: I think touching on what both Faye and Lilly said, it’s just that exposure, how do you give them exposure? Is it a come-and-try activity? It’s got to be relevant, it’s got to be accessible, so rowing wouldn’t be accessible to everybody, for example, but I know there are some sports, like we’ve recently been having conversations with ten-pin bowling and there’s sports like -gymnastics is doing a lot in that space, which is great, but it’s always going to go back to those same barriers around transport, costs, all those kinds of things, so if they continue to exist then it’s always going to be a challenge to get anybody, regardless of their background, involved in those sports. But I think what Lilly was saying about using the school environment because that’s trusted, families feel safe and feel comfortable when they’re in a school environment so I think that is a good place to do those small exposures or come-and-try activities and just, yeah, probably being accepting of the fact that they’re not going to transition into amazing numbers at clubland but being consistent with that going back every year and giving young people and families an opportunity to try your sport is probably the best that I can suggest.
>>Ms Guerra: No, that’s great and if I can take liberty as the Chair today to share some of the things we’ve done in Victoria downstairs here with some local sports is very similar to what you said, Maia, come and try, and what we’ve done is made sure we’ve had rugby or cricket or football there and then other sports come along and young people come and try and you’d be surprised how many young people then like another sport. Then you get the sport to get one young person, then you offer to have a bus to pick up them and their friends, and you’d be surprised after a couple of those kind of examples that you might get some young people who had never considered playing volleyball or badminton. I’m assuming they’re tier-2 sports? Please help me out, Maia, I’m assuming they’re the ones that are kind of less known, that young people get exposed to those. I think, yeah, it’s about the sport going to the communities, isn’t it, and exposing?
Because some of these communities comes from backgrounds where they wouldn’t know some of the sports either, I suspect, so your ideas of going to schools and those things are really, really great. Hope that helps that speaker. Another great question here. I’m sure there’s no answer but I think we need to ask it, which is about for many the sport, Sonya’s saying, leases – which I’m assuming means leases of the facilities – are impacting the model that providers are able to employ, i.e. more business focus than social focus. Who’s having conversations about this then? Yeah, how do we encourage the social low, you know, high participation versus the business maybe high performance? Do you have a view about this, Maia, have you come across that through your kind of, I suppose, dual roles both in the game and working in the industry?
>>Ms Tua-Davidson: Yeah. We work quite closely as an organisation with councils with our Welcoming Cities initiative and we have those conversations all the time. I think there has been a change recently with facilities where councils are asking leaseholders to look at multipurpose use, using it for different sports and facility development is going down that way as well in terms of the Astro Turf and having multiple uses for one facility. I think it’s always a challenge because in clubland the majority of the time people are just trying to pay their bills and, potentially, allowing more people into that space, if you’ve got grass in particular, it’s not good for your space if you’re trying to protect it for members.
We do often talk to clubs around, “Are you a performance club or are you a participation club?” and one of the positives of COVID, I think, is that there has been a shift in that where that disconnection that people felt coming back to clubland, I feel like clubs are having more conversations about the fact that they want to be a community space as opposed to a sporting space. Here in Brisbane I’ve seen really good examples of clubs that have done things like dog walking groups or partnering with park runs and those types of things, so the spaces are being used indirectly for community-based activities without people being on the actual field and space.
But it’s really challenging because I think a lot of clubs would also say that facility management is their number one priority or facility upgrades, and that’s something that’s much higher level than the conversations we have.
>>Ms Guerra: Yes, managing that’s going to be really difficult because there’s another great question from Christian. Obviously Christian’s from Melbourne or Sydney, like three-quarters of this panel are that have been in lockdown for a long time, saying that open space was so accessed by community and we’ve heard that people want to do informal sports but yet organised sport’s important. So the question is, “How do we ensure that organised sport doesn’t take over the community space that so many young people in multicultural backgrounds use because they can’t afford traditional sport?” Great question. I don’t know if there’s an answer to that but I’m happy for any of you to give that a go?
>>Ms Shamoon: I think partnering with organisations, like a sport club and an organisation to partner together to make sure the facility is available for both on a club level and on community sport. Just to have that understanding within the local communities that’s a way of – it is very hard to answer.
>>Ms Guerra: Yes, it’s tricky but I think it’s an advocacy issue, isn’t it, you’re right, that we could all jointly be saying that there has to be room for both, doesn’t there? Of course organised sport needs spaces but I think we’re right, people have come out in droves, I’ve seen in my own local street, heaps of young people going out using the basketball ring at the local school and stuff, isn’t there, so we probably need to think about that a bit differently? There’s a great question for you, Lilly, which is great, about did you find a pathway for young players to join local clubs? Was it a conduit to joining local clubs in your program that you ran for all those young people who loved football?
>>Ms Shamoon: Yes, we did. We partnered also with the district that we’re in to make sure you provide us with clubs that are close to those young people, where they live, because transport was an issue. If someone wanted to play about 20 minutes away, they can’t get there. So we made sure that the local clubs around their area are available to take those young people, even if they can take them – if some of them wanted to or five friends want to play in the same club, okay, let me see what I can do for you. Most of the clubs that we dealt with were very good with that, so they took them as teams instead of one individual to make them feel more comfortable.
>>Ms Guerra: Great. And were they the same clubs then that might have employed them as coaches and stuff as well?
>>Ms Shamoon: Yes.
>>Ms Guerra: Great. Great story, isn’t it, great success. Well done. Excellent. There’s another really good question here which I know is quite challenging for all of us to think about is, there’s a great question from [Bronn] about have our pathways for multicultural young people with disabilities, are we thinking about young people with disabilities also playing sport? Has anybody got any observations or some comments about how we make that work, are there examples you know of that we could share with the audience? Anyone? Maia or-----?
>>Ms Tua-Davidson: Yes. We’ve got a program in Victoria called Welcome to the Game that is specifically for young people from diverse backgrounds living with a disability to access sport and recreation. It is enormously challenging, that intersection between disability and diversity or coming from a culturally and linguistically diverse background is really hard to address. The majority of the young people in families that Geoff, our coordinator, works with down there has intellectual disabilities and there’s a really big gap in the sporting sector around that in particular. I think there’s less of a gap with physical disabilities but intellectual disabilities, there’s a real lack of knowledge and providers.
Jess has had some really fantastic success with basketball and swimming in particular down there and there’s actually really good programs that are designed either to include young people from diverse backgrounds or to include young people living with a disability but then there’s very little crossover. So, the success that Jess has had with Welcome to the Game, for example there’s a program called Awesome Hoops, which is a young woman that developed a basketball program for young people with autism, and we actually – or Jess worked with her to deliver a program in an area that had really high diversity to try and address that intersection and they had some really good success.
So I think it’s bringing together those two spaces, people that have that specialist knowledge about working with young people from diverse backgrounds and people that have that specialist knowledge around working with people with a disability, and sharing that knowledge and figuring out what the best approach is and, again, making sure that those young people are involved in the conversation right from the start, and we’ve got a really good advisory group that is really good for us and we have young people that actually have a disability in that advisory group and it’s great to put ideas to them and for them just to say, “We don’t think that’s going to work,” or, “We think that that’s great,” and also the families of those young people that are going to be supporting that.
I think there’s a really big opportunity in supporting carers to develop those skills. It’s not something we’ve been able to achieve, it’s something that we would really like to work on but if you can build the skills of carers to be involved in sport and physical activity then it’s much easier for those young people to be involved as well.
>>Ms Guerra: Yes, I know, it’s really interesting, isn’t it, that often we put people into labels and groups, don’t we? You may be disabled, you may be a woman, you’re multicultural but, actually, we are complex multi-focused, you’re right, so we should be thinking broader, shouldn’t we, and I think it’s a really good point about there are some fabulous programs with young people with a disability and that we need to think about talking to each other, don’t we? I think it’s a great point about helping us talk to each other so all programs become inclusive.
I’m going to run one more poll and I’ve got one sort of quick question. This question could take a long time but I’d like a quick reference to this question because I think it is really important, that Fiona’s asked that the age group of the sport she is in, the participants are much older, “We have great programs. They often feel tokenistic and we can’t guarantee that other members, usually older, elderly people, will say things that hurt other people unintentionally. How do we educate elderly adults?” Who wants to take that? What if I go to you, Faye, on that? I know it’s a complex answer but I think it’s a question that gets raised a lot. Where do you start with that? How do we help this person?
>>Ms Shee-Durnion: Yes, big question. I would have to say that that idea of everyone’s action is a reflection of the club is definitely prevalent in that sort of issue and making it known that idea of symbol versus substance that Maia was talking about before, actually getting some diversity and inclusion and cultural awareness training or something like that, making sure that people are called up on it because I think one of the biggest things, no matter if it’s at sport, if it’s at work, if it’s just in your day-to-day microaggressions are a huge, huge thing and one little comment, you cannot simply write it off as like, oh, yeah, old mate, his time was before or whatever and we’ve just got to let it go.
It’s just not right because that kind of compromise sends a message directly to the young person and the person from a multicultural background or whatever it might be, that we don’t prioritise youth over the people that we’ve had here for a long time, even though you are the people who are coming through the organisation and who will be the legacy, technically, of what we are right now, and I think that alludes to something bigger where, like, we were talking about this conversation revolving around what we’ve got to do to be proud of when 2032 comes around, it’s about starting with the young people. I mean, I’m switching around the question now because-----
>>Ms Guerra: No, no, it’s great. Thank you.
