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In the spirit of King O’Malley

By Mark Parton MLA - 7 July 2017 9

So I was having a beer with some mates at King O’Malley’s and we were musing at the great irony of the naming of this wonderful old pub.

King O’Malley was the first in a distinguished line of wowsers who have unsuccesfully attempted to sterilise the ACT into the capital of dull and bland. As Home Affairs Minister, the South Australian based O’Malley convinced his parliamentary colleagues to make the ACT a virtually dry territory in 1911. Now, when I say ‘virtually’ dry, the ordinance that he created outlawed the granting of any more new liquor licences in the territory. As I understand it there was just one pub in the territory at the time, The Cricketers Arms at Hall so once this law came in, it was tough to buy a beer in Canberra.

So what did Canberrans do? What do you think? They went to Queanbeyan.

In those early years of the territory, Queanbeyan pubs were chock full with the workers who were constructing the new city. I’m told that if you were driving from Queanbeyan to Canberra on a moonlit night in the 1920’s the way was lit by the reflection on the empty beer bottles littering the roadside.

Temperance organisations around the nation were most interested in the ACT experiment and made whatever noise they could to continue or expand it but at the end of the day common sense won the battle. ACT residents voted in a 1928 plebiscite to end the prohibition and beer taps started flowing again almost immediately.

Wind the clock forward to the 1950’s when New South Wales made the big call to legalise poker machines. Federal administrators of the ACT erred the side of blandness and refused to allow them in the territory. Come the mid 1970’s and it became apparent that thousands of Canberra residents were simply skipping over the border to Queanbeyan to play the pokies and to generally eat, drink, be merry. So there was a change of heart. In 1976 pokies were legalised in the ACT and machines were allocated to various community clubs to stop the bleeding of money over the border.

And that brings us to greyhound racing.

Last month the Minister for Regulatory Services announced a ban on greyhound racing in the ACT to commence in the middle of next year. It remains to be seen whether this ban will stand up on legal, legislative or constitutional grounds, but the more pertinent question is, what will it achieve?

It doesn’t save the government any money as they had already announced a cessation of any financial support to the greyhounds. Because of their rapidly increasing share of TAB turnover and relatively low cost structure, the greyhounds are the only racing code in the ACT that can actually sustain themselves and the club had prepared for that reality prior to the ban announcement.

The Canberra Greyhound Racing Club has had no animal welfare breaches in its 38 year history but Mr Ramsay suggests that it’s ‘out of step with community values’. However he’s only banning the racing of greyhounds here….you can still own, train, breed and bet on the dogs in the ACT. The Government will, over the next four years accept over a million dollars of ‘blood money’ from betting on greyhounds as per their agreement with TABCorp after the sale of ACTTAB.

On the day of the announcement of the ban the NSW Deputy Premier, John Barilaro announced that he would love to have the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club relocate some 6 kilometres east of their current location in Queanbeyan. I know that the club is committed to fighting the ban on every possible front, but that it is also considering all options including the NSW move. If they do simply move over the border of common sense it seems like King O’Malley all over again.

When will legislators wake up to the fact that the ACT is an island within NSW and it’s impossible to stop leakage of most things over the border.

In the spirit of King O’Malley, I’d strongly recommend that the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club name any new track, “The Gordon Ramsay Greyhound Track” so that, like the pub, it can carry his name forever.

What’s Your opinion?


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9 Responses to
In the spirit of King O’Malley
chewy14 5:35 pm 07 Jul 17

JC said :

chewy14 said :

Great article Mark,
seems this is just another one in a litany of attempts by the ALP (really in pandering to the Greens members) to restrict citizens freedoms and ability to choose their own destiny.

Funny I thought they were only following the lead of NSW Liberals, who under pressure back-flipped on their plan to ban it state wide. Who were the NSW Libs pandering to? Cannot be the greens in NSW could it?

Who were the NSW Liberals pandering to?

Their citizens.

I just realised you were probably referring to who the NSW Liberals were pandering to in their decision to ban rather than by correctly changing their minds which was who I was referring to.

In making their decision to ban, the NSW government were pandering to the religiously motivated moralising of their previous leader whose fundamentalist wowserism is well known.

That and the extremely powerful development lobby who had their eyes on prime inner city Sydney land.

The exact same reasons were also at play in the lockout laws applied to inner Sydney and Kings Cross.

It’s funny to see Greens on the same side of the debate as moralising religious wowsers and greedy property developers isn’t it.

JC 1:17 pm 07 Jul 17

chewy14 said :

Great article Mark,
seems this is just another one in a litany of attempts by the ALP (really in pandering to the Greens members) to restrict citizens freedoms and ability to choose their own destiny.

