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Wednesday, 16 November 2016

STOP MIKE BAIRD DESTROYING NEW SOUTH WALES!!


The BASTARDUS AUSTRALIS in its native habitat




A Few Updated and Expanded Facts About
THE PREMIER FROM HELL

or

Another Appalling Excursion to
BAIRDLAND





** BREAKING NEWS – Thursday 19 January 2017 **

THE PREMIER FROM HELL resigned today, citing the serious health issues being experienced by several members of his immediate family as his reason for quitting politics.  He will be succeeded by his Treasurer GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN, the currently sitting MP for the New South Wales seat of Willoughby.

Don't get too excited, folks.  While one of the symptoms has been eliminated, the disease itself remains as deadly as ever. 

See end of post for further details.



Coal Mining

In March 2016 Mike Baird pushed a Bill through the New South Wales Parliament making it illegal for anyone to enter 'inclosed land' to protest against coal mining and/or the extraction of coal seam gas in the state.  This followed a promise made to the mining industry at a dinner held in November 2014 that his Government would 'crack down' on anyone staging on-site protests against mining and gas extraction companies –– a law designed, in other words, to increase police power, strip Australian citizens of their democratic right to engage in peaceful acts of protest and muzzle pro-environment, anti-mining organisations such as the Lock The Gate Alliance and The Wilderness Society.

At the same time, Baird's self-serving Liberal/National Coalition Government reduced the fines mining corporations pay for breaching the state's environment laws from $1,000,000 (the equivalent of 2 cents to companies whose annual profits and losses are measured by the billion) to a piddling $5000.

All this for an industry which has been in steady financial decline since 2011, with share prices dropping as costs rise both in Australia and globally and the demand for coal itself decreases in the wake of the November 2015 Paris Climate Change Summit and the decision made by new economic superpowers China and India to adopt renewable energy policies.

The International Energy Agency's (IEA) World Energy Outlook Report estimates that China's use of coal peaked in 2013 and will continue to decline as the implementation of renewable energy sources increases not only there but worldwide.  Other agencies predict that there could be no 'end market' for Australian coal in China by as soon as 2020, overturning previous predictions that this scenario would not come into effect until 2040 or later.  'Three of Australia's four biggest exports are coking coal, thermal coal and liquid natural gas,' says Tim Buckley, Director of the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis.  'China is one of the largest buyers of each of those products, and China's economy is clearly transforming and moving away from its reliance on those imports… So Australia is probably one of the most exposed countries in the world to that changing dynamic in the international traded energy market.'

In other words, the Government of New South Wales is expanding mining so the industry can export a range of highly polluting products that its largest customer no longer requires in anything like its former quantities and will require and purchase even less of in the future.  In the meantime, the Premier is doing nothing to create the new jobs in the renewable energy sector that will be vital when Australia can no longer depend on coal product exports to prop up its exposed economy.

The Wilpinjong coal mine extension is set to proceed in the Upper Hunter Valley as Planning and Environment Minister (and Baird's fellow Christian) Rob Stokes continues to play the Coalition's favourite game of holding 'public consultations' that aren't really consultations at all.  The extension of the Wilpinjong mine –– owned by US mining giant Peabody Energy, a company which is financially (and morally) bankrupt yet now wants to extract 95 million tonnes of cheaper, economically unviable 'dirty coal' in its new extension –– will completely destroy the small community of Wollar if it goes ahead (which the Government is 100% determined that it will).

Instead of listening to residents and environmentalists, Baird and Stokes have continually ignored their pleas not to remove their legal right to protest against the expansion of the mine.  To ensure that no such protest can legally occur, the Government has announced another futile Public Hearing to be held at 10am on Tuesday, 29 November 2016 in the town of Mudgee.  (Protest is only valid, apparently, in cases where the public hasn't been formally if pointlessly 'consulted' by the Government via such farcical hearings.)  Note the time and choice of day –– a Tuesday morning.  This should indicate how seriously Baird and his cronies take the idea of consultation, ie. 'Hey, Rob, let's hold the hearing while everyone who might want to speak against mining and how it totally screws up the environment while simultaneously depriving people of their homes will probably be at work.'  The same tactic has also been used by the Government and its mining industry partners in the Southern Highlands and other parts of the state where coal extraction is set to expand and, in some cases, begin for the first time.

The Lock The Gate Alliance intends to boycott the meeting –– a wise decision, given that it will be nothing but another con designed to make the Government appear it's allowing all sides to have their say when in fact it's doing the opposite –– and stage its own protests in Mudgee and outside Rob Stokes's office in Sydney's Martin Place.


