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AFL releases guidelines for investigation into allegations of racism and bullying at Hawthorn

The AFL has released its terms of reference for the independent investigation into allegations of mistreatment of First Nations players and their families while at the Hawthorn Football Club.

Senior lawyer Bernard Quinn KC will lead the four-person panel, which also includes Palawa woman and barrister Jacqualyn Turfrey, barrister and member of the Yuin people Tim Goodwin as well as barrister and human rights specialist Julie Buxton.

“The terms of reference and process plan have been developed over the past three weeks, following extensive consultation with the investigation panel and lawyers representing First Nations former players and families, and former Hawthorn coaches, among others,” the AFL said.

The league’s statement said the investigation would start immediately, with the panel to release a report publicly once it had reached its findings, with a projected end date in December.

That statement said the investigation should allow “all participants to share their perspectives, to hear the perspectives of other participants and to respond” as well as give an opportunity for mediation if someone asks for it.

The investigation aims to conclude “whether the inappropriate conduct occurred and, if so, the circumstances in which such conduct occurred”, the AFL statement said.

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