Bill to ban greyhound racing passed through the NSW upper house

GREYHOUND Racing in New South Wales is one step closer to being banned within the state as of July 1, 2017, after legislation to enforce the ban was passed through the Upper House on Wednesday night.

The matter was rushed directly through the NSW Legislative Council, amidst claims the tactic was used by Premier Mike Baird to avoid igniting a heated debate within the Lower House.

Leader of the Government in the Upper House, Duncan Gay, was unwavering in his support of the ban.

“Whilst this has been an incredibly hard decision, the Government believes it is the right thing to stop greyhound racing in New South Wales from 1 July next year,” Gay said.

“The bill strikes an appropriate balance of banning greyhound racing from 1 July 2017 while, importantly, providing a progressive industry transition that will enable participants to wind down their operations over the longer term.

“The Government recognises the need for an orderly and staged transition to ensure that the industry has the assistance it needs while looking after the welfare of the animals and the owners during the transition process.

“We will provide for an orderly shutdown. We recognise that this cannot, and should not, happen overnight.”

Greens MP Dr Mehreen Faruqi was scathing of the industry, announcing the bill had the full support of her party.

“(The Greens) commend the New South Wales Government for having the guts to stand up for animals and to draw a line in the sand to end a sport that is built on the deaths of thousands of greyhounds every year,” Faruqi said.

“The special commission of inquiry report makes chilling reading.

“This sport cannot survive without the deaths of thousands of dogs. Justice McHugh’s report estimates that over the past 12 years 97,783 greyhounds were bred and at least 50 per cent to 70 per cent were deliberately killed simply because they never were, or no longer were, capable of being competitive. That is up to 68,448 dogs killed—more than 15 a day.

“Added to that we have the 10 per cent to 20 per cent of trainers who engage in live baiting and the 180 greyhounds a year suffering what is called “catastrophic injuries”, such as skull fractures or broken backs that result in their immediate death or euthanasia.

“A further 365 suffer major injuries each year. Forty per cent of greyhound pups born are killed because they do not have the instinct to race. These shocking statistics are entirely consistent with the information The Greens and animal welfare organisations have been receiving from tip-offs and whistleblowers for a number of years.

“Premier Mike Baird is right when he admits that there is genuinely no other option but to shut down the greyhound racing industry. The commission’s findings are clear that there are systemic, endemic and large-scale animal cruelty issues; there have been integrity and governance failings as well; and there is no confidence that this industry can be reformed.”

The industry was not without its support within the Council with the Labor Party, the Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party as well as the Christian Democrat Party all voicing their opposition of the ban.

“I think you’ve done the wrong thing. I wish that the Premier had of reconsidered, he hasn’t. I’m not stupid, I can count,” said Robert Brown of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party.

“I know this bill is going to get up but I just say to you all, you know, karma is real. What goes around comes around.”

The honourable Peter Primrose, the Labor MP from Camden, argued the bill should not be passed and that the industry should be given the opportunity to reform.

“NSW Labor stands for two things: cleaning up the industry and keeping it alive for the vast majority of participants who have only ever done the right thing,” he said.

“Nobody condones animal cruelty. The vile practices of a few in the greyhound racing industry are sickening. The crooks should face life bans from the sport and time in prison.

“I repeat: The vile practices of a few in the greyhound racing industry make all of us sick to the stomach. Those responsible should be hit with life bans from the sport and should serve time in prison.

“Premier Mike Baird’s social media guru announced New South Wales Government policy on Facebook without any consultation with the thousands of people who rely on the greyhound industry for their livelihoods.

“Former High Court judge Justice Michael McHugh has provided 79 recommendations to drastically restructure the industry, which is a road map to improve animal welfare. It is the way forward and it should be implemented. At the very least, it should be considered.

“Greyhound racing provides employment to thousands of our State’s citizens and enjoyment to many tens of thousands. A cleaned up, reformed industry can continue to do that. Mr Baird and Mr Grant are criminalising the livelihood and hobby of thousands of New South Wales residents.