>>Ms Shee-Durnion: But with young people, because they’re the people who are going to be the participants at the – they’re going to be the Olympians or the Paralympians in 2032. It’s crazy. I went to primary school with a girl who had just competed in the Tokyo Olympics in rowing and that’s just insane. So to think that that’s the potential of where that’s going, we want to be able to have a sense of pride about our diversity and our inclusion. I think there’s more conversation we could have here about uniforms and what that means as well but yeah, it’s prioritising young people not at the expense of what some elderly person’s values might have been held, you know?
>>Ms Guerra: Great. Thank you for that lovely segue. I’m going to come to you, Maia and Lilly, in a minute to answer your final question but I wanted to go to the last poll question, which is now that we’ve been chatting for after an hour or so, could I ask everybody to tell us what your level of knowledge of issues relating to multicultural youth and sport is now? We’d love to hear your answer and I’ll come back to that after we go to this last question, and what we wanted to ask you, panel, is really to think about what needs to be done or what needs to be in place for us to be proud of our diversity and inclusion when Brisbane 2032 comes around? You’re from Brisbane, Maia, let’s start with you and then we’ll go to Lilly?
>>Ms Tua-Davidson: I think when we first had this conversation I think Lynette said what we’re thinking about for 2032 is the seven, eight, nine, 10 year olds right now. Little bit younger, little bit older, potentially, but that’s the group that are going to be our Olympians. How do we make sure that the best possible athletes are going to be at the 2032 Olympics and I know that this is a shift from the whole conversation around participation versus performance but let’s be honest, the Olympics is entirely about winning. But for me, as a coach my philosophy is always the more milk, the more cream. So the more people we have involved in all of these sports, the more likely we are to have the best athletes at the top, but the focus isn’t the cream, the focus is the milk, there’s building that base and for me and all the hats that I wear, I think the biggest question, in clubland in particular, is does your club look like your community, and that’s quite a hard question for a lot of clubs because sometimes they’ve been sitting there for 50, 60, 70 years and the community’s changed around them and it’s really challenging to ask questions about whether they’re still relevant looking like that.
But that would be my question, would be does your club look like your community and are there things that you can do to make sure that you are reflective of your community working towards 2032 and if not for financial viability or survival as a club, it’s potentially for those athletes in 2032 and making sure that we’ve got the best of Brisbane and Australia on display when the rest of the world’s watching.
>>Ms Guerra: Great. Thanks, Maia. Over to you, Lilly?
>>Ms Shamoon: For me it would be providing funding to community sport programs such as FC and any other program just to increase the access of migrant and refugee young people into the competitive sport as well, and to see people from every diversity to represent Australia, actually, and call it home, like, people from refugee and migrants, so that’s very important. Even funding for women’s sport to increase the participation and the inclusion for them as well because they’re important.
>>Ms Guerra: Great. Thank you for the three of you about that and if I can add my own Moderator comments on that, and I know we’re one minute over, so sorry to the organisers, we will finish up, but I didn’t want to cut any of our panel off, was that I think what all of you have raised has been really important, that the games are not just about the athletes, are they, you need volunteers, you need supporters, so let’s work on getting everybody engaged from our multicultural communities in seeing that the Olympics are owned by everybody. I think you’ve made some really, really useful comments, so thank you to all.
The outcome of the chat is great, is that we have more than 80% of the participants have said that they’ve had their knowledge increased about the issue. Thank you to the panel members for your openness in these questions and your ability to be put on the spot a bit and share your knowledge and resources. Thank you to all the participants. You’ve had wonderful questions. We didn’t get through all of them, apologies, I tried to get through as many as I could. So, on this note I’d like us to thank, and I will formally thank, the wonderful Faye and Maia and Lilly for your contribution today, thank you very much.
Continue everybody doing your inclusion and diversity strategies. Don’t be scared, cry, learn, share, reach out to people that in your State or nationally who can help you out. So, thank you everybody. Please stay online as I now understand we’re going to go back to Beau. Beau, thank you.
>>Mr Newell: Awesome. Thanks so much, Carmel, and a massive thanks to all of our panellists, that was truly insightful. I loved a few of the things and I just want to highlight a couple of them. Maia, I loved the fact that you mentioned the importance of bringing people in from the community in which you’re trying to do something for and this kind of embraces that saying, you know, “Nothing about us without us,” which some may say that it’s a bit of a cliché but it’s critical to the areas of diversity and inclusion and now I might mix this up a little bit but you also had an amazing quote which I’m going to steal from you, and it was something along the lines of “the experience of similarity outweighs the experience of difference,” and that truly resonates with me and I’m sure it does so many other people.
Lilly, you’ve highlighted the challenges of being part of a sporting group and speaking little English, and this coming from your personal experience of I think you said it was football where you played for an extended period of time, and sadly we know that this is not unique, it’s not a unique experience and there’s need for sports to take the steps to be more safe and inclusive for all people of diverse backgrounds so they can truly thrive as themselves.
And Faye, I know you highlighted too the issues related to finances and for some within multicultural communities and the importance of informal sports to keep people active, and I know that was a prevalent conversation towards the end there. So thank you to the three of you and, Carmel, a special thank you for yourself as well for facilitating this session and congratulations, by the way, on the launch of CMSport. For those who don’t know, CMSport is a new initiative by the Centre for Multicultural Youth aiming to drive social change through sport. If you didn’t know, CMSport understand the need for sporting organisations around Australia to strategically engage to turn inclusion into a competitive advantage and connect meaningfully to our growing multicultural communities and CMSport also understand the power of sport for connecting diverse people. If you need support building a stronger community, more inclusive sporting organisation, reach out to the CMSport team today, visit their website at cmy.net.au/cmsport.
Now to our amazing audience, if you’re about to leave this presentation can I just encourage you very quickly to go to the top of your screen, hit the orange “speech” bubble button and fill in our very quick survey. The feedback for this will help us plan and deliver these events for your suggested improvements in 2022, so please take a moment and help us by completing this quick survey.
Now, that concludes the first part of today’s forum where we now have a lunchbreak where we will see some screening of some short videos that will take a closer look at some of the great work being done in the diversity and inclusion space. Grab a cuppa, a bite to eat and please rejoin us at 11.30 am Australian Daylight Saving’s time today when we will resume with a fresh new panel of people to put the spotlight on indigenous sport. We’ll see you soon.
(1:34:50 to 1:38:41) VIDEO PLAYED WITH CAPTIONS
>>Mr Newell: Welcome back everyone. Thanks for joining or rejoining us for our second of two panels today presented by the Centre for Multicultural Youth, Play by the Rules, the New South Wales Office of Sport, Monash and Victorian universities and Pride in Sport. For those who don’t know, my name is Beau Newell, my pronouns are he/him and it is my privilege to welcome you all here today on behalf of the organising committee, the people from the organisations I just mentioned, who volunteer their time and effort in putting together this amazing event.
I’d like to quickly begin the proceedings by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land that we’re all meeting from today and pay my respects to Elders past, present and emerging. I’m coming to you from Awabakal country and I extend a warm welcome to any indigenous people and people of colour who are joining today’s events. The purpose of today’s forum is to share. Share ideas, information, insights, strategies and best practice around the sporting sector, to explore future approaches and solutions to help all of us in our inclusion and diversity journeys.
The panel session that we have for you today is a spotlight on indigenous youth and the theme being the roadmap for Brisbane 2032. Now, for those who are just joining us for the first time, the Q and A feature has been configured so that you can submit your own questions to our panel today using the blue raised hand icon at the top of your screen. We will be doing our best to answer as many questions as we possibly can so I encourage you to utilise this feature and know that this is a safe space to ask the questions that will help you learn. There are no silly questions for today.
Also just a note to know that we are recording today’s session which will be included with closed captioning and we’ll be able to find them on the CMY and Play by the Rules websites respectively in the coming days, so please make sure that you re-watch and share with your networks as much as possible. Also just to let you know that some of the content and discussions within the session today may contain information around things like mental health, anxiety, suicide and suicide ideation and they may trigger personal emotions. If this content of the session does raise any concerns for you, support is available and with this in mind, I want to mention that we’re supporting Lifeline today and while today’s event is free, if you do have any spare dollars to support Lifeline’s work on mental health, please dig deep and visit their website and do so.
As you might know, October is actually Mental Health Awareness Month and Lifeline has had a campaign that encourages people to check in with themselves and their mental health. Your donations will go a long way to support the important work that they do, so please visit the Play by the Rules website and dig deep. And now, without further ado, I’d like to hand over to Kerry Tavrou, the Head of Inclusion and Diversity at Tennis Australia, to facilitate the next panel session. Welcome, Kerry, and over to you.
>>Mr Tavrou: Thanks, Beau. Good morning everyone. I’m excited to facilitate this session this morning and we have some really great panellists which I’ll introduce you to in a moment. I’m on Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Country today and I pay my respects to elders past and present and acknowledge that this land always was and always will be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands. Today we’ll be discussing how we can use sport for change and improve opportunities for First Nations youth as we work towards Brisbane 2032, a little over 10 years away.
We’re very lucky today to have some of the best sports administrators, and an Olympic silver medallist, who have all been driving change for First Nations people within their sports for a long time. We have with us Tanya Hosch from the AFL, Courtney Hagen from Football Federation Australia, Mark deWeerd, who has just finished up at NRL after 10 years, and Taliqua Clancy, who has just returned from the Olympics, winning a silver medal in volleyball.