The BASTARDUS AUSTRALIS and the BASTARDUS JOBLESS pasting over cracks in Coalition policy


 Development and Local Council Amalgamation

The Premier is equally determined to remove the current protections which restrict development in and around the State's Marine Parks.  He's doing this, despite the Government's own polls revealing that 90% of voters support their maintenance and expansion, to make it easier for his developer friends on the The Property Council of Australia to purchase and develop land (much of which was owned by the Crown until he passed a laws on 9 November 2016 which enable the Government to sell it off) which boasts the water views so beloved of real estate agents and the cashed-up overseas investors (primarily high-ranking members of the Chinese Communist Party) who are eagerly buying up every piece of prime Sydney real estate they can lay their hands on, driving a boom-and-bust housing market which young, first home buyers now find it impossible to enter.

This was facilitated by Baird's unpopular decision to amalgamate local councils in New South Wales, a move which saw 42 independently-run local councils reduced to just 19 amalgamated 'super councils' in the name of allegedly cutting costs and making the process of examining and approving development applications more efficient and transparent.  Protests against the changes have been vociferous and widespread, particularly since evidence emerged in June 2016 that accounting firm KPMG was 'hired' by the Office of Local Government and Local Government Minister Paul Toole for the express purpose of supplying the data required to support the Government's deeply flawed Fit For The Future housing and development strategy.

What no one in Macquarie Street is saying, of course, is that larger councils mean less face-to-face interaction between councillors and residents while providing increased opportunities for developers, many of whom have close links to councillors and in many cases were councillors themselves and will become so again when 'elections' occur in September 2017. The back room deals amalgamation was intended to eliminate will actually increase, robbing voters of the ability to scrutinize developments proposals allegedly (but not truthfully) approved in the name of 'increasing housing affordability.'  While the Government claims it consulted with local communities, it blithely ignored every objection and ruthlessly pursued its own pre-determined agenda despite the fact that amalgamation proved to be a disaster for the Queensland Government and was rejected out of hand by the people of Western Australia in a 2016 referendum.

There was no public referendum on the amalgamation issue in New South Wales.  Instead, there were a series of hearings held by the Boundary Commission and other Government 'panels' to which councils and individuals were invited to tender submissions arguing why the mergers were unnecessary and should not proceed.  Baird and his National Party stooge Paul Toole went ahead and merged them anyway, apparently ignorant of the fact that their amalgamation plan is based on a section of the New South Wales Local Government Act 2013 relating to what the Government may and may not do in cases where two or more councils may vote to merge voluntarily.  There was nothing even remotely voluntary about any of these mergers.  These new, so-called 'super councils' are designed to benefit developers while simultaneously restricting the community's ability to question and successfully oppose their development proposals.  While Labor leader Luke Foley has promised to undo the mergers if he's elected in 2019, it remains to be seen if this will actually be feasible after the Premier is finished making a mockery of the fundamental democratic principle of 'No taxation without representation.'

Strange behaviour?  Not really.  But interesting and more than a little disturbing in the light of the fact that Baird is the serving Member of Parliament for the beachside electorate of Manly –– an area already suffering from chronic overpopulation, lack of efficient public transport infrastructure, lack of effective development controls, pollution and the loss of much of its irreplaceable native bushland.  To nobody's surprise, Manly Council was merged with Pittwater and Warringah Councils on 12 May 2016 to form the Northern Beaches Council, sending the clear message that if amalgamation is good enough for Mike Baird's local council then it's good enough for yours so you'd better deal with it and shut the hell up.

The Coalition lost the safe seat of Orange –– a seat it has held continuously since 1947 –– in a by-election held on 12 November 2016, causing the Deputy Premier Troy Grant to resign as Leader of the National Party and taking his own Deputy Leader Adrian Piccoli with him.  According to Nationals MP Andrew Fraser, who quickly declared his intention to seek a spill vote in the wake of the result, the party lost the seat for three reasons: 'Number one was leadership, number two was greyhounds and number three was [the forced amalgamation of] councils.'  Despite what Baird himself described as 'a terrible result' for the Coalition which saw the vote swing against it 35% in favour of Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party candidate Phil Donato, he states he has no intention of 'backflipping' on the amalgamation issue as he did on the issue of banning greyhound racing.  [See 'Banning Greyhound Racing' below' for more information.]  These statements become even more interesting in the light of what was said by Carolyn Corrigan, spokesperson for the Save Our Councils Coalition, following the by-election:  'The sense of betrayal that the community feels towards the Baird/Grant government on forcing council amalgamations… that sense of betrayal has been building.  The result didn't surprise me at all.'

It remains to be seen if the Premier and his Coalition partners will learn anything from this or if they'll continue to pursue an amalgamation agenda which the overwhelming majority of people in New South Wales did not ask for and do not support.