“They are not glamorous jobs but they provide honest livings for trainers, suppliers, part-time bar workers and showground employees.

“Those people are largely battlers who just want to make a living, feed their families and pay the bills. They do not deserve to be punished for the actions of a minority who do the wrong thing.”

Criticism has been hurled at the Baird government for pairing with the Greens to table the Greyhound Racing Prohibition Bill 2016 just ten minutes after the bill was distributed to councillors.

“One copy of the bill was made available to the Opposition at 10.50 a.m. today,” Primrose said.

“We have not had the opportunity to read the bill, let alone to consult or to seek advice from Parliamentary Counsel in relation to possible amendments.

“Even worse, today the Minister has come in at the directions of Premier Mike Baird and Deputy Premier Troy Grant and said this is an urgent bill. They did not even choose to make it available to Opposition members last evening when notice of the bill was given so the Opposition could at least have had the opportunity to review it.

“This is a House of review. Our job is to review legislation. That is why we are different to the lower House: that is our task. The Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight moved that this bill is urgent, but did not provide the Opposition with a copy of it.

“In his second reading speech the Minister talked about consultation and working with an orderly transition, but there is little wonder people in the community are concerned.

“The Minister used those weasel words in this place in his second reading speech, yet the due process accorded to this Parliament under its standing orders has been totally abused by the way the Minister has introduced this legislation.

“They have been totally trashed by The Nationals and Liberals. How can we possibly be expected to go through this bill in any detail when we have not even been allowed to see a copy of it?”

The outlaw of greyhound racing within the state comes after Premier Baird and Deputy Premier and Minister for Racing Troy Grant announced the proposal to ban the sport on July 7 following the report from the Special Commission of Inquiry by Justice Michael McHugh.

The report painted a damning picture of the industry, claiming that up to 68,000 greyhounds have been killed over the past 12 years and that between 10-20 per cent of participants are involved in live baiting.

Since then the report has been heavily scrutinised by the public and the greyhound industry itself, with many of the facts and figures slammed for being inaccurate.

Notably, the report stated that up to 70 per cent of greyhounds are deemed wastage and discarded by the industry, however figures obtained from Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) have indicated that the number is actually 6.9 per cent of dogs which are unnecessarily and humanely euthanised.

The Baird government has also faced criticism for stating that the industry has lost its social licence, a key argument which has subsequently led to the ban.

Industry stakeholders such as the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance said the abolishment of an entire industry based on the loss of an undefinable, impalpable social licence is a disgrace.

“The idea that a Government can ban a perfectly lawful racing industry, which operates in every state in Australia and in overseas countries with legal systems the same as Australia’s, on the basis that it has lost some form of ‘intangible and unwritten’ social licence would be a very worrying development to many in the community,” NSW Greyhound Breeders Owners and Trainers’ Association CEO Brenton Scott said in a previous statement.

“This is particularly so when there are no known legal criteria for the issuing and continuation of a ‘social licence’ and where respected authors have described it as an ‘intangible construct’.

“Our industry has widely identified the many factual errors in the report, in addition to the legal errors identified by our legal counsel.”

The greyhound racing industry has since taken the matter to the Supreme Court, aiming to have the Special Commission of Inquiry report made invalid and of no legal standing.

Barrister David Bennett QC is representing the greyhound industry and told a court on Tuesday that the report contained a number of factual errors and was based on flawed calculations.

The matter is due back in court on September 29.

Past Discussion

  1. Greens MP Dr Mehreen Faruqi was scathing of the industry, announcing the bill had the full support of her party

    very obvious this politician never read the report. how do I know this. she is quoting sentences continually from flawed sentences. these are not true politicians,these are sheep following the trail of the leader,MIKE BAIRD.

    how many times can these dufuses continually extract sentences to use for the reason why they want the industry shut down.