I have learnt so much through conversations with Tanya, Courtney and Mark, who we catch up quite regularly, and I encourage everyone to ask as many questions as you can to really make the most of these speakers because they are very wise, and just to note that this is a safe space. If there is anything on your mind, feel free to ask it, regardless of how ridiculous you think it might be.
Instead of me giving a big spiel on how great these people are, which I’ve already given a little pump up, what I might do is actually throw it over to them to let them know a little bit more about themselves and tell you something that they’re proud of. Tanya, can you tell us a little bit about yourself, what you do within the AFL and outside of the AFL, for that matter, and anything that you’ve done or what you’ve done that you’re most proud of?
>>Ms Hosch: Thanks, Kerry, and hi everyone. I’m coming in today from Kaurna Country in Adelaide. I’m very pleased to be with you. I’m the Executive General Manager of Inclusion and Social Policy at the AFL, five years in, and when I joined in 2016 I was the second woman and first indigenous person appointed to the AFL Executive. My role is quite broad, so it covers Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues, gender and sexuality issues, gender identity and cultural diversity, also seem to be picking up more and more in the all-abilities space as well. My job isn’t an operational job so I don’t make footy happen but one of the tag lines for the AFL is that we’re a game for everyone, so my job is to try and make sure that we actually are in practice, and it does cover policy setting for both community and the elite games across the men’s and the women’s codes.
I think a piece of work that I’m proud of from my five years was getting a substantial apology for Adam Goodes after the release of the final quarter and just ahead of the release of the Australian Dream. That was a piece of unfinished business and it was a really important piece of work to do. Absolutely it came too late but it was still something that was required and it’s something that we worked on together, the AFL with the 18 clubs, so I feel really pleased about that.
When I’m not at work I enjoy walking, although I haven’t been able to walk since May because of some health issues but walking is my sort of preferred exercise, and I like to read and I follow politics quite closely. One of my favourite things to read about, talk about, is racism and race relations in Australia.
>>Mr Tavrou: Awesome, and we will dive into that topic a little later on so it’ll be great to get your thoughts. Tanya, thank you, that’s great insights and that piece on Adam Goodes is so powerful.
Courtney, same question, would you mind giving us a bit of background on you and the work you’re doing, within and outside of sport, focused on First Nations people and also what you’re most proud of?
>>Ms Hagen: I’m Courtney. I’m a proud Butchulla and Gubbi Gubbi woman, from Sunshine Coast Queensland here. Currently in Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Country in Victoria so, yeah, I pay my respects to them all and their elders past and present. Also acknowledging Australia. You know, sovereignty was never ceded and Australia always was and always will be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land. My family have been embedded in sport since I was born. They’re very heavy on the rugby league. I really wanted to play it my whole life but my granddad didn’t let me, so the only sport that I was allowed to do was cricket at the time and basketball, and then they’ve ended up being my sports for ever and they became a huge outlet for me growing up, both getting me through multiple – I moved a lot when I was younger. My family had a domestic violence relationship within it so that really helped me engage with the wider community and create my own role models and father figures and things like that, which I’m very, very, very grateful for.
Sport also played a massive role for me within affirming my identity, being quite a light complex – you know, with a light complexion as an Aboriginal woman. I’ve only known my black side of the family but with skin colour like mine I think I often get – yeah, I always used to get challenged a lot on my identity. So sport played a huge role in that, particularly when I was playing at indigenous sport carnivals and within university structures or now within a workplace. Sport has opened me with open arms to be who I am and that also comes with intersectionalities of being a queer woman. So, yeah, I’ve been really lucky. I’ve also seen the ugly side of sport though with homophobia and racism both wherever I’ve been, whatever sport I’ve been a part of, but I’ve been very lucky to be embraced through the work community and particularly now working at a national sporting organisation.
Yeah, so recently I just made the trade to Football Australia. I’ve only been here for nearly two and a-half months so I must say that anything I say today is more reflective of my own personal views and lived experiences rather than representing football but before that, for three years I worked at Cricket Australia and my biggest highlight so far from my work career would definitely be the Woolworth’s Community Blast Goanna Top. It’s an early entry program like Auskick for AFL but for cricket and we created an initiative where people could select an indigenous-designed top designed by a young fella, and I see it everywhere I go, out here in the streets of Melbourne, so that’s something that I really love seeing because it just shows – yeah, like, it’s a great conversation starter but it’s also really great to see kids that aren’t indigenous wearing it and that unifying peace, but, cricket, with my manager at the time, we brought the most traditionally known colonial sport like cricket to a place where they were at a Stretch RAP which required a lot of unpacking of privilege and systematic racism that’s come from what that sport – and the nature of sport and the construction of sport in this country is. So that’s also something that I am really, really proud of.
My role at Football Australia is I’m their Engagement Lead for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, so still kind of moulding that role. It’s the first of its kind for football but a lot of it right now is working from a governance structure point of view, leadership point of view and also working around participation basis more on the strategic level, and that’s me.
>>Mr Tavrou: That’s awesome.
>>Ms Hagen: I hope I’ve answered your questions?
>>Mr Tavrou: Yeah, you did. You nailed them and, look, thank you for being so raw and honest. It’s really great to get those insights and it is so cool when you work on something and see it come to life, you know, in a physical shirt or something within community, so great story.
Mark, can you tell us a little bit about you in your role at rugby league, potentially your new role that you’re stepping into and something over the past 10 years that you’re particularly proud of?
>>Mr deWeerd: Thanks, Kerry. Mark deWeerd, I’m a proud Gamilaroi man from North-west New South Wales. I grew up in Walgett. For the last 10 years I’ve been with the NRL and for the large part of that I was the General Manager of Indigenous Strategy which, essentially, oversaw Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives being incorporated into all aspects of the business. Also it allowed me to lead the work that we did with our Reconciliation Action Plan, being the first national sporting organisation to reach elevate status. One of only 21 companies nation wide being able to do that, so something that as a sport we’re extremely proud of, and work across the business on all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement.
In terms of what I’m most proud of, there’s a few things but I had the opportunity to lead the All Stars event which is something that particularly indigenous people are extremely proud of, the opportunity for our players and our fans to come together and celebrate what’s great about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture but more importantly success of First Nations peoples and our sports men and women. But leaving the sport three weeks ago, the thing that I’m most proud of is the fact that I’ve left it in a better place with a better understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and cultures and the fact that there’s a greater understanding and deeper appreciation of what black fellas bring to rugby league and how important it is to our communities but, more importantly, how much value we can bring to the sport and how much change we can bring if people have that understanding and more inclusive as a sport. So that’s being able to leave and look back on what I was able to achieve, but more importantly how the sport has changed is something that I’m extremely proud of.
>>Mr Tavrou: Awesome. Awesome. Thank you, Mark. And last but not least is Taliqua Clancy, who has recently returned from the Olympics. She’s the first indigenous female volleyball player to represent Australia at the Olympics and she won a silver medal with Maria Fay. Taliqua, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and it’s probably a ridiculous question but what you’re most proud of?
>>Ms Clancy: Yeah, I’m a very proud Wulli Wulli woman. I’m on Turrbal land, so I’m home in Queensland. Yeah, I think my journey’s probably very similar to Courtney in a sense as well I’ve got fairer skin and I always had this great love for sport but it took a long time to really find my place. I see it a lot now and I’m hoping to have a really great change through watching athletes and the experiences they go through. I know there’s that simple always looking that they see us as lazy and disengaged, and I’m definitely trying to make sure that now future Olympians, potential Olympians for 2032 don’t have to experience what I experienced going through. It took a really long time in my journey. I’ve been a professional athlete with Beach Volleyball since I was 16, I’m now 29, so yeah, I find that’s my new passion now, especially to help lead, not just Olympians but also just all of our community to find their place as athletes but also I understand now how important it is to make sure that there is a greater impact going up leading into the higher federations. There needs to be more identity going through federations.
The AOC, the Australian Olympic Committee are doing a really great job now but it still has a long way to go. They just created the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee, which has been absolutely amazing. I think that was the really great impact from Tokyo 2020 to have that all around the village and having that support has totally changed. Rio 2016 was my first Olympics, so it’s been a huge difference but definitely is still a slow process. I think the hard part is Olympic sports we are majority/minority sports, we don’t have the Australian massive federations as AFL, NRL, cricket all have, so that also is a journey that we need to go to. I think the exciting part of having 2032 coming in is the increase of funding, so now it’s really important that we see how we can use that to create more innovation with representing our culture throughout.
My proudest moment, obviously, now is my silver medal. Since watching the 2000 Olympics that’s been my dream, so it’s nice to finally tick the box. Even though it’s a silver, there’s three years and I’ll be quickly back to hoping to go for that gold and I know that we can, so that’s my proudest moment so far in my career.
>>Mr Tavrou: Awesome. Awesome, thank you. As we navigate through this session there will be polling questions that will pop up for the audience to engage in the conversation. So we’ll put up our first poll now, if we can manage the tech. I know Carmel did a brilliant job. You might see the first poll in front of you? Could everyone just respond to that question? Let me just pull up my polling question so I can run through it. Your level of knowledge of issues concerning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their involvement in sport, what is your current knowledge? While that happens, we will start tackling some of these next polling questions.
Courtney, I might start with you. When it comes to funding strategies - and Taliqua, I liked that you finished on this, when it comes to funding strategies that bring about real change, what do you think is the most impactful in sport?
