Back-flipper Baird makes a giant splash

Back-flipper Baird makes a giant splash

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Opinion:

On August 22, 2008, Australian diver Matthew Mitcham produced the highest scoring dive in the history of the Olympics with his sixth and final effort to become Australia’s first male Olympic gold medallist in diving since Dick Eve in 1924.

Mitcham was trailing China’s Zhou Luxin by more than 30 points leading into the final round, but scored a whopping 112.10 on his last dive, a sensational back two and a half somersault with two and a half twists.

It was the best diving somersault in Australian history.

Until this week.

For amazingly, NSW Premier Mike Baird just pulled off an historic all encompassing backflip right off the roof of Alan Jones house (Palace) into a pile of greyhound corpses. *Splash.

The Baird government this week confirmed a back(melt)down of its ban on greyhound racing in NSW following a sustained campaign from many media sources and overwhelming industry pressure.

The exquisite backflip comes despite Premier Mike Baird’s repeated claims that the decision was final and a matter of principle and it was “locked in” that the industry would be shutdown on July 1, 2017.

The stunning backflip was beautifully highlighted by a journalist who asked Baird a question all of us must have been wondering, “You’ve said you’re a politician of conviction… is it a relief to be free of that burden?”

Animal rights groups were also criticising the Premier.

He had appeared alongside the RSPCA when announcing the ban, for which he won international praise from animal rights organisations.

“The politicians who pressured Premier Baird to overturn this ban are set to have sleepless nights,” said former police detective Lyn White from Animals Australia, the group that helped compile material for the Four Corners expose that set the ban in motion.

“Their political destinies are now wedded to an industry whose sense of right and wrong went missing decades ago.”

Mr Baird announced the ban earlier this year following a special commission of inquiry report that found 68,000 greyhounds had been euthanised in the past 12 years because they could not, or were too slow to, race.

The news was greeted with celebration by animal rights groups and even drew the first statement of praise for a conservative leader from me since … Lincoln?

Indeed, Mike Baird for a few short months very briefly experienced what it’s like to be thought of kindly by people who aren’t casino managers.

Infamously now, Baird posted a photo of a mass greyhound grave on Facebook after it was revealed 99 greyhounds had met a brutal end in the Hunter Valley.

Mr Baird insisted it wasn’t a case of class warfare, nor was the ban based on ideology. It was purely in the interests of animal welfare.

He said the NSW Government had brought in the ban because it was determined to do what was right.

From his point of view, Mr Baird said the decision had been made and there was no going back

“Our worst fears have been realised,” Mr Baird posted, “ending this cruelty is simply the right thing to do.”

Well, the right thing seemingly doesn’t win elections anymore. It started with Barnaby Joyce warning, “Be careful of your core constituency; they bite.”

Then the local council elections swung against him.

Mr Baird was blamed by Liberal councillors for a poor showing in local elections held across NSW, with large swings towards Labor experienced in western Sydney council areas.

Independent councillor Clover Moore again won the Sydney mayoral election with 60 per cent of the formal vote despite the NSW Government’s changes to voting regulations.

A recent Newspoll then showed Mr Baird’s satisfaction rating fall from 60 per cent to 39 per cent in the past nine months.

All this, along with his contentious Sydney lockout laws, as well as a series of forced council amalgamations, started to make “the right thing to do” untenable.

So this week, Premier Mike Baird declared “I got it wrong (*Splash)” while confirming he would back down on his original promise to close the industry from July next year.

One would now expect Mike Baird’s chance of re-election is, ahem, going to the dogs.

You’d expect that both greyhound people and battlers doing their best would never forgive him. Now animal activists are against him too. Oh, and Tumbarumba probably hasn’t him forgiven yet either.