Conflict of interest has forced a Cricket Australia (CA) Board director to be excused from an independent review into the culture of the organisation stemming from the Newlands ball-tampering scandal.
Michelle Tredenick, a CA director since November 2015, also serves on the board of The Ethics Centre, the Sydney-based body selected by CA to conduct a far-reaching review into the organisation. Among its past work was a frank and critical review of the Australian Olympic Committee in 2017, resulting in numerous changes to the organisation.
The Ethics Centre review is to be led by its executive director Simon Longstaff, who has worked alongside Tredenick on the centre's board. A CA spokesperson confirmed that Tredenick had excused herself from any prior Board discussions relating to the choice of the independent body to conduct the review and the amount of money to be paid for it, and will not be involved in any related discussions until the review is complete. Findings are expected to be made public before the start of the Australian season.
According to its terms of reference, the organisational review will "investigate whether any wider cultural, organisational and/or governance issues within CA, and more broadly within Australian cricket, should be addressed to ensure these events never occur again, either on tour or whilst playing in Australia. This review will investigate links between player behaviour (particularly on this tour of South Africa) and the organisational, governance and culture within CA and Australian cricket.
"[The review will] consider whether any cultural, organisational and/or governance factors within the Australian Men's Team, CA or Australian cricket may have contributed to these issues, either directly or indirectly; and recommend measures that CA and Australian cricket should consider to ensure that any issues are addressed and that these or similar events never occur again."
Tellingly, the terms also state that CA employees and others will be freed from corporate confidentiality clauses in order to speak fully and frankly in interviews.
This review is running concurrently with another inquiry specifically into the culture of Australian teams, to be led by the former Test opening batsman Rick McCosker. That panel will also include the men's Test captain Tim Paine, fast bowler Pat Cummins, last summer's stand-in women's international captain Rachael Haynes, Shane Watson (nominated by the Australian Cricketers Association), George Bailey and the incoming Australian coach - widely expected to be Justin Langer. Peter Collins, director of the Melbourne-based Centre for Ethical Leadership, will play a key role facilitating the teams' review.
Combined, the two reviews will be seeking to close the gap between the "target" and "actual" cultures of CA and its teams. The Ethics Centre review will seek interviews with "a range of personnel within and external to Australian cricket (CA and State and Territory Associations)". After handing in findings it will then work with CA on plans for change.
"We understand and share the disappointment of fans and the broader Australian community about these events," CA chairman David Peever said. "The Board is determined to do all we can to prevent such events from ever happening again. We have full confidence that Simon and his team, along with Rick and the player panel, will be able to fully review and identify recommendations for improvement."
The ACA president, Greg Dyer, said that it was critical the reviews were undertaken with a high degree of transparency and independence.
"Culture starts at the top and we welcome investigation in to all aspects of cricket's culture, organisational structure and governance," he said. "The ACA outlined proposed Terms of Reference earlier in April and it is pleasing that much of the detail has been adopted. There is a desire to see significant and lasting change aimed at improving cricket's culture and governance, and the accountability of those who are responsible for running it."
Dyer also pointed out that the outcomes should be aligned to findings and recommendations from the concurrent examination of international player conduct flagged recently by the ICC chief executive Dave Richardson. "We are concerned that our players may be subject to conditions which could be different from those that apply to players from other countries against which they play," Dyer said.
"Changes to player behaviour, expectations or sanctions must be aligned with those which would be handed down to players on both sides of international cricket matches. These are fundamental matters which go the integrity and fairness of our game."