Today Abigail spoke in support of a call for papers regarding scepticism around a recent political polling survey from Greyhound Racing NSW.
The call for papers was ordered by Courtney Houssos, as below. Abigail then spoke in support of the motion.
COURTNEY HOUSSOS (22:16): I move:
That, under Standing order 52, there be laid upon the table of the House within 14 days of the date of passing of this resolution the following documents created since 1 January 2021 in the possession, custody or control of the Minister for Hospitality and Racing, the Department of Customer Service, the Office of Racing or Greyhound Racing NSW relating to the Greyhound Racing Industry Survey:
(a) all documents, including emails, briefings, text messages and memorandum, relating to the Greyhound Racing Industry Survey conducted by Insightfully in November 2021; and
(b) any legal or other advice regarding the scope or validity of this order of the House created as a result of this order of the House.
I move this call for papers because I have received information that Greyhound Racing NSW conducted political polling as part of a greyhound racing industry survey of participants in November 2021. I find this incredibly concerning, as I am sure many participants within the greyhound industry would. The organisation charged with running the operational part of greyhound racing in New South Wales conducted a survey of its members—as it should—but tacked on to the end of the survey were questions about the political leanings of its members. More than that, it asked questions about the favourability of the Premier, the Deputy Premier, the Leader of the Opposition and its members' local MPs.
Whilst we would expect government agencies to be in touch with their industry participants, and to seek their views on the future of industry and how they can improve the running of industry, it is extremely concerning to see overt political polling questions as a part of the survey. Therefore, we are seeking further information on what was provided to the Minister for Hospitality and Racing on the poll. We are seeking to find out what the role of the Minister was in the survey, because we think it is a really concerning development in an industry that has faced so much scrutiny. I will be clear: NSW Labor advocated for the restart of greyhound racing. We do support the industry but we think it is incredibly important that the body charged with running it focuses on that and not politics. The call for papers seeks that information so that we can get to the bottom of this concerning episode. I commend the motion to the House.
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (22:19): On behalf of The Greens I support this motion and I thank the Hon. Courtney Houssos for moving it. It is something that was also brought to the attention of my office. In our view Greyhound Racing NSW has conducted what looks to be blatant political polling of their members, asking industry participants what issues will affect their vote at the next State election and whether they support specific politicians. Greyhound Racing NSW receives government funding to run the operational side of the greyhound racing industry, not to conduct political polling for their friends in politics. Not only that but in the same survey it is apparent that they are attempting to build a case to lobby for the privatisation of the organisation, no doubt to be presented to politicians alongside the political polling. Greyhound Racing NSW and the Minister are claiming, as I understand it, that the vast majority of this survey was conducted without their knowledge or consent, so I really think we need to know who signed off on it. I will be moving an amendment which I hope is uncontroversial. I move:
That the question be amended as follows:
(1) Insert "or Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission" after "Greyhound Racing NSW"; and
(2) Insert after paragraph (b): (2) That the Clerk communicate the terms of this resolution to Greyhound Racing NSW and the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission.
I have moved this amendment because the survey asked industry participants for their opinions not just on Greyhound Racing NSW but also whether they were satisfied with the "job being done" by the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission [GWIC]. Was GWIC consulted before greyhound racing industry participants were asked about its performance? Were the results of the survey before it was cut off shared with the integrity agency? Did the agency know that participants were being presented with arguments that privatisation of Greyhound Racing NSW would result in better welfare outcomes? We hope that the results of this call for papers will shed some light on those questions and we support it wholly.
The Hon. SAM FARRAWAY (Minister for Regional Transport and Roads) (22:21): The Government will not oppose this motion or call for papers.
The Hon. COURTNEY HOUSSOS (22:21): In reply: The Opposition will be supporting the amendment.
The ASSISTANT PRESIDENT (The Hon. Rod Roberts): The Hon. Courtney Houssos has moved private members' business item No. 1787, to which Ms Abigail Boyd has moved an amendment. The question is that the amendment be agreed to.
Amendment agreed to.
The ASSISTANT PRESIDENT (The Hon. Rod Roberts): The question now is that the motion as amended be agreed to.
Motion as amended agreed to.
The full transcript can be found in Hansard, here.