>>Ms Hagen: I think it’s having an alignment on what you’re doing – sorry, why you’re asking for funding, what you’re doing with the funding and who this funding is impacting and probably also unpacking the system surrounding why you don’t have funding for this in the first place. I think sustainability is something that is really important when you’re talking about real change. If we’re just throwing ad hoc programs once every six months in a remote town, it’s not going to give you what you need and it’s almost – it’s not a waste of money but what it does is it gets people’s hopes up and then you leave them out to dry in the future. I feel like Tanya and Mark probably have a lot more experience in this space to give the best sort of answers for this one, so I’ll kick it over to them.
>>Mr Tavrou: Yeah, cool. Thank you, Court, nice handball, and I will just let the panellists know. The majority of people probably sit in the middle in terms of their confidence when understanding knowledge of issues concerning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in sport. We’ve got some people kind of on the fence so hopefully we’ll be able to influence that. We might chuck up that next polling question and Tanya I will throw to you, what do you think are some funding strategies that bring about real change?
>>Ms Hosch: Look, I really support what Courtney added and I think when I have football clubs approach me to support them with funding applications for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs usually my first response is, “Well, do you have an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person on your board or on your executive that is going to help you be accountable for the way that you expend those funds?” I think that if you’re really serious about doing a lot of work in this area then it’s very important to think about the appropriate levels of accountability in the structures. So, if you’re running an organisation you don’t set up a board without someone with significant governance credentials, without a legal background, without a financial background, et cetera, and I would say that far too often what we have – and this isn’t just about sport, this is any number of organisations that feel that they’ve got a contribution to offer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people which is great and should be encouraged but it’s also really important to make sure that you have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in decision-making roles who can ask the CEO of the organisation the right questions, just as you have that expertise in other parts of the organisation.
The reason I feel so strongly about this is because I think we’re seeing far too often non-indigenous organisations secure funding because of their record in delivering programs and activities but then Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people just sort of become the other, and they’re very much sort of on the fringe of the whole organisational structure. I think we’re well past the time of that being an acceptable standard and I think that one of the things that’s really important to a successful funding outcome is making sure that you have the right sort of cultural integrity in place to guide the way that that money is spent and to also make sure that you’re equipped to get really, really solid feedback from the community about how they’ve experienced what it is that you’re delivering for those resources and whether that community feels that they have been able to be a true partner in the exercise.
>>Mr Tavrou: Yes, making sure that collaboration and codesign is part of the entire process and, I guess, evaluation to make sure it was impactful and, to Courtney’s point, sustainable. Tan, do you know – and this is a random one for you – do you have any insights into the number of First Nations people that might be at exec leave or are on boards within sports?
>>Ms Hosch: Look no, I don’t. I can speak for the AFL. When I arrived, out of the 18 clubs there was only one indigenous board member on a club board. I was the first indigenous person on the AFL Executive in August 2016. We’ve now got seven indigenous people across club boards, so we’re getting there, and I think we will see that reach a hundred percent of all clubs with that result, and I think in terms of on executive teams there’s probably only three or four across the whole system in football. I know that being obsessed with these sort of hierarchical structures isn’t the be-all and end-all but certainly I feel really confident if I’d not come into the AFL, not having ever worked in sport before in particular, it would have been much harder for me to get the outcomes I’ve been able to achieve if I’d not been on the executive. It wasn’t an easy fit initially, I had a lot to learn, a very steep learning curve, but I did know what principles make a difference for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation and I think having that backing - I was only in a conversation yesterday with a really large Australian company who was scratching their head about some issues around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement and I said, “Well, part of the problem is that you don’t have any senior Aboriginal people in your workforce.” So how they expected to have the confidence and the reassurance that you’ve got their back and that they can explain their perspective to you and have it understood.
So I think it is valuable and I think we all need to make sure that our sports are thinking about it. I know the NRL had an indigenous Commissioner well before the AFL did and I think that is a really great example of that kind of leadership. I think if you’re going to be serious about this work, you’re going to see it part of your core business, you’ve really got to back it up with that structural representation in the midst of your organisation.
>>Mr Tavrou: Yes, awesome. Thank you. All right, Taliqua, what are your thoughts around funding strategies that make impact?
>>Ms Clancy: Forgot the mute button. No, a hundred percent agree. I find it so hard because definitely the people panellists definitely have a greater understanding but also just as a current athlete in the Olympic scene I do see a lot through the sport that there is just no structure there and there’s not many great number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander athletes. I was the 13th Aboriginal women’s athlete, which is just insane. You know, that’s just not a huge number. So for me now when I think, I think how can we make sure that the athletes who are retiring who are Aboriginal and Torres Strait are still staying and involved in the sport and can have the opportunities to have roles within their federation, even a part of the Olympic Committee? That’s the new challenge that I'm trying to, hopefully, impact and see how we can change that because I know especially when it comes to the greater team sports, if you say hockey, there’s been so many amazing indigenous athletes come through but they haven’t been able to engage them and hold them. So that is really kind of where I see that needs to become a priority and I think funding is actually so important, creating opportunities, even if it’s like apprenticeships, even going for the director’s course, things like that, to be able to have opportunity to step onto a board because it is so important if we’re going to change the future.
>>Mr Tavrou: Yes. Yes. Yes, totally agree. The poll is coming back and 44% of people think that funding aligned with a dedicated resource to drive change is the most impactful. The second is around the board or exec level having First Nations people that are part of the organisation. Pretty much on par is funding clubs and communities directly, and then a little bit behind, lagging at 10%, is sports vouchers direct to participants, which is interesting because in the previous panel the panellists were talking about how important sports vouchers are for multicultural communities. Mark, I’m not going to leave you out, do you have any other thoughts on funding strategies that make impact or any of the results?
>>Mr deWeerd: I think the only thing that probably hasn’t been discussed is just the importance of understanding the need. When we are rolling out funding or looking at where it’s needed the most, we’ve got to have a really clear understanding of what some of those barriers are to participation in sport by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and target funding to ensuring that there is proper engagement of community participation in sport and that is focussed on dealing with some of those barriers and challenges that our communities face and our athletes face. So, we need to make sure that when funding is rolled out that the strategies focus on the need and that there is a level of accountability then against that because there’s always opportunities for re-funding and the like and we need to just make sure that there is a level of accountability against not so much the money being spent but how it’s being spent and what it’s being spent on to ensure that the need of our community is being met.
>>Mr Tavrou: And, Mark, what did you do to be insights driven at rugby?
>>Mr deWeerd: Yes, well, this is about talking to the community and understanding what the needs and barriers were for our community members to participate in rugby league and we’re quite fortunate in rugby league that 19% of all rugby league players at a grass roots level identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, so it’s a huge participation number. It’s then how do you make sure that they get that opportunity to be successful in the sport and then where you can transition into elite rugby league. So the focus was about ensuring that the experience that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have in the sport is one that’s a positive experience, it’s one where they feel welcome into the sport and then, hopefully, give back to the sport once they’ve finished playing. It’s definitely listening to the community, understanding what the needs are, what they needed, and then helping to identify funding opportunities so they can meet some of those needs.
>>Mr Tavrou: Yes. Yes. I think often – and I’ve been involved in sports for a little while but we see funding opportunities and then we come up with a strategy or an idea that might work, but I think being insights driven and having that clear understanding of what’s really going to be impactful is a really important first step in making sure you do make real change, so that’s a good point. We might move on to our next question.
Our next polling question is, “What is the most impactful initiative to combat racism at a community or grass roots level in sport?” Now, this is very topical because the Australian Human Rights Commission on 17 November will launch a new campaign around spectator racism, which is in partnership with national sporting organisations, so it will be a big focus, I’m sure, of sport over the next little while and speaking with Tanya, and Court, and Mark, I know that racism is something that has reared its ugly head over the last few months within your sports.
So, if people could start answering that question and while I wait, I’ll let the panellists know there’s 1.5% of people on the call that know it all, okay, so just for your knowledge there’s a few know-it-alls out there. We might kick off with Tanya. What do you think is the most impactful initiative when it comes to tackling racism at a community or grass roots level?
>>Ms Hosch: Being determined and vigilant and consistent. There’s no silver bullets when we’re talking about racism. It’s a paradigm that has been with us for centuries; it’s not going away. But to try and eradicate or at least reduce incidence of racism, you have to be very, very clear that it’s not an acceptable part of the culture of your club and your community. And you do that by not just sending messages, not just about wearing T-shirts or wristbands, not just having an Indigenous round, not just by having one-off events. All of those things are useful, so I’m not trying to say they’re not, but none of those moments of symbolism turn into a movement against racism unless there’s very clear leadership and consistency.
That doesn’t mean just leaving it up to the people who know what it’s like to experience racism to be the voice of that. The lived experience perspective is critical to understand and create opportunities for that voice, but I’m really glad that there’s more and more conversations now about upstanding and being a good ally and being a strong bystander in relation to those things. And all of that has to be underpinned by strong policies and practices. I think the training that you can bring to bear is really important, but I think we always have to remember that we live in a time where we can get very, very exercised about an individual incident of racism which is really obvious to call out and we can all get really outraged and go to social media and talk about how crap that is. But if we’re not dealing with it from a structural perspective and Taliqua was talking about this a bit before, if we’re not talking about that, if we’re not addressing the systemic issues and the institutional issues, when Courtney was talking about cricket, then this old colonial, steeped in colonial tradition support, it does mean that you have to think about change.
