News State NSW News Luke Foley slammed for greyhound ‘captain’s call’

Luke Foley slammed for greyhound ‘captain’s call’

greyhound racing foley
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Former NSW premier Kristina Keneally has launched a scathing attack on NSW Labor leader Luke Foley’s “captain’s call” to oppose a state ban on greyhound racing.

Ms Keneally lambasted the Opposition Leader’s move as “extraordinary” during a segment on Sky News on Monday.

“You know what, I just find that extraordinary. I nearly pulled my hair out today when I heard that press conference,” Ms Keneally said.

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“I suspect this is a captain’s call from Luke Foley … I have been told that this did not go to cabinet.”

Ms Keneally, NSW premier from 2009 to 2011, criticised her successor for failing to capitalise on the federal party’s strong result in the state.

“He’s going to fight the 2019 election campaign on this issue. I mean, come on.

“I think people in New South Wales are a little more concerned about things like this recent budget or hospitals in Western Sydney [that] have not been funded.”

Mr Foley announced on Monday morning that his party would join with the Shooters Fishers and Farmers party and Christian Democrat Fred Nile to oppose the ban when it is put to the NSW Parliament in August, and would take the issue to the 2019 state election.

“Clearly Mr Baird thinks he’s on a winner,” Mr Foley said during a media conference on Monday.

“He’s chasing Facebook likes.

“But this is an industry comprised of battlers. It’s an important industry throughout regional NSW.

“It provides employment to many and enjoyment to a great many more.”

Animal Liberation NSW campaigns director Emma Hurst told The New Daily she was disappointed by state Labor’s response.

“Luke Foley is virtually coming out in support of some of the most grotesque animal cruelty that we’ve seen exposed in New South Wales. If you listen to some of the things Premier Mike Baird has said about the report, it appears that Labor hasn’t even sat down and taken the time to even read this report – or they certainly wouldn’t be coming out in support of this absolutely hideous cruelty.”

greyhound racing foley
Premier Mike Baird announced he planned to end greyhound racing by 2017 in NSW. Photo: Getty

Ms Hurst said it was a backward step by NSW Labor that conflicted with the trend of the federal party.

“Over the last few years, we’ve seen Labor become more and more progressively good on animal welfare issues. In this federal election, they were talking about introducing an independent office of animal welfare.

“They’ve taken some stronger stands against the live export of animals because of the cruelty there. This flies in the face of all of that. It’s almost like they’ve taken 10 steps forward, and now they’re taking a 100 steps back. So it’s really, really disappointing.”

The Australian Workers Union warned the ban would result in thousands of job losses.

“Thousands of people are going to be out of work and the majority of those will be in regional NSW,” AWU state secretary Russ Collison told AAP on Sunday.

The Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association has hired former solicitor-general of Australia, David Bennett, to spearhead an expensive legal battle to save the industry.

Mr Baird has not wavered. On Monday, he defended his government’s decision to impose the ban.

“The industry has had many chances to reform but has failed to do so … intentional deception and illegal activity was rife,” he wrote on Facebook.

“It leaves the Government with no real choice but to take the action we have.”

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