Funny I thought they were only following the lead of NSW Liberals, who under pressure back-flipped on their plan to ban it state wide. Who were the NSW Libs pandering to? Cannot be the greens in NSW could it?

Mess 1:02 pm 07 Jul 17

It’s not just about how the animals are treated while they are racing, it’s also about what happens to them after they are deemed “useful”. They may not officially have any breaches, but many dogs are abandoned or put down once they can’t race anymore, which is even more cruel.

There are many organisations dedicated to saving Greyhounds from abandonment or being put down. Just because they can’t race anymore doesn’t mean they don’t have something to offer.

http://greyhoundrescue.com.au/about/

Garfield 12:08 pm 07 Jul 17

I’ll admit my first thought on hearing about the NSW Greyhound report was that it should potentially be banned. However on deeper reflection on the double standard being applied to the dogs vs say horse racing, the fact that NSW has reversed their initial policy and there being no ACT welfare breaches, I’m now in favour of tighter regulation in the ACT, rather than a ban. Good article Mark.

Elias Hallaj 10:18 am 07 Jul 17

You’re welcome! King O’Malley’s is an awesome pub. I may have spent too many evenings and lunchtimes there reading all the King O’Malley paraphernalia. Fascinating bloke! 😉

chewy14 10:01 am 07 Jul 17

Great article Mark,
seems this is just another one in a litany of attempts by the ALP (really in pandering to the Greens members) to restrict citizens freedoms and ability to choose their own destiny.

When will the government learn that appropriate regulation is always the key, rather than taking the lazy option of banning things that they don’t approve of in their attempts to control the population.

With relation to greyhounds, you can see the hypocrisy on display in still receiving significant taxation revenue from the sport. And the fact that despite finding zero evidence of animal cruelty from greyhound racing in the ACT, they still decide to ban based on old and flawed findings of things occurring in NSW. Even though NSW has now imposed much greater control on the industry, through better regulation and breeding controls.

And to top this off, the inconsistencies in their logic are there for all to see, with similar attention not being applied to any other use of animals in the ACT, for sport or as pets. If the goal is to end animal “cruelty”, why aren’t they taking a holistic approach?

Mark Parton MLA 9:10 am 07 Jul 17

Elias Hallaj said :

Sorry Mark, but I couldn’t help but notice you started this yarn with an error about former Labor Federal Member King O’Malley. You wrote “As Home Affairs Minister, the South Australian based O’Malley…”. O’Malley did live in SA briefly (and Melbourne, Tasmania and WA) but he represented Tasmania in the federal parliament and mostly lived there from 1900, until he was elected to the new federal parliament as an independent in 1900, subsequently joining the ALP and then was a Labor federal MP representing Tasmanian seats until 1917. He wasn’t South Australian based as a federal minister.

Thanks for the correction Elias. Appreciate the info.

dungfungus 9:06 am 07 Jul 17

Elias Hallaj said :

Sorry Mark, but I couldn’t help but notice you started this yarn with an error about former Labor Federal Member King O’Malley. You wrote “As Home Affairs Minister, the South Australian based O’Malley…”. O’Malley did live in SA briefly (and Melbourne, Tasmania and WA) but he represented Tasmania in the federal parliament and mostly lived there from 1900, until he was elected to the new federal parliament as an independent in 1900, subsequently joining the ALP and then was a Labor federal MP representing Tasmanian seats until 1917. He wasn’t South Australian based as a federal minister.

Seeing in the OP that poker machines were introduced into the ACT in 1976 it is interesting to note the the ACT Labor Club was established in 1979 and it now has 4 clubs which last year took $168 million out of the economy while in 2014 it was reported that the organisation was one of the smallest “back to the community” contributors.

This year, the ACT Labor Clubs paid $528,000 for the poker machines from the failing Italian Club.

I am sure if O’Malley was alive today as a Federal Labor MP the ACT Labor Clubs would not exist.

Elias Hallaj 8:03 am 07 Jul 17

Sorry Mark, but I couldn’t help but notice you started this yarn with an error about former Labor Federal Member King O’Malley. You wrote “As Home Affairs Minister, the South Australian based O’Malley…”. O’Malley did live in SA briefly (and Melbourne, Tasmania and WA) but he represented Tasmania in the federal parliament and mostly lived there from 1900, until he was elected to the new federal parliament as an independent in 1900, subsequently joining the ALP and then was a Labor federal MP representing Tasmanian seats until 1917. He wasn’t South Australian based as a federal minister.

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