Land Clearing Legislation and the Environment

In May 2016 the Premier released a draft package of the changes his Government intended to make to 2 key pieces of current biodiversity and land management legislation which protect native vegetation and the habitats of many endangered species, including quolls, possums, koalas and several varieties of rare native bird-life.  Passed on Thursday 17 November 2016, the new legislation will allow farmers and other land owners (ie. agribusiness corporations and developers) to clear land virtually at their own discretion, regardless of environmental law and the impact their actions will have on native vegetation and the already rapidly shrinking natural habitats it provides.  The new legislation –– which is misleadingly and hypocritically titled the Biodiversity Conservation Bill –– repeals the Native Vegetation Act 2003, the Threatened Species Conservation Act 1995, the Nature Conservation Trust Act 2001 and amend key sections of the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and the Local Land Services Act 2013 relating to the protection of endangered animals and untouched old growth bushland.

Broad scale land clearing is widely known to be devastating not only to wildlife but also to soil quality and the underground water table in both rural and urban areas.  In addition to placing further extinction pressure on the state's 1000 threatened species, the new legislation will irretrievably degrade existing farmland through erosion and salinity, reduce tree coverage and undermine efforts to reduce carbon emissions in a state which is currently 87% reliant on coal-fired power to meet its ever-rising energy needs.  The new Bill –– spearheaded by the ultra-conservative, pro-mining, pro-big agribusiness National Party –– also makes it easy for farmers and developers to bypass restrictions on where and how they can clear and develop land and what kind of long-term impact their projects may have on the environment.

According the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, who sent a letter damning Baird's changes to all state MPs in June 2016, New South Wales already has 'some of the most degraded land in Australia, with only 10% of native vegetation across the state remaining in close to natural condition.'  Despite receiving this advice and what has become angry and very vocal public opposition to his plans, including a 7000 signature petition submitted by the Nature Conservation Council of New South Wales, Baird's 'kill the koalas' legislation will come into effect from July 2017, driving them and many of the state's other endangered species to the point of extinction.

The situation was deemed to be so serious that Dr Hugh Possingham, Baird's chief environmental advisor and the Chairperson of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, quit in disgust on 4 November at what the proposed changes to land-clearing laws will do the state's ecosystems and bushland.  On 7 November a member of Baird's own party, the Liberal Member for Coogee Bruce Notley-Smith, publicly stated that he was 'very concerned that these reforms could lead to further irreversible land degradation and endangerment of native wildlife habitat.'  Of course, Mr Notley-Smith subsequently supported the Biodiversity Conservation Bill, once again proving that party politics and the fear of not being endorsed for reelection in 2019 is stronger than personal ethics.  (He held the Chair at the time and wasn't required to vote on the legislation, but he could have refused to accept the Chair to express his dissent or asked to make a statement to that effect to the Parliament.  He chose to do neither.)

A 2015 study conducted by New South Wales Parks and Wildlife revealed that up to 60,000 hectares of native vegetation is cleared each year in the state –– a figure 4 times higher than the figure quoted by the Government.  It has also been revealed that the Office and Environment and Heritage (OEH), the department responsible for overseeing land clearing and handling complaints about it, failed to stop big agribusiness consortiums like P&J Harris and Sons from wantonly clearing native vegetation at the urging of National Party MP Kevin Humphries.  A recent report on the ABC Landline program quoted a May 2015 email sent to the department by the Member for the rural seat of Barwon in which he stated:  'I strongly urge that agencies do not seek to engage landholders on this particular issue at this time –– it is too explosive and not warranted.'  Mr Humphries, who currently denies that he made any attempt to pervert the course of justice, went on to add that any visits made to farmers by the OEH could be 'the start of something that will escalate very quickly between farmers from around the state and the authorities.'

The Premier does not care about the environment, endangered species, justice or the fact that his plans will see the rest of rural New South Wales transformed into a deforested, over-farmed wasteland while the amount of locally-grown food the state needs to feed itself will sink to 1%. 

His contempt for nature was proven by the passing of the Crown Land Management Bill on 9 November 2016 at 4am –– a Bill which has been in existence for 10 years but was rushed through both houses of Parliament within 24 hours while media attention was focused on the US election.  Again, the environment loses while the Premier and his Coalition partners the Nationals do a deal with the Christian Democrats and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party behind closed doors to ensure their respective agendas are fulfilled. The passing of The Biodiversity Conservation Bill through both houses of the New South Wales Parliament a mere 8 days later was nothing less than a tragedy for the people and particularly for the environment of New South Wales.  There were, of course, no amendments to the Bill (despite Labor and Green efforts to introduce some) and, as I suggested earlier, it will now become law from July 2017.  

