Sport AFL Labor’s ‘blackest day in sport’

Labor’s ‘blackest day in sport’

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The so-called blackest day in Australian sport was really a black day for Australian politics.That’s the assessment of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who has stepped up his criticism of the previous Labor government’s response to claims of doping in the country’s most popular sporting codes.

‘‘I’m not saying everything’s perfect when it comes to sport and performance-enhancing drugs,’’ he told Macquarie Radio on Monday.

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‘‘But far from being the blackest day for Australian sport, it was a black day for politics, it was a black day for the Labor party.’’

Labor chose to blacken the name of the nation’s sporting elite to give itself a short-term political distraction, Mr Abbott said, describing it as a ‘‘silly, squalid, sordid’’ thing to do.

‘‘It’s pathetic. Absolutely pathetic.’’

Eighteen months later, a lot of decent people were still struggling to restore their reputations.

‘‘It was just really appalling that people could stoop to this level,’’ the prime minister said.

Labor ministers Kate Lundy and Jason Clare were flanked by sporting chiefs when they released the findings of an anti-doping investigation in February 2013.

Richard Ings, former boss of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority, famously labelled it the blackest day in Australian sport.

Justice John Middleton has reserved his decision in a Federal Court case over whether ASADA and the AFL’s investigation of club Essendon was lawful.

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