• Time to stop the greyhound industry

    MARK PEARSON OPPOSES THE BETTING TAX LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2015

    18th November 2015

    Second read speech.

    BETTING TAX LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2015

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [12.51 p.m.]: The Animal Justice Party will be opposing the Betting Tax Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 for the same reasons that have been endorsed and described in detail by the Shooters and Fishers Party and The Greens. The passage of this bill will mean that we continue to be captured by an industry that is fundamentally flawed and has systemic problems of abuse of human rights, protections and dignity, and those of animals. Each day in Parliament members say that they are here to stand up for the welfare of the people of New South Wales and Australia. The industry of gambling captures and destroys the lives of many people and also destroys the lives of their families and friends.

    It came as a great shock earlier this year when it was discovered that there was not just one bad apple in the greyhound industry. The commission of inquiry into the greyhound industry has shown that live baiting and other brutal, appalling treatments of rabbits, possums, cats and piglets are systemic. It is not just one bad apple, one bad operator or one bad training track; it is systemic. It is a cart of rotten apples. This Government and members of this House should not be captured by an industry that uses animals in racing, because ultimately it is an industry that is all about abuse: abuse of the people who bet and of their families and friends; abuse of society; and abuse of the silent ones, the millions of animals through time that have suffered appallingly within this industry. For these reasons, the Animal Justice Party cannot support this bill. I indicate that if the bill passes the second reading I will be proposing to move an amendment at the Committee stage.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [4.21 p.m.]: I move Animal Justice Party amendment No. 1 on sheet C2015-172A.

    No. 1  Tax Reduction Trust Fund

    Page 6, schedule 2 [2], proposed section 70A. Insert after line 22:

    (4)      Despite subsection (3), no amounts are to be paid out of the Fund until after the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in New South Wales has reported to the Governor.

    This amendment is fairly straightforward. It pertains to subsection (3) of section 70A of the Betting Tax Legislation Amendment Bill 2015, which states:

    (3)     The following amounts may be paid out of the Fund, subject to any requirements specified in the regulations:

    (a)     such amounts as the Minister directs to be paid from the Fund to Greyhound Racing New South Wales.

    The reason the Animal Justice Party moved this amendment is clear. The special commission of inquiry into the greyhound industry has been on foot for some time. The evidence coming forth from that inquiry is extremely disturbing and confirms a lot of the evidence that was procured over the past 18 months about the extreme brutalities and systemic cruelty not only to dogs but also to many other small animals in the greyhound racing industry. Live baiting is systemic to this industry. The maltreatment of greyhounds and the death of thousands of greyhounds is a necessary component to the greyhound industry.

    Putting those issues aside, I call upon members to vote for this amendment because it is a logical amendment that does not allow any funds to be given to Greyhound Racing NSW after the report of the special commission of inquiry into greyhound racing has been sent to the Governor, which will be after the debate and subsequent considerations have been put in place. This industry is under serious question. Most communities around Australia are suspicious that there is a sinister and cruel side to this industry. It would be unconscionable for members to support any funds going to the greyhound racing industry during this extremely critical time.

    The Hon. DUNCAN GAY (Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, and Vice-President of the Executive Council) [4.24 p.m.]: The Government does not support the amendment, which would prevent any form of access to the trust fund before the special commission reports its findings. The Hon. Mark Pearson has made up his mind what the report will say. Other members have not prejudged the outcome of the special commission of inquiry and will remain fair until the report is released. The intention of the Government is that the funds remain in trust. However, given the uncertain nature and status of the greyhound racing industry, it may mean that there is a genuine need—we cannot see one at the moment but there may be one in the future—for the secretary to release funds to Greyhound Racing NSW. The arrangements as set out in the Betting Tax Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 establish sufficient safeguards with some flexibility, which is appropriate in the circumstances. For those reasons the Government does not support the amendment.

    The Hon. ADAM SEARLE (Leader of the Opposition) [4.25 p.m.]: The Opposition supports the Animal Justice Party amendment. We understand that it is the intention of the Government for the funds relating to greyhound racing to be quarantined in the fund until the special commission of inquiry into greyhound racing is completed and the Government’s response to that inquiry is finalised. The Minister made those comments in his second reading speech. This amendment is reflective of that approach and we see no harm in making explicit what is at least implicit in the approach taken by the Government.

    Dr JOHN KAYE [4.25 p.m.]: The Greens support the Animal Justice Party amendment. We believe it is totally sensible that the money be frozen after the McHugh inquiry has reported its findings. The Minister said that the Hon. Mark Pearson has prejudged the outcome of the McHugh inquiry. I did not hear him say that, but he is reflecting a commonly held opinion that the inquiry will report strong findings. Given the evidence that was presented at the public hearing in its first week and in the last two days of the public hearing, it would be surprising if it did not. Nonetheless, whatever the findings it is accepted by this Parliament and this Minister that there is a severe cloud over Greyhound Racing NSW. The activity of greyhound racing in New South Wales stands accused of wholesale animal welfare abuses. To allow money to be allocated to that industry now would interfere with the idea that the future of this code is up for question before the McHugh inquiry.

    The CHAIR (The Hon. Trevor Khan): Order! I remind members that they are to address the amendment, not make a second reading speech.

    Dr JOHN KAYE: Thank you for the reminder. I am talking directly to the idea that money should not be allowed out of that fund until the McHugh inquiry has made a finding about the future of the industry. The Greens say there is a serious question mark not only over the future of Greyhound Racing NSW but over its performance. For it to be awarded any money whatsoever would run contrary to public opinion, the public interest and the use of this money. The Greens support the sensible amendment.

    Question—That Animal Justice Party amendment No. 1 [C2015-172A] be agreed to—put.

    The Committee divided.

    Ayes, 16

    Mr Buckingham

    Ms Cotsis

    Mr Donnelly

    Dr Faruqi

    Mrs Houssos

    Dr Kaye

    Mr Mookhey

    Mr Moselmane

    Mr Primrose

    Mr Searle

    Mr Secord

    Ms Sharpe

    Mr Shoebridge

    Mr Veitch

    Tellers,

    Ms Barham

    Mr Pearson

    Noes, 21

    Mr Ajaka

    Mr Amato

    Mr Blair

    Mr Borsak

    Mr Brown

    Mr Clarke

    Mr Colless

    Ms Cusack

    Mr Gallacher

    Mr Gay

    Mr Green

    Mr Harwin

    Mr MacDonald

    Mr Mallard

    Mr Mason-Cox

    Mrs Mitchell

    Reverend Nile

    Mr Pearce

    Mrs Taylor

    Tellers,

    Mr Franklin

    Dr Phelps

    Pairs

    Ms Voltz

    Mr Farlow

    Mr Wong

    Mrs Maclaren-Jones

    Question resolved in the negative.

    Animal Justice Party amendment No. 1 [C2015-172A] negatived.


    The full debate can be read here.

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