Jobs Events Advertise

Human Rights Commission rejects attempt to have Hawthorn racism claims dismissed

Andrew Mathieson -

Three disgruntled ex-Hawthorn players and their past Indigenous club liaison officer have won their first legal battle over blocking attempts to dismiss the involvement of the football club in the prolonged racism scandal.

Lawyers representing the Hawthorn Football Club, four-time AFL premiership coach Alastair Clarkson and ex-senior staffer Jason Burt failed to have their petition against the discriminatory claims of poor treatment from Cyril Rioli, Carl Peterson, Jermaine Miller-Lewis and also Leon Egan thrown out.

The decision by the Australian Human Rights Commission was also based on accusations coming from partners Shannyn Ah Sam-Rioli and Montanah Miller-Lewis from 2008 to 2016.

Former football manager Chris Fagan was not a part of the petition after the Brisbane Lions coach was also named in the damming Binmada Report, along with Clarkson and Burt, in which the claims were first instigated from.

The First Nations men and their families sought legal advice after an investigation by former AFL player Phil Egan, the author of the report, and were later advised to take their claims to the Human Rights Commission.

The final verdict from the Human Rights Commission on Thursday is set to open up a world's first hearing in professional sports of its kind where team officials could be liable for prosecution over shocking claims of systemic racism.

The allegations included that players were reportedly isolated from family and told to leave their partners for good that even included one unnamed player of the three men that alleges he was urged to terminate the pregnancy of his partner.

Clarkson, Fagan, and Burt have always strongly denied the claims.

All witnesses at the proposed hearing will be required to have sworn testimony and be subjected to cross examination during the process.

The outcome has arrived after the Human Rights Commission is not to be governed by a statute of limitations, instead having a broader discretion to accept the claims unless otherwise proven.

The commission's protocols also offered the players and partners protection to speak with absolute freedom about the events they claim happened during their respective stints at the club without further legal ramifications.

The two parties are now set to head to the conciliation process to come to an agreement.

But should Rioli, Peterson, Miller-Lewis and Egan with their families fail to accept a final resolution, their next step is to head into a Federal Court hearing.

Previous attempts at mediation under an AFL-appointed head of an inquiry, following the completion of the Binmada Report, has already failed.

An independent investigation into the allegations at the AFL club also ended with a result of "no adverse findings" made against any individual.

The club, who should be focusing on the AFL season beginning next month, is waiting for the final outcome before the Hawks intends to offer some form of financial compensation to the four Aboriginal men.

They have said to believe the final bill will cost Hawthorn up to $3 million.

"We want to see this matter resolved fairly for everyone involved," Hawks president Andy Gowers said after the Human Rights Commission.

"This has been our focus from the outset.

"We are continuing to work through the process in good faith.

"The commission has instructed all participants that the process is confidential and the club cannot comment publicly while it is ongoing."

   Related   

Indigenous All Stars match ready to expand annual concept: Griffiths
The annual NRL All Stars match will forever be credited to former star Preston Campbell. But the evolution of the Indigenous Al...
Andrew Mathieson 23 Feb 2024
Ipswich State High rugby league girls excel in empowering event with Iron Traks
On Thursday, Year 11 and 12 Rugby League girls from Ipswich State High participated in a collaborative event by Iron Traks, Wome...
Joseph Guenzler 23 Feb 2024
'Simple decision': North say their time with Tarryn Thomas had to end
North Melbourne were eventually faced with a “simple decision” to end Tarryn Thomas’ time at the club after ongoing concerns aro...
Jarred Cross 22 Feb 2024
Tarryn Thomas blows final chance, cops 18-week AFL suspension for "multiple acts of misconduct"
The AFL announced on Thursday that North Melbourne player Tarryn Thomas has been found guilty of several breaches of the AFL Rul...
Giovanni Torre 22 Feb 2024

   Andrew Mathieson   

Indigenous All Stars match ready to expand annual concept: Griffiths
The annual NRL All Stars match will forever be credited to former star Preston Campbell. But the evolution of the Indigenous Al...
Andrew Mathieson 23 Feb 2024
North moving on without Thomas after practice match victory over premiers
North Melbourne is still waiting to hear what penalty Tarryn Thomas will cop, but is no longer counting the midfielder in game-d...
Andrew Mathieson 22 Feb 2024
Sailor out to prove a point for spot on Broncos lineup
It’s almost hard to fathom that Tristan Sailor’s name on ability alone was never read out to replace one of the many withdrawals...
Andrew Mathieson 21 Feb 2024
Thomas set to cop big suspension over inappropriate behaviour, according to reports
The AFL appears set to suspend Tarryn Thomas from playing for 18 weeks, which could end the Lumaranatana and Kamilaroi man’s pla...
Andrew Mathieson 20 Feb 2024