RETIRING councillor Julian McLaren – once thought to be the heir apparent to Wagga MP Darly Maguire – has launched a scathing attack on the state Liberal government.
The former vice-president of the Liberal Party’s Wagga branch tore strips off Premier Mike Baird’s dictatorial decision-making, with particular reference to the greyhound racing industry ban.
The last act of the current crop of councillors was to endorse an official letter from Wagga council on behalf of all residents, pleading with the premier and state MPs to reverse the ban.
It comes as the government begins its formal “humane and orderly closure” of the Wagga greyhound industry.
Coordinator General of the Greyhounds Transition Taskforce Dr John Keniry will be in Wagga next Monday to discuss compensation packages to “transition dogs and people out of the greyhound industry”.
Cr McLaren cited the example of Wagga MP Daryl Maguire being unaware of the greyhound ban before it was publicly announced as a demonstration of the premier’s indifference towards public opinion.
“The Liberal Party makes decisions without consulting the public,” Cr McLaren said.
“There is not a democratic system within the Liberals, it’s a party of grubby factions that look after themselves and the NSW branch is the worst perpetrator.
“A lot of people have been hurt enormously by the greyhound ban.”
Cr McLaren has torn up his Liberal Party membership and declared the greyhound ban contributed to the relief he felt “bowing out of politics”.
Councillor Paul Funnell could not understand how the same state government responsible for the culling of 90 per cent of the iconic Snowy Mountains brumbies could wipe out thousands of regional jobs in the interests of animal welfare.
Councillors McLaren and Conkey expressed sympathy for Cootamundra state MP Katrina Hodgkinson, who was stripped of her parliamentary secretary position after revolting against the ban.
After her demotion, Ms Hodgkinson told The Daily Advertiser there was nothing any rank and file member of the government could have done to sway the premier.