I think sometimes every sport will have its traditions, it will have its superstitions, it will have its nostalgia and it will have its own specific history and I think it’s important to think about all of those things when you’re really looking at the structures that you have in place. I think that’s been really well illustrated with the recent article by Russell Jackson about the history of Tom Wills who contributed to the establishment of both Aussie rules and cricket and the accusation that he was involved in an Indigenous massacre. Now the massacre definitely occurred; the jury is a bit out on whether he had a direct hand in it. But it’s a really, really important conversation to follow through on, because if we don’t think about the past, it’s really hard to move forward in the future, which is why I was so committed to trying to get that apology for Adam Goodes. Because even though it was too late to really serve any benefit for Adam and other people who were impacted by the racism that Adam endured, it’s a bit like we have to face up to who we are, we have to face up to those uncomfortable parts and those uncomfortable truths in our history and in our games that might mean we’ve got to have some tough conversations.
That’s, I guess, why I’m trying to elevate the idea of that commitment, because you have to be uncomfortable. And when we live in a country of extraordinary white-class privilege, where we’re still having the annual conversation about the date of Australia Day, for example and that’s still considered a sensitive topic, I think it shows that there’s not a lot of leadership at the national level from governments on tackling these issues. And sporting clubs are in a fantastic position because they do bring together people from all walks of life and if we want everyone to feel comfortable and safe, then these are really important conversations to have. That also means making sure you actually understand what racism is, because far too often there’s people around who think it’s name calling or having to be seen to be politically correct and that massively undersells what racism is and the impact it has on our communities every day of the week.
>>Mr Tavrou: Okay, a lot in that, a lot to unpack. But I think, as you say, it is about being bold and standing up for what you believe in and having those hard conversations. But it’s all of the things in the polling questions that come together to make sure that we are tackling racism.
Just to give everyone the heads up, so the poll at the moment, you’ve got 56% saying education for coaches and leaders within clubs is the number one priority when it comes to tackling racism, which I think Tanya, to your point, is about that education empowerment and bystander training. The second is leaders with a lived experience within clubs. Third is around policies and code of conduct. And last, it's about marketing campaigns, so really interesting that one’s come through.
Taliqua, what are your thoughts on tackling racism in grassroots clubs?
>>Ms Clancy: I think Tanya really nailed it to be honest. For my experience, I think I come from a different side of it obviously, being an Olympian, surrounded by a bit more, not minority of the sports, it wasn’t so, I wouldn’t say in a competition environment, has been so ever present as it is, but definitely has been present very much throughout the coaching and misunderstanding and that’s where I see it a lot. I think that’s where the policies, I think education actually really for sports that I’m involved with, is very much the education. There is just no, like you would rarely see or ever see an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander coach in most of the fields of the Olympic sports. So there is totally that misunderstanding and I have experienced it throughout my career, not meaningful, too, that’s the thing. I think that’s where it needs to be understood. It’s not always meant to be an insult or an attack, but it’s definitely ever present and the education, honestly, just cannot be more important.
>>Mr Tavrou: Yeah, awesome. The reality is racism exists, right and Mark, I’d love to get your thoughts on this. Do you think there’s any consistency across sports in how we tackle racism?
>>Mr deWeerd: I think there is, Kerry. I think what we have done really well as sports is educated our athletes on racism and how it’s not acceptable and that comes with sanctions and we hold athletes accountable when they are perpetrators of racism. We have done that well as a collective. What we haven’t done well as sports is deal with spectator racism and I think that’s the next big issue or the issue at the moment that is quite prevalent in all of our sports and something that, as a collective, we need to come up with a consistent approach to deal with it.
When you think of community sport and I know it’s not always possible to get Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people sitting on boards and as coaches and the like, but we all come from communities and what we should be looking to is our broader community members to help deal with the issue of racism in our sporting clubs. So if you’re in a local community and it becomes an issue, then engage with your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to help you respond and deal with the issue so that you’re learning from that and the decision-making process around accountability and dealing with issues of racism are incorporating the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Our community sporting clubs look to their NSOs to help them respond and deal with it, but there’s a local solution there if you look hard enough. Community members, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in local communities, in most cases if asked to be part of the solution will give their time and do that. I think that’s where we need to look to. The spectator racism guidelines that are about to be released is a really good starting point because it just highlights the fact that this is a huge social issue and something that we all need to be cognisant of and we all need to have a consistent approach. But what’s missing out of the guidelines is that local level engagement with our communities and them being part of the solution.
When you talk about consistency, like I said, I don’t think there is across our sports in responding to spectator racism and something that we all need to get up to speed with and something I know we’ve discussed in our group forum recently. But it’s also about then how individual sporting clubs themselves connect with their community and utilise their knowledge, their ability to educate and teach others about culture and the impact of racism on community members and then look to find solutions within your local community. But more importantly, there has to be a level of accountability towards individuals and if communities can be part of that solution, then I think you’ll get a much stronger outcome and you’ll also see change in your community more broadly.
Tanya talked about it and I totally agree that sport plays a significant role and we’re seeing at the moment, at the cricket World Cup, where South Africa are dealing with an issue of their captain pulling out of a game because he didn’t want to take a knee and a lot of argument being that sport shouldn’t cross with politics. Well, we’re not suggesting it crosses with politics, we’re suggesting that sport helps to deal with an important social issue and we can’t walk away from being a sportsperson at a grassroots or an elite level, doesn’t take you away from being a community member and if you’ve got a voice, you should use that voice to deal with an issue. So we’ve got that opportunity, I know all of our sportspeople do it well, use their voice, but sometimes we have to use our sports to bring about social change. if we can do that at a local level, then just think of the impact that will have in our communities more broadly, not just our sporting clubs.
>>Mr Tavrou: Yeah, really good point. Really, really good points and I love that approach of dealing with it locally to really understand the real issues going on within community groups, getting that advice from people with lived experience and dealing with it on that real local level, it’s really wise.
Court, you’ve mentioned at the start that you’ve experienced racism. Is there anything that you want to add or think that could be done to deal with it in grassroots sport?
>>Ms Hagen: 100% and I was really excited about answering this session but Tanya, Mark and Taliqua all smashed it out of the park, to be honest. But my answer to this is really multifaceted. I feel like we need to first throw all the LEGO blocks out and start again and unpack why are people comfortable being racists at a community sport environment, versus at the park, versus at the ballet, versus in the workplace? What are the different things in place that people don’t feel comfortable doing it there versus community sport being that cauldron of racism, which doesn’t really make any sense to the everyday person? But it seems to be a place where it’s kind of just a slap on the wrist or, oh yeah that’s kind of just part of it and I think that’s something we need to unpack as a nation, not only just as sport in general, but on a larger scale.
Australia has an identity struggle. Like we, Australia, right now, is struggling to identify itself. Often we see the celebration of it being a multicultural melting pot, but often the melting pot itself, it’s either multicultural diversity inclusion groups or populations and then whatever isn’t that, is Anglo Saxon, Caucasian, white people. But when you really think about it, the pod itself is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This is our land, we’ve been the traditional sovereigns for over 80,000 years in time in memorial but multicultural communities, including Anglo Saxon and Caucasian people, they’re a part of that melting pot, but due to colonialism and the way that the messaging that we’ve been given by authorities, governments, policies, media, of all this time, have all brought in this social power construct of colonial Western ways is the strongest, it’s unbreakable, where all of that build up has been due to the detriment, dispossession of our people.
We idolise our convicts. We often say, oh my ancestor went to jail for stealing a loaf of bread. But what we’re not telling the story of is those convicts were also prisoners who raped and murdered people, they were also racists and we glorify them as the underdogs. Then without going too far into this, it does make sense when I wrap it all back up, but we’ve had the messaging for so long that this is the mainstream, this is the normal. Anyone that doesn’t fit inside that box is diversity or a group that needs to be included. Now when you think about inclusion, it makes it sounds like, oh the system’s not made for you and now you need to be included. I think Tanya actually told me that a while ago, so I won’t use those lines without crediting her, but if that’s the case, then we should be trying to break down the fact that we are exclusive by nature.
Sport is supposed to be inclusive by nature, but it’s exclusive by culture because of the way that it’s been built. The messaging around it and we need to really unpack that and work out where have we gone wrong and if we threw it all out and started again, how can we build? So it’s not about necessarily breaking down – well it is, but it’s actually throwing out a challenge to everyone to evolve your system. It’s not about being more inclusive, it’s about the fact that you shouldn’t have to do anything to be inclusive, you should already be existent to the point where you don’t need these extra strategies, flags or whatever, to feel like people can just exist in this space, feel safe and celebrated.
When you mentioned before about experiencing racism, I became captain of the Queensland Indigenous women’s cricket team a couple of years ago and my club was really excited about it, like they were fine. I was only one of two Indigenous people at the club and my coach, who I adored, I thought he was really, really great, still do, he was so pumped for me. And then the next thing he said was, oh so you’re half caste? I was like, what? So you just completely minimised something that was really exciting, but also made me question why am I here, or it brings out that imposter syndrome that happens a lot for mob no matter what colour you are, that you don’t deserve to be there because of X, Y and Z. So it’s that language that we need to change as well, right? It’s about calling things Indigenous programs and then normal or mainstream when we’re talking about all abilities as well. It’s the disability sports versus normal sports. We need to change that completely.
You even think about POC Indigenous people, people part of the LGBTQ community, people with disability as well. We’re actually the global majority versus able bodies, this white, hetero (148:01) [men] as well. It’s really interesting how our power dynamics don’t reflect that, which is another thing we’ll go into later. But that language around, oh clubs would be bold and brave by putting an Aboriginal flag up the front of our club, like that’s not bold and brave. Obviously my dog’s going off about it too. So don’t worry, we’re getting mad.
