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Parliament approves anti-doping code to align with world authority

17 November 2014

DOPING: Australia's anti-doping body will be given boosted powers to crack down on drugs in sport. Legislation to bring Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority in line with the World Anti-Doping Authority cleared parliament on Monday. 

The world authority next year will introduce tougher penalties, which include doubling bans from two to four years for athletes using performance-enhancing drugs.

Athletes will also be banned from dealing with coaches, trainers and sports scientists who have broken anti-doping laws, and the period in which investigations can begin into past doping offences will be extended by two years to 10 years.

Any Australian code that doesn't comply risks being ruled out of major sporting events.

Labor supported the bill, which passed on the voices.

Opposition frontbencher Claire Moore said doping was "plainly and simply cheating" and could result in long-term health issues.

However, the Greens are concerned about tougher suspensions for lower-level players involved in "innocent breaches" due to prescription medication.

Previously those breaches would be punished by a one year ban but under the changes players could face two years.

"The bill doesn't target accurately enough, or appropriately, the people we want to weed out of sport - that is the drug cheats," Greens senator Richard Di Natale told parliament.

During Senate committee scrutiny of the bill, Australian Olympic Committee president John Coates said Australia was lagging behind other countries and sporting bodies.

Athletes hoping for a spot on Australia's Olympic team for the Rio Games in 2016 could be affected if various national sports federations were not compliant with the world code by next year, he said.

AAP 

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