The issue of racism in the Australian Football League (AFL) is one that has been officially recognized since 1995. Since then, the AFL, the AFL Players Association (AFLPA) and the AFL clubs have been bound by the rules of the code, specifically Rule 35, to deal with racism, racial and religious intolerance and racist abuse, as well as other forms of vilification, when it has arisen. The most recent player-to-player vilification incident occurred in 2011 and involved Western Bulldogs forward Justin Sherman and Gold Coast Sun defender Joel Wilkinson. Despite the problems that many had with Sherman’s suspension, which still allowed him to play with the Western Bulldogs reserves side, what was very marked was the speed of the process from the lodgement of complaint to the suspension. This would seem to indicate that when it comes to such matters, the AFL is serious about dealing with racial vilification and it wanted to send a message to all the clubs and players. In the weeks and months after the incident, what became quite evident was the damage Sherman had sustained to his reputation as a professional athlete: his ‘brand’ is tarnished from here on. Furthermore, the overarching message from this incident as it related to the AFL was that racism in any form is wrong and it will not be tolerated.
Women’s experiences of violence often remain invisible or discounted in asylum law and practice. Gender is absent as an overt ground for protection under the Refugee Convention and readings of the Convention have commonly excluded it. Although Australia’s Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has acknowledged women’s special protection needs with instruments such as the Guidelines on Gender Issues for Decision Makers (DIAC 1996, 2010), the article investigates whether these are translating into practice. It examines ways in which women’s claims for asylum because of gender-based persecution (GBP) may be impeded in Australia. Drawing on feedback from major stakeholder groups, including asylum advocates, asylum seeking women, and DIAC, we suggest that at the time of our fieldwork (2005/2006) appropriate consideration of claims of GBP was generally still not evident within DIAC. We identify barriers to both the emergence and consideration of claims and suggest ways DIAC might improve gender sensitivity in the processing of asylum claims.