Media Release: Thursday, 14 May 2009



In the wake of the Matthew Johns scandal, the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today called on the National Rugby League to sack its gender advisor Catharine Lumby over her public comments in support of group sex.



ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said that the community has been rightly aghast at the controversy involving sporting celebrity Matthew Johns and the message the incident sends to the game’s hordes of young fans.



“We strongly welcome comments from NRL boss David Gallup about the need for everyone involved in the game to change their attitude towards women, but feel this is rather hollow whilever the NRL is looking to a long-standing apologist for the porn industry who supports group sex to help change its culture,” Mr Wallace said.



Mr Wallace said that in March 2004, after the infamous Bulldogs team's group sex session left another damaged young woman in its wake at Coffs Harbour, Catharine Lumby went on ABC Radio and told Peta Donald that consensual group sex is OK.



The comments went as follows:



“PETA DONALD: There have been stories of a culture of group sex in Rugby League.  What do you think of group sex? Do you think it's okay if it's consensual?



CATHERINE [sic] LUMBY: Speaking as an academic, I think that there's no problem with any behaviour which is consensual in sexual terms...” (The full interview can be found at  http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2004/s1060409.htm)



Mr Wallace said that Catharine Lumby made these comments straight after being appointed by the NRL to a position which involves helping to advise its young players on gender relations - a position she still holds. She is also the author of the ‘Porn Report’ which extols the virtues of pornography and she has also been an advocate for making X-rated pornography freely available to adults throughout Australia (its production and sale is currently banned in Australian states).



“Obviously there are real concerns as to whether a culture which exploits and degrades women is genuinely changing in the NRL, as well as in other sporting codes. How could the NRL possibly think it will when they are asking someone who supports group sex to help rugby league change its group sex culture?



“The NRL has no option but to sack Catharine Lumby if it is to avoid sending conflicting messages on this,” Mr Wallace said.



Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan