What the Courts Said About the AFL’s Illicit Drug Policy

In August, 2006, the Supreme Court ruled on an application by media organisations to publicly “name and shame” AFL players who had tested positive to illicit drugs.

In his judgement, supporting the AFL’s Illicit Drug policy, Justice Kellam said:

"It is argued before me that bearing in mind that the IDP(illicit Drug Policy)  imposes a regime upon players over and above the World Anti-Doping Association compliant Anti-Doping Code, the IDP reflected "a ground-breaking, innovative and co-operative initiative between a major sporting administration body and a player representative body directed at proactively addressing illicit drug use in a manner designed to protect the health and welfare of players and others whilst simultaneously condemning and recognising, the potential harm involved with the use or possession of illicit drugs.  I accept that argument."

Also in that judgement, Justice Kellam said:

 “In the end result, it appears to me that there is nothing other than the satisfaction of public curiosity in having the confidentiality of the names of those who have tested positive breached by being released.  It may well be a wonderful front page story for the newspapers and a scoop for other sections of the media.  No doubt photographs of any players concerned will be published and the issue will be productive of many words of journalistic endeavour.  However, I can see nothing that is in the public welfare or in the interests of the community at large which can be served by the identification, and perhaps to a degree the vilification and shaming of those who agreed to be tested randomly pursuant to the terms of the IDP on the basis that such testing would remain confidential until such time as there were to be three positive tests. ….”

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