Melbourne Cup

In Parliament, Matters of Interest, Speeches

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:45): I rise to devote some time just before the first Tuesday in November, the so-called race that stops a nation, to ponder whether one day the nation will stop this race. Indeed, I commend one of my favourite singers and performers, ‘Tay Tay’, Taylor Swift, for not playing at the cup this year. