Nathan Buckley does better, as a start, after Collingwood Magpies’ racism review


The clearest message that Buckley delivered is that he now has the beginning of a grasp of systemic racism. It is not the topmost layer of racism, which is obvious and abhorrent to all. It requires an antenna that many who have never had to confront it lack.

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“It produces different outcomes for people who are not white and results, even if not intended, in a hostile environment for Indigenous people and people of colour,” the review says. “It is these more entrenched forms of racism that people find harder to identify.” That has application well beyond footy.

Buckley identifies an instance in which he was the culprit, a press conference in 2017 following the release of a documentary on Heritier Lumumba. “When I look back, it was dismissive,” he said, “And I need to be better than that.

“What I now understand is that is a form of systemic racism. The dismissing and denial of experience is not a direct act, but in many ways it reinforces the pain and trauma that Heritier felt and that [other former players] Andrew [Krakouer] and Leon [Davis] have spoken about. It’s feeling like they don’t have a voice and they don’t have somewhere to go and that’s the systemic aspect of it.”

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Buckley does not try to excuse himself or mitigate his role. As per Do Better, he acknowledges past wrongs, apologises and demonstrates a widening of his mind (reparation is above his pay scale).

This is crucial. The first thing to learn about redressing racism is that it begins with unlearning, a long and discomfiting exercise. It is not like one of those online forms you fill in at the airport or the supermarket, a matter of ticking boxes serially until one that says “submit” lights up and the job is done.

On behalf of Collingwood, Buckley has checked a box. But it is only the first one.

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Heritier Lumumba saus the Collingwood Magpies Do Better report has elevated the conversation around racism


Collingwood premiership player Heritier Lumumba says the release of the ‘Do Better’ report has “elevated the conversation” around racism in football, however no one is in any position to congratulate themselves as real change is yet to happen.

The 34-year-old described the report, which found that systemic racism existed within Collingwood, as a “major milestone” but said it was important to keep pushing for change as he remained sceptical that the game’s leaders were genuinely committed to combating prejudice.

Heritier Lumumba. Credit:Fairfax Media

“The report was a major milestone … it has definitely elevated the conversation, that is one thing you can’t you can’t deny,” Lumumba said in an Instagram Live conversation with federal senator Lidia Thorpe.

“It has changed football forever … We can keeping putting the pressure on because that is what it is going to take for change to happen, but I think that we will see, and we are seeing, progress being made.”



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Do Better report authors Larissa Behrendt, Lindon Coombes urge Magpies to welcome truth on racism at club sparked by Heritier Lumumba racism experience


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In the report, which identified systemic racism within the club, truth telling was identified as a “constructive step to better understand the experiences of Indigenous people and people of colour at Collingwood”.

Coombes said he understood why individuals might become defensive when matters were raised relating to racism but said it was critical that “as an organisation [Collingwood] need to have that professionalism and maturity” to address the concerns properly.

He said implementing the recommendations would help them reach a place where the club was a safe space to detail experiences and raise issues, with Behrendt saying that genuinely inclusive environments also helped athletes perform better.

“They should be encouraging it,” Coombes said.

Do Better co-author Professor Larissa Behrendt.

The club did not comment on Thursday when former Magpie rookie Shae McNamara took to social media to share his experiences in relation to Lumumba, with Behrendt saying that example indicated organisations need to have proper process, systems and values to deal with matters when they occur.

Lumumba’s claims from incidents raised seven years ago remain unresolved with the 34-year-old lodging legal action against the club last year.

“We can look at the fact that people can speak as a positive and that is why it is important for the club to think about how they engage in a truth-telling process to bring people into that, rather than continuing to have it in social media, so there is a more welcoming space for people to talk about things that they want to say,” Behrendt said.

The co-authors said it was important to acknowledge that the club had made advances in recent years with their decision to commission an independent report, which involved interviewing 30 people including six ex-players, current club personnel and eight people from outside the club but within the AFL, indicating that shift.

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In writing the Do Better report the co-authors examined policies, procedures, what was on the public record as to how previous incidents were managed, and drew on their experience in compiling similar reports for other organisations.

They said Collingwood had an opportunity to eventually become recognised as a leader in anti-racism and inclusion and explained how they reached the conclusion that systemic racism existed within the club.

Behrendt said it was important to understand that dealing with systemic racism was not about calling individuals out but about examining organisational dynamics and whether there were systems in place that were anti-racist and inclusive.

