CRL cleared of racism allegations
TROUBLED rugby league club Dunghutti Broncos has received a stinging rebuke from the Anti-Discrimination Board of New South Wales.
A complaint made by the organisation alleging racism was instrumental in their exclusion from this year’s Group 2 premiership, has been declined.
In advising all parties of the finding, the Board decided ‘any further investigation of the complaint is unwarranted.’
Under section 92(1) of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 (NSW) the complaint was found to be lacking in substance.
Dunghutti official Dave Fernando named Country Rugby League in the complaint after CRL general manager Terry Quinn rejected an attempt to appeal a decision made at the 2009-10 Group 2 annual conference to exclude them from the competition.
Quinn made his call after receiving a copy of an email sent by Mr Fernando to the clubs which he angrily described as an attempt to threaten or blackmail them into backing Dunghutti’s re-entry.
In reasons given by the Board for making the decision, it was stated Mr Fernando lodged an application to enter a team into the 2010 Group 2 competition and at the AGM delegates from all the teams voted upon which would be admitted.
Clubs voted Dunghutti into the competition between 2007 and 2009 under the same system which the Dunghutti club accepted.
“The Group 2 area has a large Aboriginal population and other clubs who were successful in entering the 2010 competition had Aboriginal players,” the findings noted.
“Nothing in the correspondence would indicate that race was a relevant factor in Mr Fernando’s team being voted into the 2010 competition.
“It appears the Dunghutti club was judged on their ability to operate a rugby league club.”
Mr Fernando was given until June 14 to request the matter be sent to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal but declined to do so.
Group 2 chairman Greg Mayhew said the Board’s decision validated the fairness shown to Dunghutti when the vote to exclude them from the 2010 competition was made.
“Despite all sorts of claims that the delegates had a racial motivation when they denied the application, this has now been declared a false accusation,” he said.
“Dunghutti were voted in twice before and the only reason it didn’t happen a third time was the clubs made a judgement on their ability to run a football club.
“That was the sole basis of their decision.”
However, Mayhew was adamant Group 2 had not voted to destroy the Dunghutti club.
“We live in a democracy and believe if Dunghutti wish to re-apply for admission next season ... or any prospective club for that matter ... if they come forward with a reasonable case, we are prepared to listen to the application,” he added.
“That is their right under the CRL constitution which is the document which underpins all our decisions.”
Yesterday, The Coffs Coast Advocate attempted to contact Mr Fernando for comment but both telephone numbers supplied by his organisation to Group 2 were inactive.