Crimes Amendment (Integrity in Sports) Bill 2013 (18.04.2013)

Written on the 22 April 2013

Ms CROZIER (Southern Metropolitan) -- I am pleased to rise to speak on the Crimes Amendment (Integrity in Sports) Bill 2013. Other members have outlined the technical aspects of the bill. It is an important bill and I am glad that those opposite are also in support of it.

 

I grew up in country Victoria playing competition sports such as tennis and netball from the age of six and then went on to pursue other sporting activities, so I know how important sport is for children who grow up in both country Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne; it is part of our culture and psyche. It is very important that we encourage as many young people as possible to be involved in sport at all levels.

 

Nevertheless, this bill goes to the heart of maintaining integrity in sport. I commend the minister and those involved in bringing this bill forward to ensure that the coalition government's commitment to introduce tough new match-fixing legislation is fulfilled. Sport is a multimillion-dollar industry in Australia. Victoria prides itself on being the sports capital of Australia. With both Melbourne and regional Victoria home to many magnificent sporting facilities, it is little wonder we have that reputation. We need to hold onto that reputation by ensuring that we uphold that integrity.

 

I was surprised to find when conducting some research into this issue that at an international level the illegal betting industry runs to tens of billions of dollars. It is no wonder that organised crime syndicates want to be a part of that. That is why this bill is particularly important.

 

The bill also targets aspects of racing. Mr Ondarchie, in his contribution, spoke about the Fine Cotton affair.

 

That prompted me to recall the Royal School ring-in event, which occurred in Casterton, the country town in which I grew up in western Victoria. I am sure Mr Koch will also recall this incident.

 

Mr Koch -- It was Regal Vista, wasn't it?

 

Ms CROZIER -- It was Regal Vista; that is quite right. I quote from an article from the Age of 31 October 2004 that relates to this incident. I was a young girl at the time, and I remember it put Casterton on the map. I found this article on the internet when I was conducting my research. It states:

 

While the Fine Cotton affair was low-tech, the Royal School scandal at Casterton, western Victoria, in May 1972, was meticulously planned. Owner Rick Renzella, a former used-car salesman, bought the gelding for $350 with a view to a ring-in.
The main problem was that the horse that ran in his place at Casterton won with ridiculous ease. An inquiry revealed the winner to be Regal Vista, who had won the 1970 Liston Stakes at Caulfield. Renzella was jailed for two years.
I remember it because I think the horse's nose was painted.

 

This practice has been going on for a long time. It was certainly an enormous issue then. However, illegal betting and match fixing is much more substantial these days with the introduction of technology. That is why we need to be increasingly vigilant about match fixing. In recent times the media has highlighted many instances where this has become an enormous issue. We need to protect the sporting industry. This bill will enable that to be achieved. We need to protect fans and participants across sporting codes so that they also maintain their integrity.

 

With those few words, I say again that sport is very important to the cultural fabric of Victoria and any attempt to undermine the integrity of any of our sporting institutions should be firmly and speedily dealt with. This bill accomplishes that motive. I commend the bill to the house.

 

 


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