Media Release: Rushed Greyhound Bill Violates Fundamental Principles of Democracy
The Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance today condemned the NSW Government’s decision to rush the Greyhound Racing Prohibition Bill 2016 to the NSW Legislative Council without notice or opportunity for scrutiny. Earlier today, the Baird government joined The Australian Greens to successfully move a motion overturning precedent in the NSW Legislative Council to table the Greyhound Racing Prohibition Bill 2016 ten minutes after the bill was distributed to Councillors. This is a clear departure from precedent where normally five calendar days of notice is given to Councillors to read and understand the bill.
“This is an unprecedented and outrageous attack on fundamental democratic principles” said Tim Andrews, Executive Director of the Australian Taxpayers’ Alliance. “The bill comprises 28 pages of complex legislation which our elected representatives were expected to read and analyse in barely 10 minutes. Not only is this unreasonable, it contravenes basic principles of transparency and accountability which are crucial to the functioning of any representative democracy.”
“Members of the Legislative Council are expected to fully read and understand legislation before its introduction into parliament. This is particularly vital where the legislation has the effect of abolishing a $335 million dollar industry that provides employment to thousands of New South Wales residents and which is a crucial cultural cornerstone of many regional communities. This decision should never have been made in such a knee-jerk manner without proper public consultation.”
“Furthermore, the media has reported severe defects in the McHugh report upon which the government premised its decision including statistical flaws, miscalculations and misuse of data as well as reliance upon information of questionable relevance such as an incident reported in the United States over 15 years ago which was given prominence in the report. It is the height of irresponsibility to rush legislation through without the opportunity to scrutinise such claims.
“When becoming Premier, Mr Baird promised to govern with liberal values and to uphold the basic principles of democracy. Sadly, the decision to stifle scrutiny and debate over the Greyhound Racing Prohibition Bill 2016 demonstrates that he has failed to live up to this task.”