We need new cul­ture and fresh faces at the helm of cricket

Mercury (Hobart) - - TALKING POINT -

SINCE its re­lease last week, the in­de­pen­dent re­port by The Ethics Cen­tre into the cul­ture of Cricket Aus­tralia — A Mat­ter of Bal­ance — has caused con­ster­na­tion across Aus­tralia’s crick­et­ing com­mu­nity.

That’s un­der­stand­able, given both the damn­ing na­ture of much of the re­port and the rep­u­ta­tional dam­age in­flicted on both the game and on wider Aus­tralia (at least, across the cricket-lov­ing Com­mon­wealth) by the Cape Town ball tam­per­ing in­ci­dent in March which prompted this in­quiry.

A di­rect line can be drawn be­tween that dam­age and the pre­vail­ing gov­er­nance cul­ture of Cricket Aus­tralia — as A Mat­ter of Bal­ance ex­plains through the lens of ap­plied ethics, its au­thors’ spe­cial­ity.

A Mat­ter of Bal­ance runs to 147 pages and in­cludes 41 turn- this-cor­ner rec­om­men­da­tions — none of which seem un­wise, some of which may need tweak­ing to be work­able. Th­ese rec­om­men­da­tions fo­cus on en­abling pos­i­tive change for Aus­tralian cricket, and within Cricket Aus­tralia as its cus­to­dian in­sti­tu­tion, which dates back to the found­ing of the Aus­tralasian Cricket Coun­cil in 1892. That was be­fore a clus­ter of Bri­tish colonies fed­er­ated to be­come the na­tion that is Aus­tralia.

This her­itage may ex­plain some of the re­sponses to the re­port, how­ever — fea­tur­ing on­go­ing in­ternecine rivalries be­tween the per­son­al­i­ties of the state of­fices of Cricket Aus­tralia, and an ex­cru­ci­at­ing de­lay be­tween the re­port’s re­lease and the fol­low­ing Thurs­day’s res­ig­na­tion of David Peever as chair­man. In the end, Peever ex­ited just a heart­beat af­ter his reap­point­ment on a $200,000 an­nual stipend.

As Gideon Haigh pointed out in The Week­end Aus­tralian, a core com­plaint iden­ti­fied in A Mat­ter of Bal­ance was that the or­gan­i­sa­tion does not re­spect any­one other than its own.

To many con­tem­po­rary Aus­tralians, this un­savoury flavour of en­ti­tle­ment trans­lates as a ver­sion of born to rule, and his re­ac­tion wasn’t a good look.

So, out with Peever and in with … whom, and what? Haigh rightly rec­om­mends the next chair­man should come from out­side the mem­ber­ship of the cur­rent board.

Well, yes. For the sake of their own rep­u­ta­tions as re­spon­si­ble can­di­dates for fu­ture gov­er­nance roles, as well as the health of the game. Mark Tay­lor’s res­ig­na­tion leads the way.

Ev­ery board meet­ing is an op­por­tu­nity to chal­lenge the pre­vail­ing lead­er­ship at­ti­tude as much as re­in­force it — con­struc­tively — and A Mat­ter of Bal­ance rep­re­sents a col­lec­tive F-mi­nus on that scorecard. There’s now a case for res­ig­na­tion of ev­ery sit­ting board mem­ber of Cricket Aus­tralia. And also for a re­con­sid­er­a­tion of the po­si­tions of its se­nior ex­ec­u­tives na­tion­ally — in­clud­ing af­ter the smaller re­cent scan­dal af­flict­ing Cricket Tas­ma­nia in re­la­tion to its sack­ing of An­gela Wil­liamson, not part of The Ethics Cen­tre’s brief. That might feel like a rev­o­lu­tion to some, but if man­aged step­wise it would go a long way to restor­ing the con­fi­dence of the

There’s now a case for a new team on the board of Cricket Aus­tralia, writes Natasha Cica

pub­lic and many play­ers in Cricket Aus­tralia.

One model is the half-spill of Aus­tralia’s Se­nate each elec­toral cy­cle, a key part of Aus­tralia’s fed­eral po­lit­i­cal com­pact and gov­er­nance bal­ance.

An ex­am­ple fur­ther afield is the mass res­ig­na­tion in 2002 of the Dutch gov­ern­ment headed by prime min­is­ter Wim Kok, af­ter a re­port by the Nether­lands In­sti­tute for War Doc­u­men­ta­tion con­cluded it had put pres­tige be­fore plan­ning in its botched re­sponse to pro­tect­ing civil­ians at Sre­brenica in the Bos­nian war seven years ear­lier. Cricket, of course — even for its to­tal trag­ics — is no ques­tion of life and death. But as the mor­ti­fied mass re­ac­tion to the Cape Town de­ba­cle showed, it’s clearly still one of our most es­tab­lished, loved and po­ten­tially uni­fy­ing na­tional pas­times. With a nod to not dis­sim­i­lar lead­er­ship crises at the helm of other long-trusted and widely re­spected Aus­tralian in­sti­tu­tions like the Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion and the Fed­eral Lib­eral Party, Cricket Aus­tralia is per­haps uniquely placed to demon­strate best prac­tice in trans­form­ing the hob­bling gilded bub­ble men­tal­ity crit­i­cised in A Mat­ter of Bal­ance.

Here we should em­bark on deeper re­form. A Mat­ter of Bal­ance re­peat­edly em­pha­sises that the faults it finds do not ap­ply to women’s cricket, and iden­ti­fies a need to cul­ti­vate more gen­der (and other) di­ver­sity within the cul­ture of Cricket Aus­tralia. That’s short­hand for fold­ing in more of what Ge­orge Me­ga­lo­ge­nis — whose lat­est book The Foot­ball So­lu­tion un­packs AFL foot­ball — has iden­ti­fied as Gen W, mean­ing women and wogs (read: not male, pale and stale) of demon­stra­ble merit who rep­re­sent a crit­i­cal mass of con­tem­po­rary Aus­tralia’s ta­lent pool. We need to get smarter about play­ing to win — and a grow­ing body of ev­i­dence shows real di­ver­sity in gov­er­nance de­liv­ers bet­ter re­sults.

At the end of the day, that’s just a mat­ter of bal­ance.

Dr Natasha Cica is di­rec­tor of change con­sul­tancy Ka­pac­ity.org. She was chief ex­ec­u­tive of Heide Mu­seum of Mod­ern Art and found­ing di­rec­tor of the Inglis Clark Cen­tre at the Univer­sity of Tas­ma­nia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.