Don’t Lose Faith In AFL, Leadership Conference Told
13 February 2013 at 5:13 pm
Australians should judge the quality of the responsible leadership of the AFL Board in their response to the drugs in sport scandal and put aside the ‘hysteria’, a Melbourne forum has been told.
The AFL’s first female commissioner, Sam Mostyn, addressed the 150 delegates of the ACCSR’s Responsible Leadership conference in Melbourne today without shying away from addressing the scandal involving the nation’s most prominent sporting code, the Australian Football League.
“Think not just through the snapshot of last week (when the scandal broke) and don’t jump to the conclusion that we’ve lost faith in leadership,” Mostyn said.
“Instead start by judging the quality of leadership dealing with a controversy and how well it’s being handled and communicated.”
She said that the AFL viewed the use of performance enhancers as a very real issue.
“I was disappointed to see reporting that we don’t care,” she said.
“I’m glad we acted quickly and decisively.”
Anecdotally, Mostyn said that there are many people who have lost faith in corporate leaders and politicians who instead put their trust in sporting groups like the AFL, an institution that has long held a unique place in Australian cultural and economic life.
“It would be sad if we no longer have faith in sport. We need to have faith. They are still trustworthy,” she said.
“I hope we can restore your confidence in the game and in the industry.”
Mostyn told Pro Bono Australia that the AFL will now need to work with the clubs and find the broken elements that they need to fix in order to restore the community’s trust back in the AFL.
“It’s an evolving professional sport that takes serious feedback when they make a mistake,” she said.
According to Mostyn, the code is frequently required to demonstrate responsible leadership and be at the forefront of many social issues such as racism, gender relations and homophobia.
The responsible leadership initiatives of the AFL board have lead to a commitment to growing indigenous communities as well as dealing with racism towards migrants via sport, Mostyn said.
The code also works with players in educating them about shifting their perception of women and violence.
“We have a greater openness and inclusion policy and (the board) is much more accountable to stakeholders,” Mostyn said.
Mostyn is the first female commissioner of the Australian Football League and non-executive director at Citibank Australia, Transurban and Virgin Blue. She previously held roles as president of the Australian Museum, director of the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at the University of Sydney and a senior adviser (Communications) to former Prime Minister Paul Keating.
Since Mostyn’s appointment to the AFL board another woman has claimed a seat at the board table. When asked if targets should be set to ensure that more women were on boards, Mostyn said that it was “absolutely time”.
“I wish we didn’t need to have quotas,” she said.