Dog owners vent outrage at Foley’s support for greyhound racing

Newtown resident Laurina Chilcott and Atlas at a rally in support of the greyhound racing ban. Photo: Steven Siewert Bridget Dominic and her greyhound Rivers join the rally in Newtown on Sunday. Photo: Steven Siewert
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Supporters of a ban on greyhound racing at a park in Newtown on Sunday. Photo: Steven Siewert

Laurina and Michael Chilcott had hoped a rally in Sydney’s inner west on Sunday would be a chance to celebrate Premier Mike Baird’s decision to ban greyhound racing.

Instead, the Newtown couple joined about 150 people – and a large number of their pooches – to express their outrage at Labor leader Luke Foley’s move to oppose the ban in NSW, threatening their dreams that the greyhound racing industry would finally be shut down.

“He is backing the wrong side,” Michael Chilcott said.

The couple has fostered 15 greyhounds in less than three years, Atlas being their latest.

“We want to save as many dogs as we can because we feel like we can have more impact from doing that,” Laurina Chilcott said. “The day the decision [to ban greyhound racing] was made was one of the happiest days of our lives.”

Speaking at the rally in a park in Newtown, state Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi accused Mr Foley of pitching the issue as a battle between the working class and other sections of the community.

“As if working people don’t care about dogs dying,” she told the crowd. “I think this is disgraceful political opportunism.

“Labor is using the [industry’s] workers as political pawns.”

Ms Faruqi said the industry was already facing “massive financial issues”, and 24 race tracks had been earmarked for closure before the government’s decision early this month.

“We have to accept … that this is a sport that is already in chronic decline. Mike Baird and I don’t really agree on much, but on this one he has it absolutely spot on.”

Mr Foley said if the Greens “stepped foot outside of Newtown they’d realise thousands of people will be robbed of their livelihoods and thousands of much-loved dogs will be killed under Mr Baird’s plan”.

Legislation to ban the greyhound racing industry in NSW from July next year is due to be tabled in state Parliament on August 2.

The ACT government has also moved to ban the sport.

Naremburn resident Kylie Field, a greyhound owner and a long-time Labor voter, accused Mr Foley of opposing the ban to gain marginal votes.

“These dogs need our support,” she said at the rally. “Using this as a political opportunity to secure marginal votes is appalling.

“People are really annoyed about this. We were so offended after supporting this [Labor] party all our lives. This industry cannot reform. They have been given every opportunity to reform and they have turned a blind eye to systemic cruelty.”

Mel O’Sullivan, a greyhound owner and supporter of the ban, said the Premier had made a brave decision, one he was surprised a politician could make.

“The people who support the ban are a bit more aware of the efforts that have been made to get the industry to get its house in order,” he said. “There have been many shots across the bow.”

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NSW Greens at war over ballot to replace John Kaye

Greens members are at war over who will replace John Kaye in the NSW Legislative Council. Photo: James Alcock Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham deplores “the damaging impact of factionalism and factional voting tickets”.
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The selection of a replacement for the late Greens MP John Kaye in the NSW upper house is descending into a nasty internal fight, exposing the deep ideological split in the party’s state division.

From Monday about 4000 NSW Greens members will vote on a replacement for Dr Kaye, who died of cancer in May. There are 14 candidates contesting the ballot, to be determined in August.

A group ideologically-aligned with Dr Kaye and his ally, Senator Lee Rhiannon – sometimes referred to as the hard left faction, or “eastern bloc” – is being accused of running a “damaging” ticket in a bid to have preferences directed to its eight candidates in the optional preferential voting system.

Included in the group are leading preselection contenders James Ryan, Bruce Knobloch and former Kaye aide Kelly Marks.

On Monday the candidates are expected to issue campaign material containing a statement about their support of grassroots democracy, collective decision-making and accountability to members and naming each other as supportive of these values.

Last week the party’s returning officer ruled that the statement amounts to a “serious breach” of party rules, which prohibit the making of negative comments about other candidates.

But this ruling was overturned after a complaint was referred to the party’s preselection disputes committee.

Some party members claim the ticket was only necessary because Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham has been improperly using his profile to influence the preselection for his favoured candidate, Nature Conservation Council campaigner Justin Field.

Mr Buckingham has included Mr Field – a founder of anti-coal seam gas group Lock the Gate described as a “centrist” candidate – in two recent Facebook videos, enraging his factional opponents.

Mr Buckingham’s supporters counter that Mr Ryan and Ms Marks were included in videos about TAFE alongside Greens MP David Shoebridge in June.

On Saturday night Mr Buckingham released another video warning members “to be very mindful of factional preference harvesting and group voting tickets.”