“Just getting cultural competency doesn’t cure [systemic racism],” Behrendt said.

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“That is probably something in our report that was skipped over. It wasn’t just a focus on education … that idea you just do some cultural-sensitivity training and everything is better [is misguided] because that doesn’t matter if there is not a set of values and there is not those procedures and protocols [in place].

“At Collingwood, if you did have a complaint you might speak to someone and they might take it seriously and try to raise it with somebody, but if there is no actual process in place there is no way to implement that. You are further constrained by the fact that there was no evidence or guarantee that there was enough cultural competency to be able to navigate that [situation].”

That failures kept occurring meant the issue was systemic and positive outcomes relied on individuals rather than supportive systems and processes.

“Anti-discrimination and employment law – as we make a point of in the review – requires you to do [certain things], so it is not about being politically correct,” Behrendt said.

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“You have an obligation as an employer … it is not us accusing people of being racist. What we are saying is you have a systemic problem and you have a legal responsibility to fix it independent of whether you think race is important or not.”

Behrendt said people needed to focus on the report rather than individuals.

She said she was personally moved by the current playing group’s response to the report and that it was clear the people within the club had a real appetite to implement the report’s recommendations.

“The response of their playing group showed the level of leadership they have got within the club. People have focused on the top down and the board but if you look at how the playing group responded you see leadership there already,” Behrendt said.

Coombes said many of the people he interviewed reflected on how they and the club might have handled situations better if the right systems had been in place.

“Anti-racism actually puts the responsibility on you to proactively look at those situations,” Coombes said.

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Collingwood Magpies appoint experts to implement changes from Do Better report


The club have also appointed Taryn Lee, a Yawuru woman, as strategic adviser to assist the club with the recommendations. Lee will report to Magpies CEO Mark Anderson.

“The work Collingwood must do is necessary and important. It ought to inspire and add weight to the need for change that has been building in our communities for decades. So it was as important to find people who are passionate, capable and willing to help the club meet its moment,” Sizer said.

Collingwood director Jodie Sizer is part of the 12-person group. Credit:Getty Images

The group is part of a raft of changes expected to occur as a result of the independent review into Collingwood’s responses to incidents of racism and cultural safety in the workplace, which was conducted by distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt and Professor Lindon Coombes.

Collingwood commissioned the report as a result of allegations of racism levelled at the club by premiership player Heritier Lumumba.

COLLINGWOOD’S EXPERT GROUP ON ANTI-RACISM
Eddie Cubillo: former Northern Territory anti-discrimination commissioner. Senior fellow with University of Melbourne Law School. A descendant of the Larrakia, Wadjigan and Central Arrente peoples.

Tasneem Chopra: diversity, equity and inclusion consultant on issues of leadership, cultural competence and intersectional discrimination.

Melinda Cilento: company director, economist and experienced senior executive. Co-chair of Reconciliation Australia Board, CEO of the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) and non-executive director of Australian Unity.

Janine Coombs: a Wotjobaluk woman, currently deputy chair of Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation. Member of Collingwood Reconciliation Action Plan Advisory Committee.

Tanya Hosch: Torres Strait Islander woman, currently executive general manager of Inclusion and Social Policy at the AFL. Formerly joint campaign director of the Recognise movement for constitutional reform.

Rana Hussain: a diversity and inclusion leader and consultant, specialising in sport, corporate leadership and not for profit organisations.

Andrew Jackomos: a Yorta Yorta/Gunditjmara man. Victorian Government executive director for Aboriginal Economic Development. Member of the Collingwood Reconciliation Action Plan Advisory Committee.

Tony Lovett: a Gunditjmara man and community services officer with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association. Member of Collingwood Reconciliation Action Plan Advisory Committee.

Professor Yin Paradies: a Wakaya man and professor of race relations at Deakin University.

Jodie Sizer: a founding partner and co-CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers Indigenous Consulting. A Djab Wurrung/Gunditjmara woman and one of Australia’s foremost Indigenous leaders. Chair of Australian Institute of Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Studies. Collingwood director.

Dr Helen Szoke (OA): former Australian Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner and Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner. Chief executive of Oxfam from 2013 to 2019.

Daniel Wells: former Collingwood and North Melbourne player currently working with Collingwood’s Indigenous community programs and AFL recruiting staff. A descendant of the Wangatha and Wirangu peoples.

