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AFL appoints indigenous woman to diversity role

24 June 20160 comments

One of Australia’s highest-profile indigenous women who led a campaign to promote indigenous recognition in the Australian Constitution has been appointed as the AFL’s head of inclusion and social policy.

Tanya Hosch, a Torres Strait Islander and the second woman on the AFL executive, will take up her role on August 29.

Tanya Hosch, appointed as the AFL's head of inclusion and social policy.

Tanya Hosch, appointed as the AFL’s head of inclusion and social policy.

Ms Hosch, the joint campaign director of the Recognise movement for constitutional reform, is reported to have won the role ahead of retiring Labor senator Nova Peris.

“I am a lifelong football supporter, and I am thrilled to be taking on this challenge at the AFL. I am excited about working with the AFL’s Indigenous Advisory Council and in the broader area of inclusion and social policy,” Ms Hosch said in a statement this week.

The altered role will see Hosch tackle “the implementation of AFL’s enhanced Indigenous Strategy, delivering senior support and advice to the AFL Indigenous Advisory Council, reviewing the Respect and Responsibility Policy, and implementing the AFL’s Gender Action Plan”.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said Ms Hosch, who was a founding director of the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre, was the standout candidate after a lengthy search.

“We have been on a long and extensive search for the right person to fill this role, and are delighted that Tanya emerged as the standout candidate for the position,” Mr McLachlan said.

“Tanya’s extensive experience in public policy and advocacy in women and Indigenous affairs is a major step for the AFL, and I am delighted that she is bringing her leadership to our executive.

“Tanya is someone of immense character and strength and under her leadership, Recognise has achieved significant growth and progress towards recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Australia’s Constitution,” he said.

The appointment was announced on Wednesday morning during a week dominated by fallout from Collingwood president Eddie Maguire’s comments about The Age newspaper football writer, Caroline Wilson.

Ms Hosch has been a campaigner against family violence and once worked on a call centre for those subject to domestic violence.

“I think we’re seeing a nationwide movement to bring greater consciousness across the country about what a damaging thing violence against women is,” Hosch said in a media interview with Fairfax Media this week.

“I always think when it comes to violence against women, or a lot of areas where people are treated badly, that you always want to focus more on the person who has been abused and focus on their voice and their perspective,” she said.

Hosch was headhunted to fill the AFL role after four years as co-campaign director of Recognise, the campaign.

Hosch will step down from Recognise as co-campaign director but remain an ambassador.

“Just like there is no room for racism on the football field, there is no room for racism in the constitution,” Ms Hosch told Fairfax Media.


Laurie Nowell
AMES Australia Senior Journalist