While not mentioning the preselection, which would be against party rules, Mr Buckingham deplores “the damaging impact of factionalism and factional voting tickets”.

“Factional voting tickets are the antithesis of participatory democracy, as they hand power to vested interests and entrench the power of established elites at the expense of diversity.”

Opponents of the ticket note that it does not include candidates such as Dominic Wy Kanak, an Aboriginal Waverley councillor, and Christine Donayre, who is of Latina heritage.

But one party member posted in response to Mr Buckingham’s video that it was “a disgraceful abuse of your profile to attempt to pull rank in an internal Greens preselection.”

The NSW Greens have the right to choose a replacement for Dr Kaye under the casual-vacancy rule.

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US Secret Service and Vice-President Joe Biden puzzle over AFL

US Vice President Joe Biden attends an AFL match between West Coast and Carlton at the MCG. Also pictured: AFL footballer Mason Cox and Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop.The Secret Service codename for Vice-President Joe Biden is “Celtic”, but the Gaelic links to Australian rules football must have puzzled the small troop of burly blokes with earpieces hovering at the MCG boundary line as their charge strode onto the green.
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Only a few minutes earlier a man dressed head to toe in a navy blue onesie had perched on top of a hovercraft, spinning donuts wildly across the ground to entertain the crowd.

It’s an oval shaped ball, and you kick it, AFL chief Gil McLachlan appeared to instruct his slightly bemused-looking US visitor before Carlton took on West Coast on Sunday.

But the MCG has long been familiar with Americans, well before the arrival of US recruit Mason Cox, the Collingwood ruck man from Texas, who later sat beside Biden in the stands.

US Marines used the hallowed sporting turf as a campsite in the Second World War during a brief rest in Melbourne after the pivotal battle for Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands, which cost more than 7000 American lives.

Mr Biden praised the depth of military ties between the US and Australia when speaking in the members stand during the presentation of a restored ceremonial US flag dating from the war.

“We’re together, it’s stamped on our DNA,” Biden said.

But it was modern science that dominated Biden’s morning to commence his trip to Australia, touring the labs at Melbourne’s new billion-dollar cancer centre, flanked by Premier Daniel Andrews and federal Health Minister Sussan Ley.

Biden lost a son, Beau, 46, to brain cancer last year, and reflected on the precious moments for patients and their family after diagnosis.

“You try and learn as much as you can as rapidly as you can,” he said.

Biden has been granted what he called “dictator” powers by US President Barack Obama to drive a new urgency in the search for better cancer treatments.

Biden announced the US and Australia will sign a deal to share about 60,000 patient records to study the genetic make-up of the more than 200 types of cancer.

The aim, Biden said, was to join in sharing data from across the world, where study will be assisted by supercomputers and hopefully lead to a future where cancer treatment was a simple as tackling diseases such as mumps or measles.

“Most of all it is about not giving up hope, not giving up the fight,” he declared.

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SEABL: Canberra Gunners finals hopes suffer blow after Tim Coenraad injury

Tim Coenraad, pictured playing in the NBL for Illawarra, suffered a foot injury playing for Canberra Gunners on Saturday. Photo: Christopher ChanThe Canberra Gunners may be forced to end their nine-year finals drought without key man Tim Coenraad after he suffered a foot injury in the club’s Victorian road double on the weekend.
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Canberra’s 77-74 win at Frankston on Saturday was soured by the loss of Coenraad, who recently re-signed with Illawarra Hawks in the NBL, and Dylan Simpson (knee).

They suited up just eight players against Nunawading on Sunday and despite a 20-7 rally midway through the third quarter, succumbed 89-76.

Despite the loss the Gunners remain fourth in the eastern conference, but are just a game ahead of the Spectres and Ballarat.

Three wins from the last five games should be enough to secure a first playoff campaign since 2007, but Coenraad’s plantar fasciitis injury is a huge blow.

With Indiana Faithfull (broken finger) already sidelined, the Gunners are fast running out of troops.

“We have lots of injuries, I’m not sure Tim will play again with a foot injury and we’re running out of bodies,” Gunners coach Brad Davidson said.

“He’s a professional and he’s got a livelihood [in the NBL] he has to look after, we’ll see what happens when he gets checked out.”

Simpson’s injury isn’t considered serious and his return would be crucial as the Gunners embark on three straight home games.

Davidson was pleased with his undermanned sides resolve at Nunawading but the hosts’ offensive efficiency was the difference.

“It seemed every time we got back into it they’d hit a three pointer toward the end of the shot clock, it was frustrating,” Davidson said.

