Cricket chair apologizes for child sex abuse on CA’s watch

Western Australia is the only one of eight state and territory associations to fully sign up to the scheme for sufferers of institutional abuse, allowing it to process and approve at least one survivor’s claim so far. Cricket Australia followed earlier this year.

Other major sporting bodies, including the AFL, NRL and Netball Australia, signed up for the scheme in 2020.

Announcement of the National Redress Scheme for survivors of institutional abuse in 2018.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

Henderson and CA’s directors need to find a way to bring the state associations along with them in not only signing up for the redress scheme but also accepting the need to put aside funds to meet the needs of survivors.

Without agreement about how to pay for claims under Australian cricket’s federal governance and funding model, whereby Cricket Australia distributes money to the six states that are not subsidiaries of the central body but its owners, any statement of intent to sign up for the redress scheme carries little weight.

This was demonstrated when Cricket ACT attempted to sign up in June 2020, only to be told it was ineligible due to “incapacity to pay redress for current and any possible future applicants”. Cricket ACT and Cricket NT are not owners of Cricket Australia under its constitution.

There is a strong sense among victims and their families that they have been largely ignored on the basis that, as former cricketers who had their love of the game destroyed by their exploitation at such a young age, they did not go on to major achievements.

Cricket Australia chair Lachlan Henderson.

Cricket Australia chair Lachlan Henderson.Credit:Getty Images

But teammates of those cricketers who were not abused and did go on to significant careers have become increasingly frustrated by the lack of response from administrators. Victims are, in the words of one former Australian player, “100 per cent entitled” to financial compensation.

The former coach Ian King, found guilty of abusing multiple cricketers during his time in ACT cricket, had his prison sentence extended by nearly two years last month after admitting to further offenses in the ACT Supreme Court.

Survivors of King’s abuse have alleged that ACT Cricket was well aware of his reputation while retaining him as a coach and selector for more than a decade.

King also coached in Western Australia and Queensland and a measure of his wide array of roles is that Henderson himself was coached by the 79-year-old as a club cricketer in Perth. Further civil court action, against ACT Cricket and CA, is being pursued by some survivors.

“There were others at the time within Cricket ACT and Cricket Australia who knew what you were capable of and yet turned a blind eye and did nothing to stop things from happening,” a survivor alleged in the ACT Supreme Court last month when reading a statement two Kings.

“To me, that is just as bad as what you actually did. Still to this very day, neither Cricket ACT nor Cricket Australia show any form of compassion, empathy, compensation or public acknowledgment that they did nothing to prevent or stop this type of abuse from happening.”

In parallel, the former Australia under-19s cricketer Jamie Mitchell commenced legal proceedings against Cricket Australia earlier this year over alleged abuse that took place on a tour of India and Sri Lanka in 1985.


“I would hope that CA will respond in a human way and deal empathetically with the individuals rather than try to defend the organisation,” former Australian captain and selector Greg Chappell had said in reaction to Mitchell’s story in January.

October’s board meeting will be the first since Simon Longstaff began his role as an independent ethics commissioner for Australian cricket, advising Cricket Australia, the states and territories and the Australian Cricketers Association on matters of conscience.

The next Australian Cricket Council meeting of CA, all states and the union, is set down for December.

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