IT is hard to believe Premier Baird is able to keep a straight face when he makes some of the comments attributed to him.
For example, talking of Justice McHugh’s conclusions on live baiting and the numbers of participants involved, Baird said on 2GB, “He has weighed up all the evidence and he has made an assessment that it is 10-20 percent…”
So, although the Commissioner found that at least 80 percent of trainers were not guilty of being involved in live baiting, the industry should be closed down.
I would be quite happy to bet a few dollars that for every 100 individuals reading this, up to 20 have been involved in a car accident at some point in their driving career. Yet, the Premier is not calling for the closure of the motor vehicle industry.
Baird made a completely false statement regarding greyhound racing in the United States. He reportedly said, “In the US there was a majority of states where greyhound racing was in the late 70s and now it’s down to five…”
Let me just give our geographically-challenged premier a history lesson. Since 1959 there have been 50 states which make up the country known as the United States. A ‘majority’ would therefore would need to be 26 states or more conducting greyhound racing.
In 1972, racing was conducted in seven states: namely, Florida (17 tracks), Arizona (6), Colorado (4), Massachusetts (3), South Dakota (2), Arkansas (1) and Oregon (1). All of these tracks were privately-owned and run as businesses, a completely different setup to that extant in Australia.
Equally, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist (something Mr Baird will clearly never be) to see that in reality the bulk of racing was confined to Florida and Arizona. So, to use the words ‘a majority of states’ is nothing more than a complete and utter fabrication which is pretty typical of the average politician, of all stripes.
Baird then claims greyhound racing in NSW has reduced by about 20 percent in the last eight years. Yet its share of the marketplace has jumped to 22 percent of TAB turnover.
Mr Baird also states the government-appointed interim CEO of GRNSW Paul Newson, who has resigned after less than 17 months in the job, “doesn’t think the industry can change.”
Let’s just step back and think about that comment. The state governments of Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania have, at this stage at least, concluded those citizens involved in greyhound racing within their jurisdiction are capable of continuing their involvement.
Those governments have probably concluded that if proper oversight and policing is conducted, the inevitable cohort of crooks can be discovered and action taken against them, while the vast majority of honest citizens can continue to be engaged in the sport they love.
On the other hand, every one of the honest citizens of NSW engaged in the sport they love are, according to Paul Newson and accepted by Premier Baird, beyond redemption. Mr Baird has basically said that his government is incapable of creating a structure which can catch those engaged in activities which are against the law because every single person in the sport is tainted. He has effectively suggested every person involved in greyhound racing is an irredeemable recidivist.
I don’t believe in reincarnation, so perhaps Mike Baird is only ‘channelling’ the ghost of that fruit-loop US Senator, Joseph McCarthy, who dominated American politics for a, thankfully, brief period in the 1950s as he hunted down Communists and other political undesirables.
How long will it be before Baird changes the rules for entry to the NSW Public Service, requiring applicants to answer the question: ‘Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the greyhound racing fraternity?’