Strategic Adviser

Taryn Lee: a Yawuru woman from Broome, Lee is a director of PricewaterhouseCoopers Indigenous Consulting who previously held executive roles with the Victorian government designing and delivering policy frameworks central to improving outcomes for Aboriginal communities. Board member of the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

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Collingwood Magpies’ racism review fallout will help AFL clubs ‘open their eyes’: Aliir Aliir


“I think that’s a big thing for the rest of the clubs, just to be able to, I guess, reassess and see where they are at. It’s tough but, at the end, that’s what we want to do, we want to be able to get [rid of] that racism, we want people to be able to come and enjoy the environment and be able to play. We are here to play football but also be able to enjoy the people in the environment.”

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Aliir, who spent his early childhood in a Kenyan refugee camp before arriving in Australia as a seven-year-old in 2003, has previously spoken about being a victim of racial vilification during his junior football career. He said it was still a problem.

“Everywhere. One hundred per cent. It’s not just at the AFL level – it happens everywhere. The AFL just has just got more media and media attraction, some other community clubs probably won’t have it but they might go through the same thing, if you know what I mean,” he said.

“We just want to be able to get out and let people play from different backgrounds, be able to enjoy it. Just enjoy the environment we are in.“

Aliir, 26, said he had never met nor spoken with McGuire or premiership player Heritier Lumumba, the latter having led the calls for change at Collingwood.

The athletic defender said the Swans and Power had strong cultures but his work within the community would continue in Adelaide, having been a leader in this regard when in Sydney and while also working as an AFL multicultural ambassador.

“It’s a thing that I am passionate about – being able to help, especially with kids [from] different backgrounds. Just make them comfortable in a sporting environment, whether it’s just to go and have a kick with them, play basketball, whatever the case maybe,” he said.

Aliir has also experienced change himself through the off-season, having been traded to a club that is firmly in the premiership mix. He had been widely seen as one of the Swans’ premier rebounding defenders, having played 64 matches there, but the Swans late last year were keen on West Coast ruckman Tom Hickey, and used a second-round future pick they received from the Power for Aliir as part of a wider package to get him.

Now sharing digs with Sam Powell-Pepper, Aliir said he had had a year to run on his Swans contract but a three-year extension from the Power, giving him “security”, made the move a good one.

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“I was surprised. I didn’t think I had the greatest year last year so I was a bit surprised they showed a bit of interest … I had a chat with family and spoke to the Swans – we were able to get a deal done to come over here,” he said.

Aliir had been used in the ruck at times last season because of the Swans’ injury issues but Aliir said he had only been training with the backline over summer.

The Power have a pre-season clash against the West Coast Eagles in Perth on March 7 and open their season proper against North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium on March 21.

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Collingwood Magpies teen Joanna Lin reveals club reacted to racial slur made against her


“On draft night, I got abused. That was dealt with very quickly. That was good by the club,” Lin said on Monday.

“In the comments, this lady was just saying that I shouldn’t be playing because I would give the club the virus. I just laughed at it all. Because it was just not true at all. I’m not Chinese, and I definitely won’t give you the virus either.”

“This lady was just saying that I shouldn’t be playing because I would give the club the virus. I just laughed at it all. Because it was just not true at all. I’m not Chinese, and I definitely won’t give you the virus either.”

Joanna Lin

The club confirmed they had suspended the fan’s membership and organised an education process, as per protocols for this sort of incident. It is unclear whether the incident formed part of the independent review into the club’s history with racism.

Lin is proud of her heritage, which plays a sizeable part in her life.

The Doncaster Secondary College graduate’s parents, Wen Ju and Yu Sung, both immigrated from Taiwan and were concerned at first about their daughter’s hobby, especially as she stands at just 162 centimetres.

“They had absolutely no idea what footy was until I started playing it,” Lin said.

“They knew the gist of it. At the start they weren’t overly happy about me playing it, but definitely, they have warmed up to it now. They tried to [stop me playing] because they were just worried that I would get injured, especially me being very small, but I was like, ‘Nah, I’ll be fine.’”

She has brought her culture to Collingwood too. Last week, Lin brought snacks for her teammates to celebrate Chinese New Year.

“The culture is very giving. It’s definitely nice to share it with the girls,” Lin said.

“They loved it. Sharns [Sharni Norder] the other day was just like ‘keep ’em coming.’”