    I watched for the first time on live stream the goings on inside a sitting. what a wank set up is a sitting. so much yelling,laughing,in/out, it is like a kids playground. who really sits down and takes notice anyway. walk across a room whilst someone is discussing amn issue, yelling insults at each other, and these buffoons represent a democratic society. when does the fighting start? seen it in many countries where they literally attack each other. fists,chairs, so I suppose we are not that primitive.

    anyway, I thank everyone for really giving it a bloody good go. we will try when the LIBERALS will be defeated next election. they will be beaten,no doubt about that,and it wont omnly be greyhound constituents turning on them.

  2. There appears to be no end to Mehreen Farqi’s political flexibility- loudly proclaiming the right of the government to sell crown land and opposing Luke Foley’s amendment claiming “labour would use it to reintroduce greyhound racing – she is now claiming she will hold Baird to task to keep crown land as a green space. Who voted for this person ? Actually nobody she was appointed. Personally I like my politicians elected and if this is an example of appointees heaven help us. Political decisions based on Animal Activism and a flexible green appointee.

  3. Maybe hedging her bets? When Wentworth Park is sold what will be the story then “I had no idea they intended to sell it to the developers” Yeah we believe you Mehreen.

  4. Deborah555 DEB…notice how she does the typical ” I have not read the report” routine by quoting the usual flawed sentences”. and these imps get our jobs. and the wage is how much?and the pension is what? that much? count me in. I love Australia.show me the money.

    all I have to do to get a job in parliament is READ AN IDIOT SHEET…………..oh me, I am so funny.

  5. Greyhound bans guts decent people of the industry

    Warren Mundine, The Daily Telegraph

    August 11, 2016 12:00am

    Subscriber only

    BAIRD VOWS TO PUSH ON WITH GREYHOUND BAN

    THE Castle’s Darryl Kerrigan is a working-class bloke. Drives a Commodore. Has a pool room. Reads the Trading Post. His home’s his castle, even though under a flight path. And he owns greyhounds.

    I’ve known many Darryl Kerrigans. Honest, hard-workers who love their families, their modest homes and their sport, especially rugby league and greyhound racing. Neighbours, friends and family in country NSW and Western Sydney raced greyhounds. Blackfellas and whitefellas alike. They didn’t have much but gave in spades, volunteering for schools, clubs and community.

    People from well-heeled suburbs mightn’t understand the appeal of the dogs. Some view the sport with turned-up noses, like being served a prawn cocktail and VB for dinner. But for many Aussies the “poor man’s thoroughbred” is a staple.

    In banning greyhound racing, the Baird government tarred good people as vicious criminals. Many will lose jobs, livelihoods, even homes.

    It makes me angry; angry it guts decent people, the vast majority of the industry.

    Angry it picks on battlers under the pretence of animal welfare while thoroughbred racing, with its fashion parades, champagne and celebrities, continues.

    Angry one class is imposing its taste and standards on others to close a longstanding, lawful industry.

    Angry it’s based on a ­report with holes like Swiss cheese.

    In banning greyhound racing, the Baird government tarred good people as vicious criminals. Many will lose jobs, livelihoods, even homes / Picture: Jenny Evans

    Two findings of the Special Commission of Inquiry’s Report into NSW greyhound racing underpin this decision.

    The first: “Live baiting” is ­endemic and impossible to eradicate.

    The report’s live baiting estimates are as reliable as measuring wind speed with a wet finger. It concluded 10-20 per cent of trainers engage in the practice, not from objective evidence or data, but because one self-confessed live baiter said so. Hardly reliable.

    Crooks generally associate with other crooks and it suits them to say “everyone does it”. But even on the report’s estimates, crooks are a minority. The Baird government is destroying a whole industry for the wrongs of a few.

    The second: There’s high “wastage” of greyhounds, non-useful animals leaving the industry, presumed killed.

    The report’s wastage estimates are also rubbery. It quoted a trainer alleging mass drownings. The trainer may or may not exist. If he does, he’s from North America circa 2005.

