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Bowls In Focus : May 2011
6 Bowls In Focus Special Announcement Bowls Victoria once again will be able to conduct single- gender competitions under an amended, new Equal Opportunity Act in Victoria The Board of Bowls Victoria is delighted to finally indicate to our membership that after years of solid negotiation, the Equal Opportunity Act in Victoria is in the process of being amended to enable spor ts such as ours to have greater control over the management of competitions for men and women, separately and together. There will be many bowlers who will take great pleasure in recognising that they have played a key role in as- sisting in this outcome. The lobbying of local politicians, in particular, has been a contributing factor in helping to bring this to the attention of the new government. Thank you. But, to those bowlers who through their public accusations that the failure to address this matter was evidence of Bowls Victoria’s inaction or ineptitude, those arguments are fully understood for what they are by those with whom we have worked in recent years. Equal Opportunity Act The new Equal Opportunity Act by the Baillieu Government, especially through Attorney-General, Robert Clark, and Minister for Spor t and Recreation, Hugh Delahunty, went to the Second Reading stage on 5 May 2011. The wording of the new Equal Opportunity Act, providing it survives the course of passing through parlia- ment, will become public in Hansard on 6 May 2011. The new Act will also remove the requirement of Bowls Victoria to go to VCAT every three years to seek renewal of current exemptions (for elite pathway events). As pathway programs, they will automatically be allowed. In brief, the Act will be amended to enable Bowls Victoria, and any other sports that may have been caught up in the ‘strength, stamina, physique’ provi- sion, to have greater control over the conduct of single gender events in the interests of participation in their sport. Background In April 2008, the then RVBA and VLBA sent a submission to the Depar tment of Justice as part of A Review of the exceptions and exemptions for the Equal Opportunity Act 1995 (Vic), in which the findings by VCAT were described as having negative impacts on par ticipation, especially by women, due to the Act’s reliance on the factors of strength, stamina and physique only. We argued that such reliance did not take account of other factors, including the need for emotional, psychological and social satisfaction when competing. We argued that the strength, stamina and physique deci- sion was effectively having the effect of ‘reverse discrimination’ insofar as many (women in particular) were finding the ‘mixed’ pennant unsatisfy- ing. This submission was made public to clubs at the time. But it was hardly bedtime reading. Under the new Baillieu Govern- ment, and arising from various factors (the submissions under the Exceptions Review above by bowls, by Netball Victoria and by Vicspor t; concerns expressed by other sports that they could become caught in the same predicament as bowls - darts, snooker, ten pen bowling, etc; direct discussions with Minister Delahunty (including those dating back to before being elected into government); discussions with the Victorian Human Rights and Equal Oppor tunity Com- mission; assistance from Lander & Rogers; well argued often passionate presentations from dissatisfied bowl- ers to their local Members, etc), the exceptions to the Act were developed within the Department of Justice/ Attorney-General’s Department. I was invited to meet with senior staff in the Department of Justice in relation to the proposed changes to the Act. Subsequently, president Graeme Hosken, deputy president Betty Collins and director Rosemary Varty were able to join me in such meetings. Rosemary’s previous life as the Hon Member of the Legislative Council 1985-99, and as Parliamen- tary Secretary to Cabinet from 1992- 99, proved invaluable. On Wednesday 4 May we were able to meet with Minister Delahunty and Attorney-General Clark prior to the announcement in the Herald- Sun the following day. The mutual cooperation between Government and Bowls Victoria was recognised and appreciated. This is a terrific, common sense outcome being delivered via the new Act. It will see Bowls Victoria, our Bowls Regions, Bowls Divisions and Clubs far better able to control our own destiny when it comes to the conduct of competitions. Peter Hanlon Lawn Order Lawn OrderLeading The Way Leading The Way Leading The Way From the President: “T his is the culmination of a joint effort between Bowls Victoria and the Victorian Government, supported by many of our members. We are extremely proud of the role played by Bowls Victoria and par ticularly that of our chief executive, Peter Hanlon.” - Graeme Hosken • Attorney-General, Robert Clark and Minister for Sport and Recreation, Hugh Delahunty symbolically hand the bowl back to Bowls Victoria Director and Doncaster club bowler Pat Calabresi. Anne & Greg Sherman 12 Nolan Street Bendigo, Vic. 3550 Phone: 03 5442 2199 Fax: 03 5441 6619 www.bendigobowlsshop.com.au WE SELL ALL MAJOR BRANDS ONLINE NOW! Save time and Money Now in the comfort of your own home, Bendigo Jack High Bowls Shop invites you to browse through the extensive range of bowls, lawn bowling equipment and apparel Order Online Country VICTORIA’S largest range of bowls clothing, accessories, new & second hand bowls.
March April 2011
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