For those unable to get through the paywall, here is the Australian article by Chip LeGrand dated 20 June 2015 which backs up Allan Hrds letter to Greg Hunt:
Sports Anti-Doping Authority ‘told to back off’ AFL
CHIP LE GRANDThe Australian12:00AM June 20, 2015
Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority former chief Aurora Andruska says she was pressured by the federal government to back away from a high-stakes legal confrontation with the AFL because it was distracting the league from its pursuit of Essendon coach James Hird.
In her first interview since leaving ASADA at the height of the Essendon and Cronulla drugs scandal, Ms Andruska reveals that in the lead-up to an AFL Commission hearing to determine Essendon and Hird’s fate, she considered taking out a Federal Court injunction against the AFL.
In August 2013, a bitter dispute emerged between the AFL and ASADA over the league’s plans to use confidential information obtained as part of an anti-doping investigation to take disciplinary action against Essendon and senior club officials.
Ms Andruska says that amid a tense exchange of legal letters she received a phone call from Richard Eccles, the federal government’s most senior bureaucrat in charge of sport. According to Ms Andruska, Mr Eccles told her he had just spoken to Gillon McLachlan, the AFL’s then deputy chief executive.
“Eccles rang, said he had just received a call from Gillon,’’ Ms Andruska said. “What do you think you are doing? I have just had a call from the AFL and it is going to cost them $20,000 in legal fees to respond to your letter you have just sent. It is taking time away from James Hird.’’
Ms Andruska says she was astounded by the comment, which followed months of ASADA feeling pressured by the federal government and the AFL to bring an investigation into suspected doping at Essendon to an end. “I couldn’t believe what I’m hearing,’’ she said. “I’m thinking, ‘what do you think your role in this is?’’’
Ms Andruska’s revelations are contained in The Straight Dope, an inside account of the Essendon and Cronulla doping scandal published this week by Melbourne University Press.
Mr Eccles, now a deputy secretary within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, was unable to respond to questions from the author.
His boss at the time, former sports minister Kate Lundy, described the experienced public servant as a “phenomenal bureaucrat’’ who acted for the interests of the government at all times. Other senior public servants contacted by the author spoke highly of Mr Eccles.
Mr McLachlan could not recall the conversation with Mr Eccles. Ms Lundy denied that either the AFL or federal government placed undue pressure on ASADA.
“They (The AFL) were doing their utmost to develop a solution with ASADA and it is clear Mr Eccles was involved in that but I don’t think that constitutes political pressure,’’ she said.
In the first six months of the drugs scandal, ASADA and the AFL worked as investigative partners to determine whether banned peptides had been used by Essendon players.
This arrangement — which has since been declared lawful by the Federal Court — dissolved acrimoniously when the AFL sought to use sensitive information obtained during investigation to dump Essendon from the 2013 finals series and suspend Hird from coaching. Mr Eccles, as a departmental deputy secretary responsible for sport who had developed a good working relationship with Mr McLachlan, was the key point of contact between Senator Lundy’s office, ASADA and the AFL.
Ms Andruska says soon after the “blackest day in Australian sport”, the day on which government ministers, ASADA and sports chiefs gathered in Canberra to reveal the findings of an Australian Crime Commission report into the links between organised crime and sport, it was apparent that the federal government and the AFL wanted the scandal to go away.
“The press conference occurred and then everyone wanted it over,’’ she said. “They wanted it off the page, but the genie was out of the bottle.’’
Ms Andruska says she realised at a June 2013 meeting with Mr McLachlan, Essendon president David Evans and Mr Eccles that the objectives of ASADA and the AFL were potentially in conflict.
“Their objectives and ASADA’s objectives are almost at odds with each other. They are about protecting their business, protecting their brand.
“We are about making sure that Australia complies with its legal obligations.’’
Despite these reservations, ASADA in August 2013 provided the AFL with a 433-page report summarising evidence gathered over the first six months of the investigation.