THE Australian Sport and Racing Party has officially reached over 1,000 members as it aims to become the first political party to truly represent the interests of all Australians involved in both sports and racing within Parliament.
The party was established by greyhound racing veteran Ray Pitstock in the wake of the Baird government’s decision to outlaw the sport within NSW as of July 1, 2017, with the initial focus to overturn the ban, whilst its dedication has now also stretched to providing representation for all forms of racing and sports.
Pitstock said he has been overwhelmed by the amount of support he has received since establishing the party in August, with close to 1,100 members across Australia already signed-up.
The next step for the party is to appoint executives and finalise the party’s constitution.
“I am ecstatic to be honest. The volume of people joining up has shocked us – we are getting around 30 a week,” Pitstock told Australian Racing Greyhound.
“Everyone I have spoken to has said that irrespective of what happens they want the party to go ahead because we have got to have representation within the Parliament.
“It has been gradually gaining momentum and we are fully committed to it.”
The party condemns the mistreatment of animals, however it strongly believes that the greyhound racing industry can be reformed and thus opposes the views of the Liberals, Nationals, Greens and the Animal Justice Party.
Pitstock is now renewing calls for more members from all sectors of society, not just those from the greyhound racing fraternity.
“It has gone beyond greyhound people now; we have got people from all walks of life. We even had a chap who races sled dogs join up.
“If it was just about greyhounds then it wouldn’t have gotten this far – the galloping fraternity have already expressed their support for us and we have got a few of them signed up.
“We would love everyone’s support – the more the merrier.”
Pitstock is optimistic that the party will generate enough support by the 2019 State Election to have candidates running for seats within the NSW Upper House, something he feels will have a big impact on the inner workings of Macquarie Street.
“It is not going to be easy, we are taking on some really big organisations, but the more people in it, the easier it is for the word to get out there, so when the election-time comes around we can hopefully get elected.
“The Upper House is the easiest to get into and I have been told we could potentially get one seat and perhaps jag two because of the following we have got. Of course that is all conjecture at this stage, but it is a positive sign.”
Those with an interest in sports and racing who believe the greyhound racing industry has been treated unfairly don’t have to wait until 2019 to voice their concerns, with the upcoming Orange by-election set to send a strong message to the Liberal/National government.
A recent poll by Fairfax indicated that 52.66% of people do not agree with the decision to outlaw greyhound racing, with the National Party predicted to feel the repercussions of the ban on November 12.
Nationals candidate Scott Barrett opened as the $1.03 favourite to win the seat of Orange with online bookmaker Sportsbet, with punters surging to back Philip Donato, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate who has firmed from $13 into $5.
“Punters clearly think the Baird Government’s decision to press ahead with its ban on greyhound racing will hurt The Nationals in Orange, with strong support for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers candidate Philip Donato,” said Sportsbet’s Ben Bulmer.
“Donato has been crunched into $5.00 and is now the best backed candidate in the field, suggesting an upset could be on the cards.”
More than 35 per cent of the money taken on the by-election result has been for Donato, with just 20 per cent for Barrett, while Labor and an independent result also seem likely alternatives.
Orange by-election market
Nationals (Scott Barrett) – $1.45
Any Independent – $3.50
Labor – $4
Shooters, Fishers and Farmers (Philip Donato) – $5 with Sportsbet
Pauline Hanson’s One Nation – $13
The Greens – $51
Christian Democratic Party – $67
For more information on the Australian Sport and Racing Party or to become a member click here.