And it gets worse.  The Government has now been accused of promising $240 million from the state's Climate Change Fund –– a taxpayer funded scheme which currently supports the Solar Bonus and other clean energy initiatives – to farmers to 'reduce the impact of climate change on natural ecosystems.'  As Kate Smolski, Chief Executive of the Nature Conservation Council, put it:  'This is a sneaky piece of accounting… The Government has long committed to investing in private land conservation to make up for the trees that will be bulldozed by our land clearing laws.  It is double dipping in the extreme to take money from action on climate change to subsidise trees being cleared.'  

This is the same Government which, as recently as October 2016, declared its intention to reduce the state's greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 –– not easy to do when pollution levels keep rising and it plans to expand coal mining while simultaneously bulldozing trees and cutting funding to solar power and other renewable energy schemes.

Anybody out there still think The Premier From Hell has a 'nice smile'?
 


The BASTARDUS AUSTRALIS preparing to eradicate all the remaining endangered species


 Political Dealmaking and ICAC

Baird took over as Premier from his Liberal Party/Coalition predecessor Barry O'Farrell in April 2014 after the latter stepped down to avoid facing criminal prosecution over his intentional misleading of an investigation being conducted into the business affairs of ex-Labor MP Eddie Obeid (that is, a member of the Opposition) by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.  (Obeid was convicted on 28 June 2016 of misconduct while holding public office and may now –– but probably won't –– face a prison sentence in addition to losing his parliamentary pension, a 'punishment' unlikely to concern a man who owns most of Circular Quay and has long been in possession of a substantial personal fortune.  UPDATE 12/2016: Obeid has now begun serving a 5 year sentence for corruptionIt must be a Christmas miracle.)  It was revealed during the investigation that O'Farrell, who had previously denied having done so while under oath, accepted a $3000 bottle of Grange Hermitage wine as a gift from an executive of Australian Water Holdings, a company the Obeid family held a $3,000,000 stake in at the time.  Claiming that he 'hadn't meant to mislead' ICAC and wishing to avoid further public scrutiny of his decidedly duplicitous behaviour, O'Farrell made the only political choice open to him and stepped down as Premier.

His replacement –– whose father, Liberal power broker Bruce Baird, previously held O'Farrell's now abolished safe Liberal seat of Northcott –– won the February 2015 election by promising to improve the state's infrastructure and provide more money for its criminally under-funded schools and hospitals.  What he didn't bother to explain was that he planned to pay for it by expanding the dying industry that is coal mining, subsidizing the unrestricted salination and erosion of the state's farmlands, logging what little remains of its old growth native forests, driving even more of its 1000 threatened species to the point of extinction and making unsustainable, greed-driven over-development the #1 industry in New South Wales as per the instructions of The Property Council of Australia and other 'vested interest' lobby groups.

And, of course, it gets worse.  On 17 November 2016 the Premier introduced a Bill to Parliament designed to reform ICAC which, according to its long-serving Commissioner Megan Latham, 'represents an unprecedented attack on the independence and effectiveness of the commission as a leading anti-corruption agency.'  The reforms are really designed to make it as difficult as possible for ICAC to deliver a final report on Operation Credo, its investigation into the activities of Australian Water Holdings, the Obeid family and New South Wales Liberal Senator Arthur Sinodinos.  

Another Liberal politician, MP and former Police Minister Mike Gallacher, has welcomed the new Bill, which abolishes Megan Latham's position and will now force her to re-apply for her job she was under contract to do until January 2019.  This follows allegations that Gallacher broke political donation laws prior to the 2011 State election –– an allegation which saw him lose his position on the front bench and barred from the membership of the Parliamentary Liberal Party.  One of Baird's first moves as Premier was to tighten political donation laws and make Government more accountable for its actions, reforms which will now be rendered moot by the decision to re-structure ICAC so that, instead of a single Commissioner, it will now have three Commissioners, none of whom will have the power to veto the appointment of the other two.  So much, it seems, for the Premier's much publicized 'honesty and integrity.'


Lock-Out Laws and the Barangaroo Casino Project

Mike Baird continues to support and defend the draconian lock-out laws that were imposed on the people of Sydney by his predecessor in March 2014, decimating the nightlife that once brought millions of tourists (and the money which creates jobs and is a major factor in supporting the state's economy) flocking to the city each year.  Baird claims to be doing this to protect young people from being killed by violent one punch assaults when, in fact, he's doing it to clear the Sydney CBD of 'undesirables' and make its real estate a more attractive proposition to overseas investors who are reluctant to buy apartments in areas where anybody 'nasty' like students, drug addicts, prostitutes or –– God forbid! –– poor and/or homeless people might currently live and work.

Baird also enjoys a close relationship with billionaire businessman James Packer, whose Crown Barangaroo Casino Project has been a controversial issue for many years in New South Wales.  Of course, the lock-out laws don't apply to Packer's existing Crown Star Casino in Darling Harbour and will not apply to his new casino in the nearby suburb of Pyrmont when it opens for business –– as the increasingly disenfranchised people of Sydney always knew it would right from day one –– some time in 2020.

