ORANGE City Councillor Scott Munro has asked for the support of the local greyhound racing industry approaching the by-election in November, having left the National Party and re-branded himself as an independent in the wake of the NSW greyhound racing ban.
If he is to be successful on the second Saturday in November, it will mark the first occasion the seat of Orange has not been filled by a National Party member in over six decades.
Munro believes his public support for the greyhound industry damaged his chance against Nationals candidate Scott Barrett at the party’s preselection last month.
However, he said his loss had nothing to do with leaving the party, instead calling into question the direction of the Nationals under the leadership of Troy Grant.
“The Baird and Grant Government has gone too far to the left for me, they have got tinges of green all over them at the moment,” Munro told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“It was a difficult decision for me to make because I am an old fashioned country-party type of person, but I made the decision because I want to be able to stick up for the dogs.”
Munro believed Grant’s decision to back Baird’s ban was selling out the interests of regional communities and the fundamental beliefs of the National Party.
“The decision to ban greyhound racing doesn’t just contradict the core values of the Nationals Party, it goes completely against them,” Munro said.
“My decision to leave isn’t a reflection on the National Party itself, it’s about the leader.
“If we had a strong leader who stuck up for regional communities and told the Liberal Party that what they were planning to do wasn’t going to happen because it goes against what we stand for as a party then we wouldn’t be in this mess.
“It’s not just an issue about the dogs, it’s about the people – the farmers and those on the land – who are thinking ‘gee it’s the greyhounds now, it’s going to be my cattle next’.
“Where are they going to stop?”
Munro said a win in the by-election would have a major impact, claiming that it could even be enough to stop the ban.
“If I am elected as the Member of this area through the support of people who are passionate about the dogs and anti-amalgamation, it will send a powerful message to the Government.
“It’s not going to change Government, this seat, because it is only a by-election, but it will change people’s opinions.
“If the Nationals were to lose this seat after 65 years, I can guarantee that there would be a lot of discussion and more than likely a vote of no confidence in the Deputy Premier.
“If it gets to November 12 and I win I am telling you positively [the Nationals] will change their minds [on the greyhound ban].
“They would call for a change of policy on the dogs and try to win back the people before the next election.
“The industry would be saved.”
Munro says to achieve this goal he needs the support of all participants, not just those in the local area, and is hoping to have trainers representing him at all polling booths within the electorate.
He is also hoping any clubs and organisations in support of his endeavour can provide financial assistance to fund his campaign.
“I want to represent those people within the greyhound industry who do the right thing – they deserve representation because they are good people.
“It’s just a matter of getting the support so I can fight.”