“They shot really well and it came down to that in the end.”

In the women’s competition, Canberra Capitals Academy lost to Frankston 69-57 and Nunawading 92-68 over the weekend.


Men: Canberra Gunners 77 (T Coenraad 21pts, 10reb; B Allen 15pts, 13reb) beat Frankston 74 (R Jones 20pts, nine rebs; B Lewis 21pts); Nunawading 89 (S McDonald 18pts, eight assts; S Conn 18pts, 11reb;) beat Canberra Gunners 76 (B Allen 24pts, 11reb; B Kuol 15pts)

Women: Frankston 69 (K Standish 22pts, 10reb, 5asst; T Phillips 16pts) beat Canberra Capitals Academy 57 (C Smith 15pts, M Penn 11pts); Nunawading 92 (A Kame 25pts; H Zavecz 17pts, 11reb) beat Canberra Capitals Academy 68 (M Penn 19pts, nine reb; A Davis 17pts)

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Daryl Gibson laments poor start to season as Waratahs’ post-mortem begins

Daryl Gibson says there is a “sense of unfulfillment” about the NSW Waratahs’ season as they begin a post-mortem on why they failed to make the Super Rugby finals for the first time since 2013.
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As optimistic as the Waratahs tried to be when they arrived back in Sydney from New Zealand on Saturday, they would have hardly been surprised to see the Brumbies easily account for the Force and ultimately put an end to their inconsistent season.

NSW finished with eight wins from 15 games but it could have been far worse after a 2-4 start to the year with early slip-ups to the Brumbies (twice) and the Rebels at home.

“Those moments we’ll dwell on and say we weren’t good enough,” Gibson said. “Our start probably hurt us the most… they were games we needed to get results out of. What I am proud about is how the boys came back from that difficult start and got us back in contention. Finishing off and not making the finals is disappointing and leaves a sense of unfulfilment.”

A total of 10 players made their Waratahs debut, with eight – Bryce Hegarty, Angus Ta’avao, David Horwitz, Reece Robinson, Tom Robertson, Andrew Kellaway, Ned Hanigan and Jim Stewart – sticking around in 2017.

Gibson labelled the newcomers’ transition into Super Rugby “a success” but conceded there would be problems surrounding the departures of senior players Dave Dennis, Wycliff Palu, Kurtley Beale and Benn Robinson.

“If we look at next year’s team, it’s going to be youthful and those players are going to benefit from their introduction this year,” Gibson said. “We’ve got a lot of experience we’re going to lose for a second year in a row, so that has to happen in every team.”

Gibson would not comment on the likely departure of hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, but restated his hope that Dean Mumm would go around for one more year and opt against retiring.

Israel Folau had another exceptional year for NSW, scoring two more tries than any other Super Rugby player (11), as well as finishing second for metres gained (1250) – behind the Force’s Dane Haylett-Petty – fourth on carries (173) and fifth in the competition for offloads (24).

Looking beyond the 34-28 final-game scoreline in Auckland, the Waratahs’ scrum showed just how far it has come since the set-piece was exposed as the team’s Achilles earlier in the year.

The Reds game in Brisbane springs to mind to when the Waratahs were asked to continue to pack scrums because the Queenslanders were so sure they were going to dominate in that area.

That a NSW pack, lead by the ever-improving Paddy Ryan, Polota-Nau and Gibson’s find of the year in Tom Robertson, could orchestrate two penalty tries against a quality a New Zealand unit shows their development.

“We started the season with a scrum under pressure and we got rewarded with two penalty tries which shows our scrum’s really improving,” said captain Michael Hooper. “It’s certainly a bright future for us.”

Said Polota-Nau: “You want to get those young guys really involved and to understand what it takes to be at the top level and I could only do that from the sideline but once I came back there was a kinaesthetic understanding. Paddy Ryan’s transition from tighthead to loosehead, who does that? Credit goes to him and Tom Robertson for preparing and understanding that it’s little minute detail that gets results like that.”

Forwards coach Cam Blades was just as pleased, saying he could see improvements kicking in around the halfway mark of the year.

“The back half of the season, the scrum has been strong and in the last few games we’ve been able to use it as a bit of a weapon,” Blades said. “I’m really happy with the way the guys have developed.”

Regardless of whether Mumm pulls up stumps at the Waratahs, Gibson is in the market for a second-rower, while his back line is largely untouched aside from the departure of Beale.

Asked whether Beale had indicated if he would come back to NSW after his stint with English club Wasps, Gibson said: “There’s been no discussions. He’d be very welcome at the Waratahs. We’re just really keen to see him succeed at Wasps.”

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