Letters to the editor

Greyhounds race in Canberra. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong
Greyhounds race in Canberra. Photo: Sitthixay Ditthavong

Greens don’t like the Queanbeyan doggies

I read with disappointment the Greens stance (The Queanbeyan Age, July 4) regarding their opposition to a potential move of ACT greyhound racing to Queanbeyan.  

Like the rest of the community, I recognise that the sport of greyhound racing had its rouge elements that needed to not only be cleaned up but gaoled. However, the reforms the state government has since undertaken, and the dividends from those, have for some reason been ignored by the Greens.

The following should help understand not only the industry and sporting reforms but the tourism and economic benefits this city could derive from taking this from the ACT.

Some of the recent reforms to NSW greyhound racing include the establishment and appointment of an independent chief commissioner with two other commissioners by the Parliament of NSW to lead a new independent greyhound welfare and integrity commission, much like ICAC, with powers to investigate owners and protect greyhounds.  

The governing body, Greyhound Racing NSW, is also being reconstituted with the regulatory and commercial functions separated and new directors recruited with demonstrated experience in both fields. Animal welfare groups are also to be engaged.

If the sport is shut down or barred from certain areas in one state it will simply move elsewhere, as the ACT example may show us.  Initial research shows that up to 40 direct jobs could be created by this move with potentially up to 200 people visiting each event, and spending their money in Queanbeyan.

While not suggesting this move should happen, or even supporting the sport, the idea should at least be given a fair hearing and the cost benefit to the community better understood before political opportunistic grandstanding.  After all, “The Friday night Queanbeyan doggies” does have a nice ring to it.  Would be better to understand if reality can match the slogan though.

Mark Schweikert (fmr Palerang councillor, Regional Development Australia – Southern Inlands chairman), Bungendore.

Patriotism, a politician's plaything

Samuel Johnson is quoted as saying: "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel" (Patriotism, no strings, QA, 04 July, p.4).

His observation holds firm in view of those who would clothe themselves in its embrace.

When politicians wish their policies, no matter how injurious or hare-brained, to remain unquestioned they imply a rider that it is "patriotic", or alternatively, "in the national interest", thus rendering questioning akin treason.

Citizenship accreditation has moved little beyond transcription tests - in Scots Gaelic required of Italians(!) - or how many runs the sainted Bradman scored. The immigration and Prime Ministers, both prattle on about Australian values. However they fail to clarify where values fit with indefinite incarceration of asylum seekers in off-shore hell holes, hoping their experiences will drive them either mad or back to face the, west-supported, corrupt regimes from which they fled in terror.

When a certain prime minister boasted: "We will decide who comes to this country..." obviously his intent was not to be as inclusive as those who penned the famous sentiment on the Statue of Liberty;  “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free".

He, and his ilk, have given rein to every corporate raider on the planet to exploit Australia's human and resource capital, and the issue of sovereignty and patriotism has never been an issue. In fact politicians have outbid each other, and enacted facilitating legislation to privilege tax-evading, borderless transnationals, who respect no sovereignty. Patriotism be dammed!

Albert M. White, Queanbeyan