Muslims Need Only Apply


By Ezra Christensen

One is often led to assume that non-discrimination is one of the sacrosanct values of civilisation and life in the modern West. Not so, it seems; or at least, not without some very large, emboldened and underlined ‘fine print’.

In modern Australia, and other Western nations, it appears that one can use words such as ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’, when ‘exclusion’ and ‘discrimination’ are really what is meant. This is what came to my mind today when I read an advertisement for a “Diversity Trainee” on the football career website, AFL SportsReady (

The introduction to the position reads as follows:

“Workforce particSONY DSCipation is a pivotal issue impacting the Australian Muslim community, especially Muslim young people. To help assist Muslim young people make that step into employment, the Federal Government has provided funding support for 10 traineeships for Muslim young people to work across the AFL industry over a 12 month period to gain critical work experience and job skills. The AFL in turn has partnered with AFL SportsReady to offer a unique traineeship opportunity as part of the Bachar Houli Employment Program.

“We are currently looking for an energetic and highly motivated Diversity Trainee – to join the Game Development team at AFL Queensland – Brisbane South.”

Hmmm… that sounds very interesting. What would be the selection criteria for such a “Diversity Trainee”, a role funded by Australian tax payers to assist workforce participation of Muslims in the AFL? The answer is unfortunately, rather less diverse than one might presume. As the advertisement goes on to state:

“To be considered for the placement, applicants would need to:

  • Be from Muslim background, who have recently completed secondary school consistent with the aim of the program.

This action constitutes a equal opportunity measure by virtue of section 105 of the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld).”

To be considered for the role of “Diversity Trainee” one must be from a Muslim background. That doesn’t sound like a particularly diverse or inclusive selection criteria. Let’s be clear, this isn’t a job advertisement for an imam at your local mosque, or even a teacher at a Catholic school. While AFL football is practically a religion for the most diehard fans, one would assume that one’s religion (other than football) would have not bearing on a career in the sport.

What I also can’t quite get my head around is that the eligibility for this role, which clearly discriminates on the basis of religion, is purportedly supported by the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld).

For this role in the AFL which aims to foster diversity, participation and anti-discrimination, Muslims need only apply.


Photo by AndyMcLemore