And she is glad to be a trailblazer, given only a handful of players of Asian descent have played the game at the top level.

Joanna Lin in action. Credit:Getty Images

“At first I didn’t really think much of it, but recently I’ve got a couple of tags from people saying how good it is. I’m starting to realise it more, now,” she said.

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Lin has become close with fellow first-year Magpie Tarni Brown. They both kicked their first goal against the Tigers. That the Collingwood side features someone whose dad and two brothers have also played for the club, alongside the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, speaks to football’s capacity as a melting pot.

Lin, who works at Donut King and is planning to study a sports course at Deakin University, became a Pies fan through her brother William and her heroes growing up were Alan Didak and Dane Swan. She even got co-captain Steph Chiocci to sign a footy card which now hangs in Lin’s locker.

“She was like, ‘I don’t want to devalue it’ and I was like, ‘I would love you to devalue it.’”

Now Lin has the chance to emulate her hero’s feats. On Sunday she re-lived that moment when she tidied up an overheated handball from Aisling Sheridan to kick truly.

“I just went for it, hoped for the best and it almost missed … it went through and I was in shock,” she said.

“It’s been awesome [to play]. It’s been unreal really. Especially with the first game, that was definitely unexpected.

“I had it in my mind that not a lot of draftees play in their first year but I definitely pushed myself to be able to be selected early on.”

She wants to work on her aerial game, but is ultimately happy just contributing to a team that is now 3-0 and a genuine premiership contender.

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Eddie McGuire steps down as Collingwood president, Magpies board members, jumped before pushed


It’s reportedly doubtful Eddie McGuire would’ve ended the past week still holding the Collingwood president mantle if he hadn’t have voluntarily stepped down from the role earlier.

McGuire on Tuesday announced he’d stepped aside as Magpies president – one week after the significant public outcry to his “historic and proud day” comments when responding to the release of the Collingwood-commission Do Better report.

In an extensive column in The Age published online on Friday afternoon, journalists Jake Niall and Michael Gleeson reported McGuire “felt the hands in the back” from fellow Magpie board members before his emotional 15-minute speech in front of family, Collingwood players, staff and reporters.

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The column indicated Pies directors planned to meet on Wednesday. If they had and McGuire was still club president, it’s unlikely McGuire would’ve departed that board meeting still holding the position, as some directors would’ve preferred to see the 56-year-old step aside for the sake of the club following the leaking of the report.

The Age reported the general view of past and present Collingwood insiders was that McGuire’s departure was the result of a build-up of missteps over the past eight years, with his “historic and proud day” statement being the final straw – even though he apologised for it last week.

‘I don’t always get it right’ | 02:26

It was reported last week that some Collingwood board members began to ask whether it was in the club’s best interest for him to continue in 2021. An open letter advising McGuire to “step down immediately” was then circulated among community leaders.

McGuire on Tuesday gave his critics a parting whack, claiming his position as Collingwood president became untenable after they made him “a lightning rod for vitriol”.

During an emotional 15 minutes where he read a prepared statement, McGuire said it was neither “fair or tenable for the club or the community” to see out the 2021 season.

Pies stars “sad” to see Eddie depart | 02:35

“People have latched on to my opening line last week, and as a result, I have become a lightning rod for vitriol but, worse, placed the club in a position where it’s hard to move forward with the implementation of our plans with clear air,” he said.

“When I came to Collingwood, it was a club riven with rivalries, enmities and division. That has not been the case in my time.

“So I do not want any of this to cause rancour or factions. It’s better then to fast track my leaving the club from the end of the year to now.”

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Mark Korda, Peter Murphy named as interim Collingwood co-presidents as Magpies begin search for replacement


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The statement also addressed initial plans for implementing recommendations from the Do Better report, which said there had been “systemic racism” at the club.

“The implementation plan of the Do Better report findings was also addressed at Wednesday’s meeting. It was determined that the expert advisory panel recommended by the Do Better report will be established as a priority and report directly to the board,” the statement said.

“This work has already commenced and an announcement on the formation of the panel will be made next week.

“Further, the club will employ a strategic advisor to provide expert advice as the club begins to implement all the recommendations of the Do Better report across the organisation. This role will report directly to chief executive Mark Anderson. This appointment is also expected to be announced next week.”

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Murphy presided over Collingwood’s review in 2017, which saw the club re-appoint Nathan Buckley as coach and rise up to a grand final (loss) and to a revamp of football and administration.

