Prominent independent MP Alex Greenwich and the Animal Justice Party have forged a formal alliance which will see them shepherd each other’s key policies through NSW parliament, including gambling reform and a ban on puppy farms.
The coalition between Greenwich and Animal Justice Party MLC Emma Hurst sets the stage for crossbenchers to play a more powerful role in the next parliament.
Greenwich said his top priorities were gambling reform, including a mandatory cashless gaming card, as well as laws to stop discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Hurst wants the controversial practice of puppy farming outlawed and a minister responsible for animal protection.
The Sydney MP has maintained that his support in the event of a minority government would be dependent on support for a cashless gaming card, but Labor is only committed to a trial.
If Labor is elected, and does not change its opposition to a mandatory card, Greenwich intends to introduce a private members’ bill to overhaul gambling laws. Hurst would be responsible for introducing his bill in the upper house.
As long as the Nationals do not back away from the cashless card, which they agreed to support on the condition that regional pubs and clubs do not suffer financial hardship, Greenwich believes he would be able to pass legislation without Labor.
“In the last parliament, the Animal Justice Party and I passed five bills through the parliament, and we are joining forces in the next parliament to ensure animal welfare, gambling reform, and LGBTQ equality will be championed in both houses regardless of who forms government,” Greenwich said.
One of Hurst’s main priorities will be outlawing puppy farms, which have increasingly infiltrated NSW after Victoria banned them 2017, pushing industrial-scale breeders over the state’s border. Greenwich will introduce her bills in the lower house.
Hurst introduced a bill to ban the farms during the last parliament, which passed the upper house with the support of Labor, the Greens and former Christian Democrat Fred Nile, but not the government.
“Over the last four years Alex Greenwich and I have proven that we are a force to be reckoned with,” Hurst said. “Whoever the next government is, they should take a look at our track record and what we have achieved together in the upper and lower house.”
Hurst said she and Greenwich “are committed to outlawing puppy farming in NSW and ensuring these mass-scale companion animal breeding operations are no longer legal”.
“We simply can’t work with any government who won’t protect dogs from the despicable practice
of puppy farming. Previous governments have failed companion animals. This term in parliament,
we plan to change that,” Hurst said.
“Alex and I are committed to working together with whoever the next government will be to ensure
progressive legislation on LGBTQIA+ rights, human rights, and animal protection remain on the
The Coalition has spent the last two years governing without a formal majority and with the support of a group of independents.
The latest Resolve Political Monitor for the Herald showed that the possibility of a hung parliament at the March 25 poll is a strong possibility.
“One month out, this snapshot tells us that a majority Labor government followed by a minority government are the most likely outcomes,” said Resolve director Jim Reed.
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