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The fall of Deputy Premier Troy Grant

Warren Mundine, The Daily Telegraph
August 25, 2016 

Last week Mike Baird hosted a retreat for Premier’s Department staff to reflect on their ­performance. A more useful exercise would’ve been spending a week talking to people in NSW about their views of the government’s performance and its agencies. NSW voters aren’t happy.

Nationals leader Troy Grant, in particular, should be ashamed. The agencies he’s accountable for have proven impotent and incompetent.

The McHugh report on greyhound racing is full of spurious claims and statistics, yet Grant has used it to justify destroying the greyhound ­industry and people’s livelihoods. Many of those people live in Grant’s electorate. Many voted National believing they care about country people’s interests, only to watch Grant lead the Nationals into bed with the Greens and animal rights activists.

If Grant believes the ­report, he should resign. It claims 10 per cent to 20 per cent of trainers engage in live baiting. Based on Greyhound Racing NSW’s 2015 Annual Report, that would be 330 to 660 participants engaged in criminal activities.

Apparently police have done nothing to catch these crooks. And who’s the Police Minister? Also Troy Grant.

All this supposedly took place under the nose of Greyhound Racing NSW, the industry oversight body ­appointed by, and accountable to, the government. Step forward again Troy Grant, the Minister for Racing.

It’s bad enough that agencies under Grant’s watch are accused of failing to protect animals, but they’ve also failed to protect people.
The inquiry into the Lindt Cafe siege reveals a police force out of its depth, lacking readiness and capability to deal with terrorism.

Terrorism against Western nations on home soil has been a known threat for more than a decade. It’s astonishing that NSW Police had no competent plan for dealing with it. During the siege a plan to storm the cafe was put to senior officers. ­Tactical operations believed it was sound and executable. It wasn’t ­approved. It took the ­execution of a hostage to prompt police to storm the cafe.

Equally troubling is NSW Police had its priorities all wrong. Asked why police delayed storming the cafe, it was put to a police commander that the gunman’s welfare wasn’t the primary concern. He replied: “I can’t ignore Man Monis as an individual, he had the same rights as anyone else.”

Anyone with an ounce of commonsense knows Monis forfeited his rights when he held people at gunpoint.

When the police’s primary focus should’ve been freeing the hostages, they focused on “community harmony”, conveying tolerance and preventing a backlash. They ­activated a “high-visibility policing operation” to respond to potential bias crimes only six hours into the siege.

So police had a plan for bias crimes but no plan for the crime taking place in the cafe. They took pre-emptive steps against a non-existent backlash but not against the hostage taker.

I have zero tolerance for hate crimes and believe police should crack down on anyone inciting violence. So it annoys me police and prosecutors often do nothing when people appear to incite violence based on race or ­religion.

Take Ismail al-Wahwah of the radical Islamic group Hizb-ut Tahrir. In sermons viewable on the internet he’s incited violence and called for jihad against Jews, saying: “The Jews will not thrive and will not live in safety because they are the slayer of prophets … whoever liberates the human race today from the corruption of the Israelites, of the sinners, of the infidel Israelites. The entire world suffers from the Israelites today and complains about them.

“Who will set the world free from the Israelites so that the world will be able to say that it has rid itself of that hidden evil?”

Complaints to the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board about this hate speech have been in vain. The DPP won’t lay charges under the Anti-Discrimination Act (ADA). It’s actually never laid a charge based on an ADA complaint.

Clearly the ADA is deficient if al-Wahwah’s comments aren’t even worthy of taking action. Just imagine if someone called on people to “set the world free” from members of your religion; or warned your ethnicity or nationality “will not live in safety”. If someone preached that about Aboriginal people I’d watch my back.

The agencies within Grant’s accountability have failed to protect those under their care. People in NSW ­expect police and regulators to do their job. Grant should spend less time courting the Greens and more time focusing on doing his.

Nyunggai Warren Mundine is chair of the Prime Minister’s Indigenous Advisory Council and managing director of Nyungga Black Group

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