>>Mr Tavrou: Your dog’s really annoyed.
>>Ms Hagen: Yeah, he’s been through a lot. It’s about we’re not being bold and brave, realising the – sorry and contributing to the positive realisation of people’s human rights, that not bold and brave, that’s literally should be the baseline of what we’re doing day to day. If your mission and your procedures and everything that you do in your setup as an organisation or a club or what you’re doing doesn’t contribute to that, then start again. Work it out. That’s me, sorry.
>>Mr Tavrou: Yeah, no, great points, Court and again, thanks for your honesty. It is about that universal design and being sports for everyone and challenging tradition that the sport has come from to really have a good hard look at yourself and I think there were some excellent points in there.
Okay, let’s move on to our last question. Appreciate I want to move on to the – I think we’ve got heaps of questions coming through the chat, so we’d love to get to those as soon as possible. I’ll ask everyone to be quite prompt. But I will just say the key thing that stood out for me around that last topic of racism and even talking about our country’s history, is not to hide away from it, but to face it and again, have those conversations because we’re going to better for it again. If we are building a more inclusive environment, we need to have those hard conversations.
So our last question is around policies. I know that’s been something that’s been discussed a bit throughout today, so what policies do you think are more likely to bring about real change? So there’s four policies in there, one’s around member protection, one’s around codes of conduct and behaviour, one’s around antiracism or similar guidelines and one’s around affiliation requirements aligned with the above policies. Okay, Mark, I might kick off with you. I’m going to broaden the question a touch, though. So what policies, guidelines or processes do you think sports can put in place to bring about real change for Aboriginal youth?
>>Mr deWeerd: I don’t think we need policies at all. I just think we need sports to be accessible, we need sports to be welcoming, in some cases we need to take sports to our kids. When I talk about accessibility, it’s twofold, one being able to get along to a sport and be able to afford to play the sport and have access to the equipment to participate in the sport, that’s accessibility, but it’s also the accessibility of a club that makes you feel welcome and comfortable when you walk through the gate, that encourages you to be the best you can and strive to be successful. For me, they’re the things that will bring about change in our communities for our young people and will change the nature of clubs if you open your doors and you encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth to walk through the gate and be part of an environment.
Kids have got so much to give in terms of talent, but also their own culture that they bring with them, which will have an amazing impact on all of our grassroots clubs. So yeah, for me the policies are great, we need them, but more importantly there’s that piece of just opening your doors and encouraging and rolling out the welcome mat or taking your sport to our young people and make sure that it’s accessible.
>>Mr Tavrou: Well said, well said. All right, Taliqua, did you want to add to that at all?
>>Ms Clancy: No, I 100% agree. I think this is a tough one, I don’t feel like I’m so educated. I think the unique part of my sport is actually it’s very much international, so that’s another challenge that I see myself finding it hard to, because I would love obviously more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to be involved in my sport, but I do understand that it’s not all for our people. I’ve been very blessed, very supportive parents or my grandparents and my mum, always encouraging me and saying yes and taking me everywhere. They didn’t really give me the opportunity, I guess, to really kind of get homesick, so I think it’s great for me to actually listen, because it does need to be more accessible.
I think it is extremely difficult when I try to see and envision that and to understand the policy of how that can create better pathways for our mob. But he’s totally 100% correct, it needs to be more accessible. The funding in sport has actually gone down so much, being from when I first started in sport, sport to now and that we do need to create more opportunities and be way more accessible if we’re going to increase that engagement in Sport for our mob.
>>Mr Tavrou: Yeah, cool. Well said, well said. Okay, so I’ll just give you some stats before Court and Tan, you answer. The highest polling is clubs with – sorry, affiliation requirements aligned with clubs having policies in place. Next is codes of behaviour, then antiracism and similar guidelines is closely behind. Interestingly, member protection policies only has 1.8% of the votes, so yeah, that’s an interesting stat. Court, what are your thoughts?
>>Ms Hagen: Sorry, I won’t go on as long as I did last time. But in regards to processes and policies and things like that, I think shifting our focus from the low-hanging fruit, just getting Indigenous people there is really important. But if they’re not staying there, that obviously clearly highlights the bigger issue and we really need to focus on retention more than anything. Another thing is training the way that we have established the setups and pathways into elite sport, without going too heavily down this rabbit hole as well, but our systems are all set up for people that live in our cities too.
There are Olympians and when Taliqua mentioned that stat around only 13 Indigenous women have participated in the Olympics, like firstly I’m quite disgusted in that, but also not surprised when you think about the pathways to get in there. Sport, once you sort of break through the community barrier, to play div one you have to pay for it somewhere. So it’s not accessible and it’s only for people that have that privilege to be able to afford that extracurricular activity or for people that, once they finish high school, for example, have to pay bills to live and you can’t. There’s only a few sports where, as a woman or even just as a young person, you can’t be involved and engaged in that to get to the highest level because you're unsupported, you just can’t. I’s not set up for majority of our people. I think the everyday person as well, to become an elite athlete, it’s more whatever privilege you’re born into is where you’re going to end up in.
That being said, no doubt we’ve had some great athletes come from our rural areas, but they are few and far between and it also sort of highlights the fact that you have to move interstate away from country, away from people, to be there. It’s not fair. If we’re talking about sport being a fundamental human right, where does that start and stop? Is our funding reflective of it? Are our policies reflective of it? If we’re talking about government in general, sport’s going to play a huge role in closing the gap for mob, 100% and it’s not about ensuring that we have 20 indigenous people on each elite team, but I guarantee if we levelled the playing boards, if we completely levelled it, there would be and there would have been for years, but it’s just not the case.
What it is, is breaking out of that system that you need to go to, the grammar schools that have the specialist coaches that give you that one up, before you’re even 10 years old. You’re already above the game when you’re 10. There is no chance for any young other person coming through the system. I think we’ve got a lot of work to do to counteract that. I think we’ve just gone really far the wrong way sometimes.
>>Mr Tavrou: Good point. Sorry, Tan, before I go to you to get your thoughts, Mark you mentioned before that I think 19% of your grassroots participants were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. What percentage of that is carried over to the elite level?
>>Mr deWeerd: 12%.
>>Mr Tavrou: 12%, okay. So to Court’s point, there is a bit of a drop off or there isn’t that consistent representation throughout.
>>Mr deWeerd: Yeah.
>>Mr Tavrou: Tan, over to you. Any thoughts around the policies, guidelines, processes you think can bring about really change?
>>Ms Hosch: Yeah, just probably to add to all the other comments. I mean policy is important, it sets out expectations, it provides guidance around processes for dealing with breaches of policy hopefully as well. But policy isn’t what drives behaviours, what people believe and what their belief systems say. Policies are guidelines at the end of the day and so to think that having a really beautiful policy written up that covers off on what the expectations are, delivering that sort of attitudinal change is not going to do it. So policies are important and I think there’s a lot of guidance from professional sports, elite sports and high-performance sports about policy expectations. You don’t have to start from scratch, but it is really beliefs that drive behaviour.
I think having ongoing conversations and also policy improvement, you can have a policy and it stays static for 10 years until there’s an incident and everyone thinks, oh we better do a policy review. It’s a bit late, actually. It’s about proactivity and bringing these policy conversations to life in a meaningful way that people can apply in practice and they understand what it looks like to apply it in practice. So I think with whatever policy base you’re able to bring to bear, which is again important, it’s not as important as making it a living document that is reviewed regularly to make sure that it is actually responsive to people’s real experience in your environment.
>>Mr Tavrou: Excellent points, Tan and really well rounded out, that conversation. Okay, so we’re going to jump into the question time. Please, let’s keep this rapid fire as much as possible so we can get through as many questions as possible. And keep the questions coming in, please, for the next 10 or so minutes.
The first question is from [Saba] for Tanya. As a woman of colour in an industry surrounded by white men that are the main decision makers, as I am, how do you assert yourself and deal with the dominant environment in implementing diverse policies?
>>Ms Hosch: I think one of my best attributes is the fact that I’m stubborn. Just continuing to turn up, continuing to put up my hand and say, I have something to say. But also, the way to sustain that effort is what’s important is my peer group, the supportive environment that we’ve established as a group, Kerry, that you mentioned before with Mark and Court and others who have been part of that. My peers outside of sport who are my mentors, anything like that. I mean I think yes, I’d come out of Indigenous affairs politics for the best part of over 20 years and that was not a feminist picnic. That was pretty male dominated as well, so I wasn’t coming into sport expecting it not to be white, I wasn’t expecting it not to be male dominated. I think the thing that really threw me was the class differential initially and just the sense of isolation because I was really removed from all the blackfellas and having that shared understanding and being able to have those really direct conversations without qualifying things and explaining it. All of that is really exhausting.
For me it was just listening the voices of others and realising that everyone who has come before me, whether it’s in sport or anyone else anywhere else had to fight and they’ve had to be persistent. I think there are days where I feel like it’s all too hard, but ultimately if I’ve got a seat at the table, I need to use it and if I’m not prepared to take my share of the dancefloor and push myself beyond my comfort, then I probably should make my seat available for someone who can.
I guess it’s a mixed bag of things. There are certainly days that it is really, really tough, I’m not going to lie. But I also look for those signs of life that people are starting to understand and do some of that talking for me. And I’ve been fortunate that some people have been able to take responsibility for amplifying my voice as well over time, but it hasn’t happened overnight and I still have to work at it every day.
