Clarence Nationals MP Chris Gulaptis has been quite vocal in various media reports, regarding his opposition to the NSW Government’s plan to shut down the greyhound racing industry; however, he will decide what action he will take in the NSW parliament when he sees the legislation.
Last week he told the Independent: “I certainly oppose the ban that currently stands.
“I think it’s devastating for the owners, trainers and breeders and I think it’s making an assumption that everyone in the industry has done the wrong thing – I disagree with that assumption.
“I think most people in society, let alone in the greyhound racing industry, are decent people.
“I don’t believe that the decision is fair on those people who have done the right thing.
“…When I see the legislation I will make a decision, as to how far I go, in relation to my decision to not support it or oppose it.”
Meanwhile, NSW Labor is calling on National Party MPs “to cross the floor and fight Premier Mike Baird’s unilateral greyhound industry ban when NSW Parliament [resumed this week],” a NSW Labor media release states.
“The move, which was announced via Facebook and without the consultation with Parliament, has sent shockwaves throughout regional communities across the state.
“Up to 10,000 jobs are associated with the greyhound industry, which generates more than $300 million for the state’s economy.”
Labor’s media release acknowledges Mr Gulaptis’s opposition, along with Cootamundra MP Katrina Hodgkinson and Barwon MP Kevin Humphries, who “have expressed their outrage at the decision that was made in Macquarie Street”.
Shadow minister for primary industries, land and western NSW Mick Veitch said: “Country Labor calls on the National Party to do the right thing by their communities and stand up to the Liberal Party and join with Labor in fighting a ban on the greyhound industry.
“Abstaining from the vote is not enough.
“…If they really care about the bush then they will stand up to Mike Baird and [Nationals leader] Troy Grant.”
During last week’s sitting of the parliament, the Nationals held a four-hour meeting; a separate meeting to that held by coalition partners NSW Liberals.
Mr Gulaptis said he made his “feelings known publicly before that meeting and I haven’t changed my mind after that meeting”.
“I’ll let my colleagues speak for themselves, I think that’s the appropriate thing for me to do; but, you know, I simply want to reaffirm to those people who have done the right thing in the industry that I will support them.”
For greyhound industry people who have done the wrong thing, however, Mr Gulaptis was firm on the action that should be taken.
“I think if someone has done the wrong thing then you should throw the book at them … ban them for life,” he said.
“If they’ve done something illegal, if they’ve been cruel to animals, then you gaol them, but you can’t just say en masse that everyone is bad in the industry; therefore we’re going to close it down.”
On the challenge from Labor, Mr Gulaptis labelled it as “politically opportunistic”.
“There [are people] within the Labor party, in fact animal activists, who would actually want to close the industry down,” he said.
“My concern is for human welfare and those people within the industry who just haven’t done the wrong thing and their livelihoods are being taken away from them.
“I think that’s wrong.”