But one of the recommendations from that review – that there should be term limits for board members, a move that would have forced McGuire to finish up sooner – was not adopted by the board in the review of governance.

Korda has been influential in the oversight of Collingwood’s finances and in the disposal and purchase of assets, such as pubs, bringing his long-standing high-level experience as one of business Australia’s most-established corporate recovery specialists.

A view was taking shape on the board last week – and which gathered momentum as the club and McGuire were subjected to heated criticism over the findings and the president’s handling of the Do Better report – that the club would be best served by McGuire stepping aside, a position that he had accepted by Tuesday when he quit after 22 years.

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What does Eddie McGuire’s departure as Collingwood Magpies president mean for coach Nathan Buckley?


Walsh and Murphy pushed heavily for Buckley to be recontracted and for other changes to be made within the football department. Having commissioned the review, McGuire and his board strongly backed its recommendations.

Walsh departed the club at the end of last season and has been replaced by Graham Wright as head of football, while Murphy, who was then a consultant, has since joined the board and is now highly likely to be elected by the board to replace McGuire as president.

The club anticipates the more immediate impact for Buckley of McGuire’s decision to stand down is that it will redirect criticisms and calls for leadership change at the club from McGuire to Buckley.

Former player Heritier Lumumba has been highly critical of Buckley’s handling of him at Collingwood and those criticisms are expected to intensify with McGuire gone.

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A friend of Lumumba’s immediately commented on social media after McGuire stood down that Buckley should also go.

Buckley has not commented on the Do Better report since it was released.

The report focused criticism on the executive and the board for the systemic failings and the culture of defensiveness and protection of key individuals. Thus it has been the president, board and executive that have had to answer questions to date.

Regardless, given he has been a senior leader at the club for an extended period, both as captain for nine years and coach since 2012, it would be worthwhile hearing from Buckley on the report.

There are important questions about the club’s culture raised in the report, but the more searching questions most likely asked of Buckley this year will be about results.

The club took aggressive steps in the trade period to address a heaving salary cap. The massive salary dump came after the club had moved away from flag contention year on year over the last three years, and after years of kicking the problem of crazy contracts down the road.

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Having reviewed and rewarded Buckley with a contract extension in 2017, Collingwood contended for a flag the next year in 2018. They played a preliminary final in 2019 and a semi-final last year. The incremental steps away led to the idea that not only did the salary cap need to be addressed, so too did the list.

It was no longer seen as a list able to contend and action was taken before the Pies dropped radically away. The intriguing thing will be how Buckley is viewed for the team’s on-field performance this season, given the degree of change they instigated.

Whether Eddie is still there or not to be involved in passing judgment on the coach and the team is unlikely to materially affect whether Buckley is given a contract extension, according to Collingwood sources.

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Eddie McGuire to rest from AFL media roles after stepping down as Collingwood Magpies president


Industry sources said Fox Footy, where McGuire is one of the main hosts and a game caller, was taking a similar position to Nine, assuming that he would be back in his roles, without having a specific return date.

McGuire’s company, Jam TV, also produces Footy Classified, which is expected to have the same line-ups as last year, with shows on Monday and Wednesday nights.

McGuire’s departure has left the Collingwood board with a decision to make on his immediate successor, with businessman Peter Murphy the favourite, ahead of corporate recovery specialist Mark Korda. An external candidate for the presidency is unlikely at this stage. Ex-Victorian premier John Brumby and ex-Sport Australia and finance heavyweight John Wylie have ruled themselves out of the running.

But the Collingwood board also has to decide whether the president is appointed for an interim period until they find a longer-term successor – an option that appears unlikely – or for a full term.

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McGuire’s board position can also be filled by an appointment and the board may also need to decide whether to wait for a new director to join before they decide the presidency.

Collingwood’s board nominations committee, led by wealthy businessman Bryan Dorman and recruitment specialist Peter Waite, has already been researching potential board members. Collingwood’s nominations committee can recommend for or against a candidate running for the board, but cannot block a member from nominating and going to an election.

McGuire had nearly two years to run on his term when he stood down, following fierce criticism from outside the club. Some fellow directors also took a view that it would be better if he stepped aside, as sponsors also expressed concerns following the release of the Do Better report on historic racism and McGuire’s widely criticised mention of a “historic and proud day” at a media conference following the leaking of the report.

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