Thanks to the state's new lock-out laws, Star Casino is now the most dangerous venue in Sydney, with an average of 75 violent assaults occurring there each year, which is 3 times the number of violent assaults which occurred annually at The Ivy, previously reported to be Sydney's most violent late night venue, before the laws were introduced in 2014.  On 31 October 2016 a leaked report prepared by the New South Wales Department of Justice stated that 111 violent incidents occurred at Star Casino between March and August, of which only 36 were reported to police and even fewer to the Casino's management team.  Based on these statistics, it's now believed that the number of violent incidents which occur at the Casino annually could, in reality, be as high as 250.

And why is this the case?  Because the Casino's immunity from the CBD lock-out laws permits it to serve alcoholic beverages to gamblers and other intoxicated patrons 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  (But, hey, nothing wrong with getting drunk while you blow the kids' inheritance, right?  Especially if the Government continues to rake in billions in tax dollars from it each year.)  It's also the only place that people who used to frequent the many now-bankrupted bars and clubs of King's Cross can go to buy a drink once the law comes into effect each day at 1.30am.  If you're forced to visit a casino, what are you likely to do?  Knit a sweater?  Find a quiet place to sit and read your Bible?  No, you're going to play blackjack and roulette and stuff coins into poker machines and, if you're young and already intoxicated, start a fight with someone in one of its two overcrowded nightclubs.  The Government claims the laws are reducing violence while its own statistics, secretly obtained by the ABC, show the opposite to be true.  In the meantime, hundreds of small businesses go broke for lack of customers and Sydney's desire to be known as an 'international city' becomes a global joke.


Destroying the Taxi industry

And the favours the Premier has done for James Packer don't stop with the preferential re-zoning of his Barangaroo Casino site.  Baird has also destroyed the New South Wales taxi industry, reducing the value of taxi licenses that were once worth hundreds of thousands of dollars –– licenses which in some cases had been in the same hands since the end of World War Two because they were given free to veterans and were often used by drivers and their families to self-fund their retirement –– to virtually nothing so Packer will have a clear field to start a rival version of the popular (and very lucrative) ride-sharing service Uber.


The BASTARDUS AUSTRALIS saving the greyhounds (until the Nationals said no)

  
Banning Greyhound Racing

Banning greyhound racing in New South Wales appeared, in the eyes of most residents of the state, to be the justified and overdue response to the savage and criminal behaviour of money-obsessed trainers who mistreat their dogs and indulge in the abominable practice of 'live baiting.'  Thousands of greyhounds would no longer be destroyed (as many as 68,000 over the past 12 years according to some reports) in the name of shameless profit-seeking and the rabbits, possums and piglets used to 'train' them would no longer be torn to pieces after being tied to the rail with baling wire by criminals lacking any sense of compassion, morality or even common decency.  With this one Act of Parliament Baird would become a hero to the state's animal-loving voters and, by default, substantially increase his chances of being re-elected in 2019.

But no one, least of all the Premier and his advisors, stopped to consider the reaction that banning the sport from 1 July 2017 would receive from those owners and trainers who don't mistreat their dogs and don't participate in the unconscionable evil that is live baiting.  Nor did he anticipate the media-fuelled backlash that his knee-jerk, vote-seeking response would create in many rural areas of the state whose struggling economies are to some degree dependent on the sport to bring in the all-important tourist dollar.  While the Government promised to compensate owners and trainers for their potential loss of income, the compensation offered represented a fraction of what they could earn were the sport to continue, as many pundits outside the industry suggested and believed it should, with its activities overseen by an independent moderator with the power to take immediate punitive action against non-compliant owners, trainers and race meeting organisers.

But Baird stood firm –– banning the industry was 'the right thing to do,' he loudly declared, then rushed the appropriate legislation through Parliament in what was almost record time as though he was passing anti-terror laws or pushing to expand the Westconnex road project that will permanently destroy large areas of inner urban Sydney while making it impossible to travel from one part of the city to another without paying the Government and its contractors a series of expensive tolls for the privilege of doing so.  The deed was done and everyone thought he was Mr Nice Guy again, with him announcing to the media as recently as a few weeks ago that his decision was 'locked in' and 'firm,' that the ban would proceed despite the disastrous impact it was having on his popularity, which plummetted from 61% to 39% after the announcement was made that the ban would come into effect from 1 July 2017.

