Australian Human Rights Commission Report
Gymnastics Australia update statement; 17 May 2021
Two weeks ago, the Gymnastics Australia Board and Management began the process of transformational change in response to the confronting Australian Human Rights Commission Independent Review into the culture of our sport.
On that same day two weeks ago, the Gymnastics Australia President and myself made a commitment to update our community openly and transparently on our progress, so that we remain accountable for our words and our actions.
Today, I can provide you with the first of these updates.
The Gymnastics Australia Board and Management’s immediate focus has been on how we make swift but most importantly, meaningful and sustainable change.
A few days following the release of the report, I was approached by an impressive young lady involved in our sport who expressed her thoughts and concerns on gymnast attire, especially for female artistic gymnasts.
On a personal level, I heard from her how this can and does affect a participant’s enjoyment of the sport. We must be inclusive and welcoming of all types of attire to encourage and facilitate diverse and inclusive participation with the participant’s comfort front of mind at all times.
After consultation with the National WAG Commission, Gymnastics Australia has determined that at all future national events, competing Women’s Artistic athletes can choose the individual leg and arm length of their leotards that they prefer.
Gymnastics Australia tabled this decision at a joint meeting with our State and Territory Member Associations last week and they also made a commitment to clarify and implement the same approach at local level.
This is an important first step by all Gymnastics governing bodies in our collective efforts to ensure our athletes feel comfortable whilst also competing safely. In the coming months we will be developing an inclusive uniform policy to provide clarity to all athletes participating in their respective GymSport.
Further to this, on the weekend the Gymnastics Australia Integrity Committee, established last year, met to approve the Report response framework, developed to address the recommendations. The entire Gymnastics Australia Board attended this meeting as did the Chair of the Gymnastics Australia Athlete’s Commission.
The Integrity Committee welcomed it newest member, former National Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell. Megan has had extensive experience in issues facing children and young people, having worked with children from all types of backgrounds, including undertaking significant work with vulnerable children. Megan will provide key insights into the voice of the young person, as we look to implement meaningful change.
A key component of the AHRC Report was the importance of the athlete voice and empowering our athletes to have a greater voice in the way our sport is delivered.
With that in mind, today we have opened an Expression of Interest to seek at least one athlete representative to join the Integrity Committee.
This athlete representative will assist Gymnastics Australia in the discussions and decision-making process regarding the implementation of the AHRC recommendations.
Other activities in the fortnight since the Report was released have included:
- Establishing the Response Team framework that includes representation from Gymnastics Australia, our State and Territory Member Associations and relevant external expertise
- Commencing discussions with Sport Integrity Australia regarding the National Integrity Framework
- Commencing discussions with experts in the field of disordered eating, including the AIS who last year released a position statement on this
Before I finish, I want to encourage once again anyone in our community who has concerns about their experiences in gymnastics to contact our Child Safe line on 03 8698 9700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our next update will provide further clarity on timing in relation to key initiatives. All updates and statements will be posted on the Gymnastics Australia website.
Yours in safe sport,