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VIC Refused to Give Medicare Number - Son Banned from Football Club?

Discussion in 'Other/General Law Forum' started by Heatherc, 20 February 2016.

  1. Heatherc

    Heatherc Member

    20 February 2016
    Likes Received:
    Hi all,

    At my 13-year-old's football registration two weeks ago, I refused to give the club my medicare number, my private health insurance details or if I was covered by ambulance. If my child is injured at the club or game and I or my husband is not there they do not need any of the above information to care for my child.

    Point 1 - They will ring an ambulance whether I am covered or not.

    Point 2 - Whether a family has private insurance or not is irrelevant to a club. It's not like they can claim on our behalf.

    Point 3 - My medicare number is not required to treat my child. A hospital will treat my child and wait for me to get there so that they can bill me.

    Because I have refused to answer the above, the club and the league have stated that my child cannot play football in the league. I am under the belief that it is legal to not have a medicare card and to not produce it. If this is the case, then wouldn't it be illegal under Australian Law of the club to have a policy that states failure to produce a medicare number means that a player cannot play?

    Just wanted to know if my belief is correct and if there is any specific law I can reference to.

    Thank you heaps for reading and helping.
  2. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

    27 September 2015
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    Ok, so my thoughts:

    1. The club can have its rules if you don't agree, then don't join the club.

    2. If you have a problem with it, then you could seek legal advice to get the issue redressed. But that is gonna cost a fortune. Is it worth it?

    3. Go to the next game, see if there are lots of other 13-year-old kids running around. I bet there will be. Why? Well, those kids parents didn't see it as a problem to complete the paperwork.

    4. I reckon it is simply an attempt to prove ID for kids who obviously don't have a drivers licence and is probably a requirement of the clubs personal liability insurance. So the club is just doing what their insurers require.

    5. The reason they need the info? Well, if no parent is present at the game and the kid gets hurt the club can provide the information to the ambulance so that the parents foot the bill for the ambo and not the person who made the call and that is probably pretty reasonable.
  3. Heatherc

    Heatherc Member

    20 February 2016
    Likes Received:
    Thanks for your reply Sammy01, however, I joined this forum because I was after a legal answer, not an opinion. I am not just a grumpy mum who wants to be difficult. I have researched this in depth and was looking for some laws to help me when I take on the AFL with this. To answer your points:

    1. No, the club cannot have unlawful rules. We have been part of this club for 25 years and it has only been recently that someone has decided that this information would be 'good to collect'. Everyone has the right to join any club they wish to and should not be discriminated.

    2. I do have a problem with it, hence the question on this forum!

    3. A senseless point. Just because other parents are happy to mindlessly fill out forms and give out their information does not make it right. Can I only have a problem with something if it is a problem for a majority?

    4. It is not an attempt to prove ID. You provide a copy of the child's birth certificate when joining which we happily did. It is not a requirement of the insurance company as I have researched that as well. The insurance company asks for how many players and you pay a premium for the amount. They do not ask for individual information.

    5. The medicare number is kept in a folder, kept on the playing bench. It never goes with the child or is given to the ambulance so it never makes it way to the hospital. And the person who makes the call does not get charged ever for the call so that point is mute.

    To add a point to your answers, if someone gets hit by a car on the pavement whether it be a child or adult and an ambulance is called and they are taken to the hospital and the child is not carrying the parents medicare card? Does that impact on their treatment? No of course not, which clearly shows that the medicare number is irrelevant to the duty of care.

    I was looking for legal help on the demand to ask for a medicare number, so I am hoping for an answer to that.
  4. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

    28 April 2014
    Likes Received:
    Ya know, there are times when I think that disputes arising from the management of amateur sport cause almost as much grief as family law...
    Well, as indicated in my signature below, I'm not giving legal advice either.
    If that doesn't suit you, stop reading now.
    In that case, please tell me in detail the basis of your objection?
    Well then, perhaps you have already discovered for yourself that you have made certain misunderstandings
    1. I am not sure how your length of membership is relevant?
    In any event, if you've been around that long, you will have seen other changes.
    What's different about this one?