But what he and no one else in the Government bothered to explain was what it and its property developing campaign donors additionally stood by gain by outlawing the sport.  In addition to improving his popularity rating, banning greyhound racing would also have left Wentworth Park –– its traditional home located in the gentrified, ultra-desirable Ultimo/Pyrmont area of Sydney –– without a financially viable tenant.  This site, close to the Sydney CBD and within easy walking distance of what will be the new Crown Barangaroo Casino, has been coveted by developers for decades and was obviously seen as being ripe for the picking given the swathe of negative publicity generated in the wake of a February 2015 Four Corners report which first lifted the lid on the horrifying practice of live baiting.  Most people understandably loathe and despise all forms of animal cruelty, so what would it matter if a few hundred greyhound trainers lost their livelihoods?  They're only a bunch of stupid, vicious, working-class sadists anyway, right?  Transform Wentworth Park into 600 high-rise luxury apartments, on the other hand, and everybody wins, especially the Government via land tax and 600 ridiculously high stamp duty payments.  (New South Wales has the highest stamp duty tax in Australia and one of the highest rates of real estate taxation in the entire developed world.)

It all became a moot point, however, on 11 October when the Premier 'reluctantly' rescinded the ban after a poor showing by Liberal candidates in local council elections (for those councils he hadn't forcibly amalgamated yet) and threats that worse was to come in a by-election to be held in the traditionally safe National Party seat of Orange on 12 November.  [The Nationals lost the seat to the Shooters, Fisher and Farmers Party by a swing of 35%.  See 'Development and Local Council Amalgamations' above.]  Expediency came before principle as it always does in politics.  Baird's personally stated aversion to greyhound racing meant nothing when it came to obeying his conscience and attempting to salvage at least a few small crumbs of his declining popularity.

The Premier's hypocrisy on the issue of animal cruelty was and remains staggering.  If he genuinely views greyhound racing as being barbaric and inhumane –– a view which the majority of people living in New South Wales clearly agree with and quite logically endorse –– why doesn't he apply the same standard of judgement to the equally inhumane sport of horse racing?  Hundreds of horses are destroyed each year when they cease to function as money-earning machines whose sole reason for existence is to turn a profit for their owners.  Isn't that also cruel and barbaric, albeit to a less publicized, somewhat less visceral degree?  Surely horses are entitled to receive the same kind of protection from a man who stood up and declared that banning greyhound racing was 'the right thing to do'?  Why not take it a step further and ban gambling and the public consumption of alcohol, two other pastimes favoured by the working class which are also known to wreak havoc on the lives of those other animals more commonly known as human beings?  How can one animal-based sport be cruel while another remains perfectly acceptable?

The answer to these questions is, of course, simple.  The rich own 90% of the land in Australia and many of them –– like Baird's friend James Packer and trainers like the Waterhouse family –– also own fabulous country estates which are home to thoroughbred racehorses worth millions if not billions of dollars.  They also enjoy being photographed at Sydney's Randwick and Rose Hill Racecourses on Carnival Days wearing morning suits and stupid hats while they quaff French champagne and stuff their smug, tax-avoiding faces with smoked salmon and caviar.  Those who enjoy the sport of greyhound racing, on the other hand, tend to be middle-to-low income earners who, in Baird's view, can't be trusted to make their own decisions and have no right to influence how the sport –– a sport which, in a true democracy, it should be their decision to participate in and not that of his or any other Government provided that its many troubling issues are satisfactorily addressed –– is reformed and ultimately supervised.

The real issue for the Government was never animal cruelty, distressing and important though that undoubtedly is to the rest of us.  The real issues are and remain why Baird ignored the idea of reforming the sport in the first place and what he and his Coalition partners stood to gain by moving so swiftly to criminalize it.

Ask yourself this –– why didn’t the Coalition attempt to ban greyhound racing under Barry O’Farrell or any of his predecessors?  Was it because the cruelty didn’t exist before the Four Corners report was broadcast or because it was politically expedient for the Premier of the day to turn a blind eye to it as long as the public was kept in the dark about live baiting and therefore didn't or couldn't raise a fuss about it?


Man In A Hurry or Smiling Assassin?

Mike Baird attended the King's School in Parramatta, one of the most elite (and elitist) privately-run educational institutions in Australia.  He's the son of a man who served as both a state and federal MP and spent part of his childhood in New York City while his father served as Australia's Trade Commissioner in that most money-obsessed of cities.  He gained a Bachelor of Economics degree from Sydney University –– considered by many to be the country's best and most exclusive tertiary institution –– and did post-graduate work at Regent College in Canada where, it's said, he briefly considered taking holy orders and becoming an Anglican minister.  

He now lives in Fairlight, a well-named suburb on Sydney's picturesque Northern Beaches, where he regularly goes surfing with the federal Member for Warringah, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.  A self-described 'man of faith,' Baird has been groomed for power from an early age and could rightly be described as the Liberal Party's Facebook friendly poster boy –– a clean-cut, plain-talking family man with 'a nice smile' and a vision for New South Wales, and especially for the city of Sydney, that promises jobs and prosperity for all (as long as they're white, rich and happen to support his party and its ultra-destructive policies), paid for with revenue earned from outsourcing, privatizing and selling off Government-owned assets as fast as he and his Treasurer can find corporations willing to buy them.

