Oops! Mike did it again (Image via @BevanShields)

After backflipping on greyhounds, NSW Premier Mike Baird confirms he is as powerless as PM Malcolm Turnbull. Peter Wicks reports.

Mike Baird wants us to know he was wrong.

It turns out that tying small defenceless creatures to a metal apparatus so they can be torn to bits over often lengthy periods of time isn’t cruel at all.

Apparently, loading dogs up with all manner of drugs – like steroids, amphetamines, cocaine, uppers and downers – is all really quite hunky dory.

In fact, killing a dog and dumping its body in a shallow mass grave to decay is really doing it a favour if it can’t run fast enough for a trainer.

There is nothing that puts the racing industry in higher esteem than race fixing, so that a select few hit the jackpot and the average Joe blows his dough — punters love that shit.

Oh and the industry that has failed time and time again to even come close to cleaning up its act will shine like the purest of white cotton sheets on a cloudless sunny day this time around.

Yep, Baird was wrong.

We know this not because of any studies, research, or any sort of historical data; all those things say that Baird was right to ban greyhound racing. We know it because a few shockjocks and the National Party tell us so.

The public have been turning against the major parties for their history of not having any passion about their policies, and for being less about governing with their heart and more about governing with their focus group and polling results. With Mike Baird’s backflip on his greyhound ban, people should flock back to the Coalition in droves, right?

There is nothing that fills the public with more confidence than a premier who preaches morals, integrity and compassion, and then spectacularly backflips and backs those he called evil just a few weeks earlier. That is a premier with principles, apparently.

The people of NSW now know that they did not elect a leader, they elected a weak follower of those who have sought to intimidate and bully the Premier until he caved in to their demands. The people of NSW now know that it is actually the National Party and a few rogue shock jocks running the state.

In all seriousness, though, Baird is now the Phantom, but without the superhero powers. Just a walking ghost. A man who can’t stand for his own principles can’t be relied upon to stand for those of others. The problem facing the Liberal Party is who can take over from him? There really isn’t anyone making any impression at all.

The favourite would have been Gladys Berejiklian, however. One day she forgot to take a tape measure to work and that little blunder cost the taxpayers a few quid. I mean. here’s a tip for young players: if you are going to spend $2.3 billion on new trains, try to make sure they aren’t too wide to fit past station platforms, particularly if you are the transport minister.

Opposition Leader Luke Foley will be all over the greyhound backflip like ants on candy, however, no matter what the spin, so this is hardly  a proud day at all for NSW Labor.

The success for Labor is a bitter one for Luke Foley has fought hard to win a fight against a ban he told a room full of animal advocates he actually wanted. Imagine that! When your greatest political success is actually a personal failure.

I’m sure all those drug cheats and live baiters that Foley had his happy snaps taken with will be celebrating their win today with the best champagne the “working class” can afford, after spending an absolute fortune on a PR firm.

This week, news broke of some more of these working class heroes of NSW Labor and the Greyhound Racing industry.

One of these victims of Baird's “class warfare” – greyhound owner and trainer Chad Achurch – was found with numerous videos of the torture of rabbits. This charming fellow was charged for these horrendous offences after the videos were discovered during a domestic violence investigation, he has also been charged with domestic violence related charges. But, hey! He’s just a battler welfare recipient from a bikie gang right?

Then there was Greyhound Racing NSW itself. Senior officials involved in live baiting, one employee involved in a betting scam, a cover-up of illegal drugging of animals and the concealing of criminal behaviour. Now there is an industry governing body of which to be proud.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article regarding the recent Baird Government funding for the NSW RSPCA to run expensive advertisements about the crackdown on puppy factories in NSW that is not happening and shows no sign of occurring under this Government. I explored the possibility of Baird trying to use this to soften the blow of a backflip on greyhounds. The timing seemed to suggest that possibility.

We will likely never know if this was the motive behind the advertising campaign, as it has been a complete and utter failure that has fooled nobody. Anybody interested in animal welfare issues knows the Government has done more to protect puppy factories than it has to close them.

Mike Baird was, in fact, absolutely right when he announced the greyhound racing ban. Where he is wrong, however, is if he thinks he can spin his way into making the public believe he is in control of any decisions. He seems to be running government in the same way Malcolm Turnbull is running it — from the passenger seat.

The electorate deserves a driver.

Peter Wicks is a former NSW State Labor candidate. You can follow Peter Wicks on Twitter @madwixxy.

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