    2. Have you tried to find out if the requirement to supply Medicare numbers has come from the AFL HQ, or if it is something a local official thought up of their own motion?
    No. You have this fundamentally incorrect.
    People do not have a right to join any club they wish.
    While they might have a right to apply, there is no enforceable general right to be accepted.

    When you register a player, you are entering into a contract with the club (and/or the league).
    Those contracts have terms and conditions. You can choose either to accept them, or not to,
    and if you don't, then they don't have to accept your child.

    If a condition of registration is that X or Y bit of info be supplied by one party to the other, then that's almost always acceptable.
    I assume you have also researched this aspect "in depth", as you claim above.
    In which case you probably already know that, in terms of the relevant field of law, this is not a question of discrimination.
    As a matter of law, discrimination has a statutory definition - and several express statutory grounds* - none of which are apparent in what you have posted so far.

    So, although you have "researched this in depth", and probably already know,
    I will state for the benefit of other readers that
    declining to register your child because you will not agree to one or other term or condition of doing so
    is not discrimination.

    * these grounds are generally personal characteristics
  5. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

    27 September 2015
    Likes Received:
    You've said you have researched this in depth. Ok, so can I ask. When you asked the club why then needed the medicare number, what was their answer?

    But on my point 2 above - Here is the thing.

    You might have a case (I doubt it - but let's play along). So let's assume you have a case, write to the club. Ask for them to change the rule or grant an exception for your kid. They might, but if their governing body refuses, then they will not accept the application. But try.

    So I hope you can see I'm giving constructive opinions. I don't give legal advice because I'm not a solicitor, just a bloke with some experiences that have opened my eyes a little bit. But anyways, if they don't agree to give an exemption, what then?

    Well my thoughts, go see a solicitor, to try to open a case for breach of privacy or discrimination or something else. You'll wind up spending 10's of thousands and possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Now as far as my 3rd point being 'pointless'. I disagree. I also disagree with your assertion that all of the other parents have 'mindlessly' filled out the form and nope it ain't about the 'majority'. Nor is it about 'right'. Those parents simply have not seen it as a big deal to hand over some personal information.

    I've also noticed that you have yet to explain exactly the reason for your objection, any chance you could elaborate?

    Now, I also made the point that it is probably a requirement for the club's insurance. So if a kid gets hurt the club doesn't have to hunt down the parents to get the medicare number to facilitate what ever paperwork they have to file. So it simply serves an administrate purpose.

    So just for fun.... I had a look at the enrolment form for NSW gov't schools...

    Guess what - they ask for medicare number. So if you moved to NSW, would you refuse to enrol your kid in school? So I guess this goes back to the whole go watch the other kids play argument.

    Nope, it ain't about majority rules, or what is right. It is about what most see as acceptable and when state govt school and footy clubs accept medicare numbers as part of enrolment requirements, maybe your thinking is out of sync with community expectations, but it definitely indicates to me that the footy club and NSW dept of education are not breaking any laws by asking for that info.

    So, nope, you don't have a case for discrimination or anything else, BTW the NSW school form asks parents to answer questions about their own level of education attained. Now I reckon that is bordering on discrimination or is, at least, pointless. What does it matter what level of education I achieved when enrolling my kid in school. But I digress...

    So as to your question about whether the club is breaching any laws, I reckon the answer is nope. But don't let that stop you; after all, you could take it all the way to the high court and set a precedent - But for the money it will cost you, I reckon it would be cheaper to buy Saint Kilda... Or just go fill in the form so your kid can play footy....
  6. AllForHer

    AllForHer Well-Known Member

    23 July 2014
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    This is basic contract law. It's likely the provision of this information forms a term of the contract with the club. If you don't agree to this term of the contract, then they don't have to enter the contract with you. Yes, it is perfectly legal for them to do this.

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