>>Mr Tavrou: Thanks Tan, very honest and thank you for being that stubborn person who’s really driving some change within sports. Okay, so the next question is for all panel members. Ideas for building participation in sports that are not tier one, but the vast levels of opportunities and benefits, socially and competitively. Is there any ideas of how we can build participation in those non-tier-one sports? I’ll put it out to anyone to answer.
>>Mr deWeerd: I think a part of it comes back to what we talked about in the last answer around accessibility and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities having access to those sports are there and wanting community members to be part of it. We’ll try anything, to be honest and we’re quite good at all sports. The tier one is what we see and where we see success predominantly, but I’m sure there’s so many beach volleyballers out there now because of the success that Taliqua has had. I mean once we start seeing more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people playing these lower-tier sports, then people will get involved. But firstly they have to know they’re there and they have to then be able to have access to it. Rather than sit back waiting for young people to come to you, you need to go out there and find them and show them those sports and they’ll definitely engage.
>>Mr Tavrou: Yeah, awesome.
>>Ms Hagen: I might jump in on that as well, sorry Kerry.
>>Mr Tavrou: Yeah, go Court.
>>Ms Hagen: I was just going to add as well, sort of like the pied piper effect, bring the sport to community and ensure that you hire someone from community to run it. If they aren’t skilled in it, then upskill them. That’s the most beneficial think you can do to get people involved, is to bring someone from the community into there and run it when the community wants to run it. Go down to your local Aboriginal land council, talk to them and say, hey I want to build this program, how do I get you fellas in here? They might say, hey we’ve got this person, we’ve got this person and none of these days work except for this day. Put it on that day; don’t try and get different community to fit into your mould, you need to fit into them. I think that’s probably broader for sport in general, that you’ve got to make it as accessible as possible, like Mark said. If you're trying to capture schoolkids, then get them at school or after school, don’t make them come all the way out to your club that’s ages away and they can’t get there, you're not going to get them. We need to go to the people.
>>Mr Tavrou: Great. It does come back to that being local, co-designing, making sure you’re working with that local community, great. Any other thoughts before we move onto the next one? All right, let’s go. So Kelly asks, football codes and other tier one sports in her experience tend to suck up the oxygen leaving other sports codes struggling to get support and resources to be inclusive. How might this change? Anyone want to have a go at that one?
>>Mr deWeerd: I don’t think it’s too dissimilar, Kerry and I appreciate that and it’s easy being in rugby league where for rugby league and AFL where most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people feel comfortable, but you have to make yourself known to communities. It’s not necessarily about the dollars, it’s just understanding the sport’s there and you’re happy for and you want Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to be part of your sport. Where there’s a bit of love and a bit of empathy for our communities, then we’ll keep coming back, so it is about getting out into communities, raising awareness, giving people the opportunity to participate and I think you’ll slowly see some change.
>>Mr Tavrou: Yeah great. Any other comments on that one?
>>Ms Hosch: Look, I’d just add, Kerry, that I think I know when AFLW started there was a lot of talk about how much attention it got. But in my view, I think if you look at the coverage that other women’s sports have got off the back of AFLW’s profile, it’s only increased and so has the funding from other sponsors as a result of that. I think there’s no way that these big sporting codes are going to move away because we’re all focusing on growth all the time as well and so I think where the professional sports are situated, we’re competing with each other and there’s no finish line there. But really, it’s about thinking about how can we leverage off that success, how can we leverage off their profile, who is it that is part of those sports who is also interested in our sport too? I’ve seen a lot of great feedback off the back of Max Gawn, the captain of Melbourne Football Club who just won the Premiership, he’s really into cycling and he’s been doing some cycling podcasts.
I just think part of the problem with sports is that we do compete with each other quite organically and that’s probably not going to change. But I do think that when you start talking to people and the way that our group has worked together, we are very open about sharing ideas, what works, what’s not working, where do we need help. And I think reaching out to some of these sports to ask for a bit of help or a bit of guidance is not a bad idea.
>>Mr Tavrou: Awesome. Any other comments?
>>Ms Clancy: No, I have to agree with both that was said, as a player in a sport that is definitely a minority, I definitely don’t feel that it definitely sucks the oxygen. I think actually it benefits. I think that’s the beauty of sport. I think it is all about the accessibility. We have to go out there. For myself, I’m an ambassador with Deadly Choices, we ran an Olympic day just even with Deadly Kindies I’m playing volleyball with four, five-year-olds and they’re so engaged. You do actually have to make the effort, especially in minority sports, to actually just – there are opportunities there, like doing that with Deadly Choices and getting on board with another Aboriginal program creates that moment and that enjoyment. Honestly, it was so special because they just loved running around in the sand. That was enough for me to be like, that’s perfect, you're learning my sport and not all kids can do it because of the age they were at, it didn’t matter. It was all about that participation and going out there and being a part of sport.
I think it’s very easy, I think minority sports do that quite a bit, is saying that it’s not – we don’t have the funding, we don’t have this, but if you increase your participation, then things can change. Especially now, it’s so exciting that Brisbane 2032 is happening. It is going to be there and you need to want to grab that and to be a part of that. It is so important because we love sport. It’s ingrained in us. We love that, but you have to take the time to make it accessible to our mob.
>>Mr Tavrou: Yeah, yeah, spot on. Really good points, Taliqua. Okay, the next one’s a bit of fun. Bowls Australia are offering up $20,000 to go towards Indigenous programming, staffing, they want to know where they can go. We’re thinking maybe artwork could be used on uniforms or websites, are we way off track? Anyone want to tackle that one? If you had 20 grand to spend at bowls, what would you do?
>>Mr deWeerd: Growing up in Walgett, I actually played a lot of lawn bowls and being in a community with predominantly Aboriginal community members, there were so many other blackfellas down there playing lawn bowls every weekend. It was a sport that they all wanted to play. I think don’t underestimate how many Aboriginal people actually play your sport, I think that’s the other part of it. For our sports, it’s quite easy because we’ve got all the data. We know how many Aboriginal people participate in rugby league, we can measure that, we can pinpoint exactly where there’s high levels of participation and where there’s not. The first point is to understand where your sport is being played, if you can. Maybe that 20K might be best spent to do a bit of a deep dive into your sport and identify where you do have participation and where you can continue to grow that. If you go out to Western New South Wales, I can guarantee that there are clubs there full of Aboriginal people playing the sport.
>>Mr Tavrou: Awesome. Again, putting that funding towards insights and being insights driven, that’s really wise. Yes, anyone else, hand up? No? Okay. We might move on just because I am out of time, sorry Beau, but we’re just going to tackle this next one. Sports adopt policies that are developed at a state or national level, however what strategies do clubs need to bring these policies to life, really changing behaviours? What do we need to do?
>>Ms Hosch: I don’t think I understand the question, Kerry.
>>Mr Tavrou: It’s around bringing policies to life and changing behaviours within clubs, is there anything that you’d recommend that we can do so policies just don’t get dusty on a shelf?
>>Ms Hosch: Yeah, I think they need to be discussed. I think they need to be reviewed. Quite often policies sit there unchanged for long periods of time and so just that maintenance of your policies is important. Because obviously in order to review it, you really do have to question whether it’s working, whether it’s relevant and that’s probably going to mean talking to people in your code about whether they even know the policy exists, whether they are going to use it, if they do know it exists or they understand it and really who’s administering it. Because I know at community level sport in particular, it can be really difficult for the volunteers who are running the sport to necessarily be the best people to communicate on the policy level. A lot is asked of people in sporting clubs in terms of some of these more policy-driven conversations.
I think not necessarily talking about it as a policy review, but talking about it as this is what we do if A, B, C, D or E happens, does that makes sense and what’s happening to you and how many things are actually going on behind the scenes that no one ever tells us about. I think it’s really about having a normal conversation about what’s working, what’s not working and how people feel. I think sometimes we’re too worried about having conversations that engage people’s emotions, but when we’re talking about issues of racism, sexism, homophobia, whatever it is, if you're talking about the inclusion of gender, how people feel is critical.
At the end of the day, I think that a lot of us are engaged in sport not because we’re massively competitive but because it gives us a sense of belonging. I think that belonging is a universal human need and I think to help people feel like not only they belong and having your policies reflect that and also involving people in your clubs to help drive some of these outcomes and importantly the discussions that inform them, are probably going to be the thing that has the biggest direct impact.
>>Mr Tavrou: I think that’s really coming through today, is about having these real conversations and that’s how do you bring things to life, is just being honest and discussing things that people may feel uncomfortable to discuss. But yes, some great points. All right, if everyone’s cool, I might just continue. So Pete Downs has come out of retirement to ask a question. He says, brilliant Courtney, was wondering what the other panellists thought about whether their sports exclude people rather than emphasise on inclusion into a system that is clearly broken, so just to get other people’s thoughts on Courtney’s comments around that one.
>>Mr deWeerd: It’s a tough one. I don’t necessarily think rugby league excludes, but what it does do, in some situations, it’s not as welcoming at a community level. So if you go into a club that you don’t see any other Aboriginal people or you hear snide comments or you don’t respond when there is an issue, then you’re not going to necessarily exclude, but you're going to get people who don’t want to be part of your club, which it obviously leads to a level of exclusion.
Yeah, I think it all comes down to how much effort you make at your club to be welcoming, as Tanya said, make people feel that they belong at your club, determines whether you become exclusive or not. Because if you treat people poorly under any circumstances, they’re going to exclude themselves. As a sport we may not exclude through policy or process, but we do through behaviours and if our behaviours aren’t what we want to see, then you’ll just exclude yourself from that environment.