In short, the Premier is wealth and privilege personified, an arch-conservative determined that no one but the rich should enjoy life or have any fun –– particularly those pesky, protest-loving young people –– and that 'his' city should be home only to those who share his elitist views and his obsessions with money, privilege and power.   Nothing should ever be dirty or unseemly in Bairdland.  We should all blindly obey Our Glorious Leader like clueless little brain dead drones, travelling to and from our jobs on overcrowded tollways or inefficient and under-funded public transport systems, spending our leisure hours either communing privately with the Lord, attending negative gearing real estate seminars or gambling in the shiny new casinos built and operated by his friends.  

In Baird's eyes we're dumb, tax-paying peasants with no right to hold any view or opinion which runs contrary to his private 'anything for my mates' policies and even less right to express those conflicting views and opinions publicly.  Protest is bad.  Poor and homeless people are bad.  The LGBTI community is dangerous, as is anyone wishing to enter an establishment where alcohol might be served after 1.30 in the morning.  Anything that slows down or threatens to interfere with the Government's all-consuming desire to show a profit at the end of each financial quarter –– the environmental lobby, to take just one example –– is evil and must be eliminated.  Selling off public services, stripping Sydney of everything that once made it a unique and charming city and developing every square metre of the 10% of undeveloped native bushland it has left is not only good business but a political necessity, the reason his personal advisor the Lord put him on earth to lead, govern and inspire us. 

Unsurprisingly, the Premier opposes abortion (in 'most instances'), medically supervised euthanasia, marriage equality and same-sex adoption.  And this is the same high-minded Christian who publicly stated in a 2014 newspaper interview:

I am guided [presumably by his personal assistant the Lord] to do everything I possibly can to look after every single person in this state and to do it fairly and justly.'

It's a pity Baird didn't become a member of the Anglican clergy as he originally planned to do instead of becoming an investment banker and then a corporate executive at HSBC (ie. the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation, founded by a Scotsman in 1865 and now one of the biggest funders of development in greater Australasia) and, without doubt, the worst and most divisive Premier this state has ever known.  (And that's up against some pretty stiff competition, including that well-known oenophile and liar Barry O'Farrell.)  If he'd become a clergyman or remained in the finance sector, we would have been spared his hypocrisy and his dictator-like methods of ensuring that his agendas, and only his agendas, are pursued irrespective of the wishes of the people he was allegedly elected to serve.

I wish I was Mike Baird.  It must be great to be a hypocritical, self-serving bastard that the suckers… I mean the people of New South Wales… voted for because he's 'a straight-up guy' who has 'such a nice smile.'  The smile is as phony as the man.  He is, as a New South Wales MP of my acquaintance once described him to me, 'a smiling assassin' whose only wish is to make life as easy as possible for developers, mining magnates, the owners of big agribusiness and other members of the rich boys' club he became an instant lifelong member of the moment he was born on April Fool's Day 1968.


The BASTARDUS AUSTRALIS getting a bit more policy advice from God


** UPDATE 24 January 2017 **

As stated above, THE PREMIER FROM HELL resigned from politics on Thursday 19 January 2017 to spend more time with his father, mother and sister who are respectively suffering from heart disease, muscular dystrophy and cancer.  While I make no secret of how much I despise MIKE BAIRD, I nevertheless wish him and his family well in what must be an extremely difficult time for all of them. 

Former Treasurer GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN was sworn in as the 45th Premier of New South Wales on Monday 23 January 2017, with new National Party leader JOHN BARILARO staying on as her Deputy.

Does this mean that anything will change in terms of mining, the environment and council amalgamations?  Absolutely not.  BAIRD agreed to 'slightly relax' the state's lock-out laws in time for Christmas but this, like his decision not to ban greyhound racing, was a political move designed to shore up the Coalition's rapidly declining popularity among alienated (especially younger) voters.  His decision to go, while family-motivated, is also a boon for his party which now has two years to show the people of New South Wales his replacement isn't as evasive, duplicitous and fundamentally untrustworthy as he was.  (Not that the majority of people care one way or the other as long as the state continues to posts a $1.8 billion profit each year and development continues unabated along with coal mining, land clearing and other equally catastrophic activities.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it the job of governments to govern for the benefit of all citizens and not behave like corporations who are expected to pay their shareholders a hefty annual dividend? …Oops, forget what world I was living in for a minute.) 

GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN currently refuses to commit to the idea of backflipping on council amalgamations, although it seems likely that amalgamations planned for the rural, National Party dominated areas of New South Wales will now be scrapped to help her Coalition partners retain their suddenly marginal seats in Parliament.  This doesn't mean that councils which have already been amalgamated in the Sydney metropolitan area will be de-amalgamated or that BAIRD's plans to eliminate the neighbourhood objection process for development proposals lodged for low density residential areas (ie. where most of Sydney currently resides) will be abandoned.  On the contrary, the legislation is likely to be quietly rushed through Parliament as quickly as possible while everyone's attention is diverted by his 'shock' resignation and the upcoming by-election for his soon-to-be vacant state seat of Manly.

Don't think for a minute that this will alter the way the Coalition and the lobby groups who fund and secretly run it are going to govern New South Wales.  GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN will have about as much real power as a turnip when it comes to deciding and implementing Coalition policy, which is precisely why she was chosen to succeed MIKE BAIRD in the first place.  The Coalition is determined to win power again in 2019 and switching to a female leader who's not perceived as being quite the fascist her predecessor was is an astute political move given the many setbacks it encountered throughout 2016.  Perception, don't forget, is 99% of what politics is all about.  A new leader who tweaks an unpopular policy here and there to make the Government appear less draconian could be just what the doctor ordered come poll time. 
 

The BASTARDUS AUSTRALIS makes way for a new, so far unclassified species

  
Click HERE to send the new Premier GLADYS BEREJIKLIAN 'your questions, comments, concerns, well-wishes or requests' and HERE to do the same via her Parliamentary website as the sitting Member of Parliament for Willoughby.  Don't forget to tell her how much you're looking forward to the Coalition ending widespread land-clearing, rampant over-development and its continuing destruction of the environment while it sets about restoring the full powers of the Independent Commission Against Corruption.  I'm sure she'll respond to our concerns in the same way her predecessor responded to them during his time as Premier –– by completely ignoring them. 

2 comments:

  1. [Originally published on 31 October 2016 at 07:06]

    You lost me with your dismissive attitude to the welfare of racing greyhounds. The mistreatment, injuring, drugging, prolonged confinement, and ultimate slaughter of tens of thousands of greyhounds is not an acceptable price to pay for keeping a few hundred people in low-wage, part-time, precarious jobs making hundreds of millions of dollars for the gambling industry. It's Baird's "backflip", under relentless pressure from the Murdoch press and the right wing National Party, that is the black mark against him, not the original decision to ban the industry.

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  2. [Originally published on 31 October 2016 at 14:03]

    @ Anonymous

    I disagree that my attitude to the question of racing greyhound welfare was dismissive. I describe the behaviour of the trainers who mistreat and wantonly slaughter their animals as "savage,” "criminal" and "money obsessed." I also describe the practice of live baiting as "abominable," which it is to me as a dog owner and as someone who was thoroughly appalled by the ABC Four Corners story which first brought it to public attention (and Mike Baird’s) back in February 2015.

    I stand by my point, which was that the Premier’s decision to ban the sport was politically motivated from the beginning. He didn’t ban it for the sake of saving greyhounds or any other mistreated creature. Live baiting has been a feature of the sport since it was first legalized back in the 1930s and would have continued to be so, unchecked by his Government, had the issue not attracted so much negative publicity in the wake of that excellent and obviously long overdue Four Corners report. Baird wanted the people of NSW to believe he was banning it –– and the word “believe” is a carefully chosen one in this context –– in order to boost his popularity and gain political advantage over his opponents the Labor Party and the Greens.

    Those who work in “low-wage, part-time, precarious jobs” still have rights whether we agree they should or not, including the right to support the gambling industry if that’s what they as individuals living in an allegedly democratic society choose to do. This, of course, doesn’t make such behaviour “right” in the moral sense of the word. But is gambling in any form actually “right” if judged from a strictly moral point of view? Not according to most of the world’s major religions even though Governments all over the world continue to support it because it’s a very handy revenue raiser.

    Does this mean that I personally endorse the sport and think it should continue? No, it does not. What I do endorse, on the other hand, is a society in which no Government has the right to arbitrarily decide which sports –– eg. horse racing –– are acceptable and which sports –– eg. greyhound racing –– are not when they have far more in common than most people suspect. No one is suggesting that the sport of greyhound racing is not totally cruel and barbaric in its current form or that Baird made a “good” decision in the moral sense by choosing to ban it. Again, what he’s not telling anyone is what prompted him to do this in the first place. Like it or not, this is a Premier with an apparently limitless supply of undisclosed agendas to pursue. If his “backflip” is a black mark against him, as I fully agree it is, then so are his duplicity and his ongoing hypocrisy about the horse racing versus greyhound racing versus gambling industry debate.

    Thanks for posting your comment. I appreciate it even though we clearly don’t see eye to eye on the reasons for Mr Baird’s duplicitous and utterly self-serving behaviour.

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