National Olympic chief John Coates has renewed calls for investigators to be given power to compel witnesses to give evidence in the fight against doping in Australian sport.
Coates' appeal to increase the arsenal of Australia's anti-doping agency (ASADA) comes after former Olympic cyclist Matt White admitted involvement in the Lance Armstrong doping scandal.
The life ban imposed on the seven-time Tour de France winner Armstrong by US agency USADA relied on testimony from fellow riders in the absence of positive drug tests.
"I suggest that the government should again consider strengthening ASADA's powers to investigate allegations of doping practices by including the power to compel witnesses to attend and give evidence and to produce documents relevant to such investigations," said Coates.
His call came as ASADA announced a new memorandum of understanding with the Australian Crime Commission (ACC) allowing the bodies to more efficiently share intelligence and work collaboratively in investigating doping allegations.
Coates, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) president, noted that he'd been pushing for greater powers for investigators to obtain evidence since before the Sydney 2000 Olympics and repeated them when ASADA took over its role in 2005.
"AOC experience is that without the power to compel the giving of oral and documentary evidence, many allegations of ADRV's (anti-doping rule violations) cannot be properly investigated and prosecuted," said the AOC in a submission to the government in 2006.
The US Anti-Doping Agency's (USADA) investigation into Armstrong and his former team US Postal was given a huge boost by an initial federal grand jury probe that lasted about two years.
Although Armstrong was cleared of criminal charges in February, USADA was able to separately pursue some of the same witnesses as it went on to reveal what it called "the most sophisticated, professionalised and successful doping program sport has ever seen".
The information USADA gathered included the statements of several of Armstrong's former teammates and staff members about the use of performance-enhancing drugs such as erythropoietin (EPO), human growth hormone and testosterone and also the use of blood transfusions.
The evidence from ex-teammates indicated drug testing had largely failed to keep pace with the techniques used by drug cheats, making their sworn testimony most significant.
Coates was responding to comments by Sports Minister Kate Lundy, who said that the Australian government, through ASADA, was committed to protecting the health of athletes and eliminating doping.
"ASADA is constantly improving their techniques and tools, including their investigations and intelligence capabilities, long term storage facilities and profiling approaches," said Lundy in a written statement.