    Ultimately, the report says reliable estimates aren’t important because even the conservative estimates don’t meet “animal welfare expectations of modern Australians”. The conservative estimate is 3000 animals annually (about 30 per cent). The report claims it’s closer to 55,000 over 12 years (50-70 per cent). Whichever.

    Horse racing kills more. A 2005 Sydney University report found wastage in the horse industries at 25 per cent to 61 per cent a year. About 37,000 horses in the 1998-99 year alone. That’s one year, not 12. But horse racing isn’t banned.

    In its submission to the Special Commission, the Australian Veterinary Association said zero wastage is unachievable in biological populations. However, it advised how greyhound wastage could be reduced to very low levels within two years. The Baird government ignored this and other proposals.

    Premier Mike Baird / AAP

    Wastage is a reality of every industry involving animals, whether sport, entertainment, work, companionship, science or food. Not just industries producing meat. Annually, millions of male chicks born to laying hens are killed (even the hens laying certified organic, free range eggs); hundreds of thousands of calves born to dairy cows slaughtered; more than 250,000 ­­un-homed pets euthanised.

    Killing an animal, per se, isn’t illegal or cruel, if done humanely, according to accepted standards. Most Australians agree. But the report says it’s irrelevant if wastage is legal. It’s about “ethical and moral considerations”. Industries only have a “social licence” to operate with “ongoing approval of the community and other stakeholders”.

    Perhaps food trumps pets who trump sport. Perhaps greyhounds trump horses and cats. Are animals worthier than someone’s livelihood? Who adjudicates these ethical rankings?

    And who are the “community and other stakeholders”. Majority rule? MPs? Social media? What happens if people in Grafton approve of an industry people in Manly don’t?

    Here “social licence” is code for class bigotry. Only complete disregard (at best) or sneering disdain (at worst) for working-class people explains banning greyhound racing but nothing else. Government is looking down its nose at working-class people and acting inconsistently — treating the poor man’s thoroughbred differently from the rich man’s.

    I’ve condemned Labor previously for losing touch with its base. Here, the Liberals are out of touch; the Nationals betraying their base. Baird mightn’t have grown up around the people I did, may not understand why they love greyhounds. But he should get off his dung heap and try to understand people who differ from him before issuing moral edicts. Troy Grant should know better as Member for Dubbo, a greyhound racing heartland.

    The Baird government believes it’ll get away with this because it impacts working-class, low-income people. People like Darryl Kerrigan. Well, Kerrigan told the government to get stuffed. NSW voters should do the same at the next election.

    Nyunggai Warren Mundine AO chairs the Yaabubiin Institute for Disruptive Thinking

  6. this is a real AUSTRALIAN.

    we need to pay more attention of our indigenous peoples,and when they see things clearly, have a tremendous way of sitting some on their a…s.

    WARREN MUNDINE, I applaud you.

  7. JOHN/DEB……..being NSW people(?) is the RICHMOND DOG TRACK PRIVATELY OWNED?

    if lost for the moment,one should hold out on sale of any track that is not leased or crown land,in case the LABOR PARTY win and re-introduce back onto the scene?

    RICHMOND would become thhe mecca and headquarters. and if other tracks are owned by the clubs,do same.

    would this be feasible?

  8. dogem53  Baird could have traded off Wentworth Park for an update on Richmond but he wanted the greens support so he had to gut the dogs and get Wenty. Pandering to the greens because he has lost support elsewhere.

  9. dogem53 Yes there are 11 Freehold tracks owned by Greyhound NFP and others shared with trusts on freehold trust land. Some clubs have shared tracks under show ground ownership and some have long term leases on grounds that are not racecourse specific for example they could build a grave yard or spelling kennels of hold show dog events etc. The cancellation of the racecourse licence only effects the registration of racecourse for racing.

    A perpetual licence for racecourses 99 years was introduced in 1996 to facilitate the 99 year contract in 1998, the Minister can withdraw the licence for any reason under existing legislation but under the new legislation he does not have to pay compensation and he does not have to give natural justice to individual clubs as he is closing them all. Whether he is discriminating against the greyhounds as a whole compared to the horses is a legal matter.

