Sports scientist Stephen Dank will be grilled by investigators within months after the Senate voted to bolster the coercive powers of the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.
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Interviews with Cronulla Sharks players – shelved in May – will also resume under the new powers for ASADA – described as a ”game changer” by a source close to the Sutherland-based club.

ASADA will be able to demand phone records, text messages, documents and medical prescriptions of players and others, including Mr Dank, regardless of whether those pieces of evidence are self-incriminatory.

Fairfax Media understands Mr Dank, who has refused to co-operate with ASADA to this point, is at the top of the list of interview targets. He did not return calls.

The ASADA Amendment Bill passed the Senate late on Monday night. It is expected to clear the House of Representatives as a priority by Thursday.

The law will give ASADA the power to compel people through a ”disclosure notice” to attend interviews and, importantly, force them to hand over any documentation requested, including records of communications. Those who refuse face fines of $5100 for every day they refuse to co-operate.

The government had sought star chamber powers that would force people to answer questions even if the answers would incriminate them. Sports Minister Kate Lundy and Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare are under pressure to see results after the infamous ”blackest day in sport” press conference that launched the investigation.

But amendments secured by the Greens mean interviewees retain the right to silence and can take a lawyer into the interview room.

Labor senator Jacinta Collins hinted at the focus on sports scientists.

She told Parliament: ”Importantly, a disclosure notice can go to anyone; not just athletes or their support personnel.”

The president of the Australian Olympic Committee, John Coates, who has lobbied for beefed up powers for ASADA welcomed the Senate vote. “With this legislation and the new powers it provides ASADA, Australia remains at the forefront of the fight against doping in sport,” he said.

ASADA interviews of Essendon players and club officials are almost complete but, by comparison, interviews of Sharks players have been stalled since second-rower Wade Graham attended but refused to co-operate.

Rugby League Players Association chief executive David Garnsey said he would need to read the detail of the ASADA Amendment Bill before commenting.

In its submission to a parliamentary committee that considered the bill, the Australian Athletes Alliance, which represents professional footballers, cricketers, swimmers and netballers, argued against granting ”unreasonably wide coercive powers” and said there should have been a greater period of consultation.

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Shanghai Night Net.

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