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Could greyhound ban be all bark, no bite?

Premier Mike Baird is said to be considering softening his stance on outlawing greyhound racing.
Premier Mike Baird is said to be considering softening his stance on outlawing greyhound racing. LUKAS COCH

MIKE Baird may soften his stance on banning greyhound racing after realising he has bitten off more than he can chew.

The Premier's hard-line rhetoric has tempered in recent days amid fears a voter backlash could lose the Nationals a seat at the Orange by-election in November.

A reporter asked Mr Baird outright at a media conference on Wednesday: "So you are ruling out any possibility of a backflip."

His response, captured by Nine News, was far more cryptic than the uncompromising front he presented when introducing the ban.

"Look, I'm ruling out the possibility that I'm going to make any decisions other than what I think is the right one," Mr Baird said.

"There's no doubt that Orange will be a challenge, that's very clear."

Criticism is piling up for the Premier, with 2GB radio announcer Alan Jones dubbing him "Kim Jong Baird" as a reference to his apparent dictatorial rule over the government.

A fire and brimstone-spitting Jones went so far as to suggest the greyhound ban was driving people to suicide.

"You can only draw one conclusion - the business of the Baird Government is to drive people to take your own lives. It's beyond disgrace," he said.

A ReachTEL poll of Orange voters published in the Daily Telegraph this week had the Nationals' primary vote down to 34.6%, a far cry from the 66% when outgoing Andrew Gee was a candidate at the 2015 election.

Mr Gee has since moved to the federal sphere.

The poll also revealed 39.6% of Orange voters preferred Mr Baird as Premier, just a fraction more than the 39% who were now behind Transport Minister Andrew Constance.

Deputy Premier Troy Grant's leadership of the Nationals also hangs in limbo over the Orange by-election results.

The NSW Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance now has two legal challenges to the ban - one in the Supreme Court and the other in the High Court.

The Supreme Court challenge argues the report that led to the ban was flawed and the legislation is invalid as result.

The High Court matter questions the law itself, with the industry claiming it offends Section 92 of the Constitution by restricting free trade between states.

ARM NEWSDESK

Topics:  ban, greyhound, greyhound racing, mike baird, orange by-election, racing, troy grant


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