  10. dogem53 Deborah555  this person is really interesting. The person who had the seat before her was an environmentalist and even though I didn’t agree with some of her views she had a mandate and a lifetime of environment studies and work  and was sincere. She resigned and they appointed dumpy frumpy and her policies are all over the place like a mad woman’s breakfast. Allegedly she did a dummy spit about the major parties and in particular Luke Foley for refusing to put her apparently earth shaking reforms to the abortion laws something along the lines of how she wanted the elephant in the room of abortion reform dealt with. No one else could see the elephant apparently. They keep putting this legislation off for obvious reasons but she allegedly felt she was stifled by the major parties. So there is dealing with imaginary elephants and abortion, loving greyhounds and now claiming she wants crown land sold and also wants crown land kept. Claiming she doesn’t agree with Mike Baird’s policies but happy to pass them.  I think she might be out of her depth in the boys club or a simple opportunist looking for a second term. Either way we have a least 22 million people I think we could do better.

  11. This is a very serious matter and needs to be read  by everyone. I have left the Members Name and identifying material off the post as this could lead to a serious misconduct of the parliament

    We should put in a complaint to the anti discrimination board and the upper house committee on conduct. The upper house has members whose relations were euthanised in the Germany concentration camps during the war and the memory rests with some of our members, I think that the politican who sent this out should debate the subject with Ray Hadley.

    It certainly needs police involvement.

    Subject: Greyhound Closures

    XXXXX.

    I have received your reply to my concerns about the closure of Greyhound racing in NSW,REALLY you couldn’t even reply in your own words you just sent me a copy of HITLERS lies,

  12. dogem53 John Tracey Thanks you have picked me I have over reacted on my post and need to take it off the site but I have no idea how to contact the moderate of the site.

  13. Deborah555 dogem53 Probably a good idea to not go to hard on the members of parliament as things can change on the third reading and you can never be sure of who is your supporter behind the scenes. Just general truism not meant to refer to present posts particularly.

  14. John Tracey dogem53  John if you click ( actually just hover over if you are using a mouse )  reply to your own post delete will come up on the other side then click

  15. John Tracey Deborah555 dogem53  After all you have taught me in the last couple of weeks it was nice to be able to help you. Thanks John.

  16. John Tracey Deborah555 dogem53  I hear you John.  There are others I am sure behind the scenes and that is great, one I spoke to and would make no mention of here had already voted against and I said it does not matter whether you supported us verbally you voted against us. He said he understood and we finished on good terms. The one I obviously have concerns about well we correspond and she gives as good as she gets.

  17. Deborah555 John Tracey dogem53 The Value of posts on this site are sensational but unfortunately I cannot review the politics and approaches being made but information is power how it is used is mysterious but wonderful at times and this applies particularly to you two.

    I cant discuss things which can be used by the opposition to their advantage so I can only post information to get responses and general advice which  really I don’t have a indulgence from people on this site to do.

    It is true that the bill has to pass for a third reading to the upper house (if it passes in the lower house). There is a small opportunity that some amendment could be made at this stage so it is a good idea not to get anyone off side although the Greens are unlikely to get sick of their latest fad in Animal Welfare by this time. They will joyfully destroy the careers of the National’s and the Premier and the Minister for racing and probably set real animal welfare back fifty years and rejoice in this chance. So I cant see a great problem with demonising them but who knows another fad might displace the great minds of the Greens  in the meantime. They are totally unreliable and have no loyalty to any one including each other and any political party who has deals with them knows what I mean. Like all the Parties they have genuine people in them but as a group anything that is catches their “high moral perspective of themselves” means that the cause justifies the means and this explains why the NSW Greens are perceived as stalinists , its because they are stalinists and proud of the title. Keating who says they are a team of trotskyists is being too kind to them.

    How the hell did the Nationals get into bed with them.

  18. John Tracey Deborah555 dogem53  I have been looking for a description in my own mind about the greens and thank you – you have found it for me – beautiful.