>>Mr Tavrou: Good points, really good points. Anyone else want to touch on that one? All right, we might crack on. The next question is from Laurie who says, I’m part of a winter sport that originated from Europe, I’m keen to how you’d recommend NSOs and clubs get in touch with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members to be part of a sport or even just a resource to assist in developing programs and ensure the sport is inclusive. Where do we start? How do we find these community members?
>>Ms Hagen: Do you have Google?
>>Mr Tavrou: Yeah, so if I’m jumping on Google, what do I type in?
>>Ms Hagen: Aboriginal Land Council in your area, working with your local council. I’m not sure whether you're coming from a state body or not. There’s even Aboriginal affairs departments in majority of our state government, even federal government now. I think don’t be hesitant to get it right straight away. I think a lot of people avoid doing these things because they’re worried they’re going to offend people by asking the question, but ask the question. Just be genuine and human about it and you’re not going to upset anyone through the process. Go to your local Aboriginal Land Council. You might have an all-Aboriginal school, universities, there is a lot of study around this. Obviously you’ve got people like Tanya, Mark, Kerry and myself that work in NSOs, but there’s people that also work in our state bodies as well that do this. I think just go and do it, it’s pretty simple. But yeah, that’s where I would start.
>>Mr Tavrou: Yeah, reaching out through land councils and communities and just going through Google, yeah, good one. Anyone else want to add anything?
>>Ms Hosch: Yeah, I would add, remember, I don’t know how many years ago it was now, probably three or four, Adrian Dodson-Shaw, who is part of the Indigenous Marathon project, did a marathon in Antarctica and he’s from Broome. So I remember talking to his dad, Senator Patrick Dodson. He said, I don’t know what he’s doing for training, I don’t know if he’s training and doing laps in a freezer, I don’t know what’s going on. But they might be a great group to start with because they did run a marathon project in Antarctica, so yeah, I guess they would have some practical tips and potentially some people who really enjoyed that experience and might want to know more about what you’ve got to offer.
>>Mr Tavrou: Awesome, yeah great advice. All right, last question. We’re well over time, but we’re just going to go for it anyway thanks to Beau giving us some thumbs up. Dreaming, if you had unlimited funding right now and you wanted to increase Indigenous representation in coaching and off-field roles in your sport, what would you do?
>>Ms Hagen: I’d hire Indigenous people to coach and do off-field roles.
>>Mr Tavrou: At an elite level?
>>Ms Hagen: An elite level. I mean I guess it depends if you’ve got them in your sport already. If they’re already there, it would make sense. If they’ve got the skill and the reason why they haven’t been hired is because of lack of funding, like they’re ensuring that there is no barriers to participate and to be a professional coach full time, that’s something that’s even a larger problem than being an athlete, is being a coach and being able to afford to live on that income, which is very, very rare. Then creating more opportunities for coaches to coach, whether that be creating more programs, more teams, more competitions, that’s the only way we’re going to get more elite coaches in this space and providing a pathway to overseas opportunities as well.
>>Mr Tavrou: Awesome, thanks Court. Taliqua?
>>Ms Clancy: Oh she kind of nailed it, to be honest. Yeah, I think especially in our field, because we know there isn’t a huge number of us, I think it’s the funding, while we are current athletes, to make sure that we do have pathways outside. We are lovers of sport, as we’ve all said and so I think it’s so important to keep us in and to make sure that we give us all the opportunity to have education to choose what we want to do. Maybe we want to be coaches, maybe we want to be on the board, maybe we want to be a potential president.
I think it’s giving the opportunities there for when we are retiring or heading closer to retirement or even just currently now. I think I would love to see that happening more and have the opportunity because I’ve currently been offered the opportunity, but it’s not from within my sport, it’s from actually another sporting field who are offering that support to see my future, so I’d love to see that happening through current athletes’ careers to keep that engagement.
>>Mr Tavrou: Awesome, excellent. All right, Tan or Mark, did you have anything to add before we wrap up?
>>Ms Hosch: Just a quick one for me. I know talking to some former players that for them, being in the system as players for a long time doesn’t necessarily equate to wanting to coach because they know that coaches get paid a lot less and do a lot more hours and getting away from the discipline of the system. The other thing that has been shared with me is people are a bit nervous about the degree of numeracy and literacy skills you need when you're a coach and have even talked about, if I had to get in front of the room with a whiteboard and write some stuff down, I don’t even know if my spelling’s up to scratch.
That might sound like a glib comment, but I think it’s incredibly critical; I mean there’s a huge amount of coding that goes into sport, there is maths, there’s a whole range of things. I think creating pathways for people to learn those skills in a way where they’re actually going to feel confident to develop them and practise them, it is really, really important. I think the other thing is, for some people, particularly if they’re leaving a sport, is this a real career pathway? There’s only so many senior coaching roles that are going to pay serious money, but they come with enormous amount of pressure.
I think just relying on people who’ve left the game is not going to do it. I think it is really going after all of those Indigenous people in further study, while they’re at school, there’s a big push for STEM subjects, to move more Indigenous people into STEM subjects. This is a conversation that should be had at that level, can we start to create pathways there? Do some of those STEM students realise that coaching would be a real option for them and it doesn’t mean that they have to be a scientist or a mathematician or an engineer, or a doctor, there might be other things that they could do and if they love sport that that might be quite attractive. I think you’ve got to start early with those conversations and create the aspiration. I think for a lot of us, you just would never think that, unless you played at the top of the level and you were a real superstar in that sport, that you can actually transfer into coaching and I think that it all starts with seeding the idea that it is a possibility. But then if you do that, you better have some things in place to create a pathway.
>>Mr Tavrou: Awesome. Mark, Beau’s going to kill me, but go ahead.
>>Mr deWeerd: There’s just a really good recent experience in rugby league where the NRL, in partnership with KARI Foundation, ran a coaches’ conference for grassroots coaches who had aspirations to be a high-level coach. Off the back of that, a guy, Ronald Griffiths, was identified as someone who had aspirations to coach at the NRL level. Through KARI, he developed a partnership with the Wests Tigers, offered to fund Ronald’s role if they took him on as a coach. Now he’s got a position as an assistant coach to Michael Maguire at the Wests Tigers. It’s a good example where through an initiative of the NRL and an Aboriginal organisation were able to provide some exposure at an NRL club to someone who had aspirations and now he’s an assistant coach at an NRL club. It’s a really simple example of what can happen if you put your mind to it.
>>Mr Tavrou: Yeah, awesome.
>>Mr deWeerd: If sports put their mind to it.
>>Mr Tavrou: Thank you, Mark and thank you all the panellists, really, really appreciate your time and I hope everyone got a lot of out of it. Actually there is that last survey question which will hopefully pop up now and you can answer that around your level of confidence when it comes to engaging and connecting with First Nations people. Thanks again everyone. Beau, I’ll hand it back to you and sorry for going over.
>>Mr Newell: No problem at all, Kerry. Look if I’m totally honest, I wish we could have had more hours to talk about this topic. I don’t know about everybody else that was listening into this session, but this conversation has truly been phenomenal. I’ve got a couple of quick points which I wanted to highlight, which are good takeaways for me. I mean I could have listed hundreds, but Taliqua, first of all for you, congratulations again on your achievements in Tokyo. I genuinely mean this when I say that you truly are a leader and an inspiration to not only other Indigenous athletes, but indeed non-Indigenous athletes as well. And this is highlighted by what you mentioned earlier too about your involvement in Deadly Choices, highlighting the importance of accessibility for Indigenous young people, so amazing work in that space, mate, well done.
Tanya, a lot of your points and I know you and I have spoken about this in the past too, you speak a lot about leadership and highlighting something that many sporting organisations are kind of scratching their heads on about how to effectively engage with the indigenous community. You mentioned earlier and you pointed out that one of the issues around this is that many organisations don’t actually have Indigenous people in leadership positions and this does highlight that disconnect, I think you called it, with some work that we’re seeing across the sporting industry.
Mark, similar to yourself, you spoke about the consistency or even their lack of, excuse me, across sport and how we address and deal with things like racism in sport. This was talked about by a few people, but you highlighted this really well in that many look to national sporting organisations for guidance, but some don’t actually realise that they may be able to have a local community-level solution to the matter, as well as emphasising the need for greater accountability across sport. I thought that was a really good one.
Courtney, I just absolutely loved your analogy about throwing away all of the LEGO and starting the build again, which was brilliant and the need to ask the right questions, one of which being why are people comfortable being racist at sporting events. I don’t think that we’ve asked that question enough yet. Those are just some of my takeaways which were amazing.
For the benefit of everyone in the room, the recordings of this panel session will be available on the Play by the Rules website over the coming days, so please make sure you watch it and share it far and wide. Now to our audience, if you’re still with us and just before you leave the presentation, I’d encourage you to click the orange speech bubble button at the top of your screen and please complete a very quick survey. Just a reminder that we’re supporting Lifeline today, so while today’s event is free, if you do have a spare few dollars for Lifeline’s work on mental health, please do so.
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Well we’re kind of coming to the end now, so 2021 has presented many challenges as we know and while the road out of lockdown is well underway, the road to Brisbane 2032 has only just begun. We know that there are many more conversations over the coming years that we need to have to ensure that we foster and deliver a more safe, fun and inclusive environment for all people, because providing an inclusive sporting environment should not only reflect the core values of our society, it should also reflect the diversity of our local communities themselves.
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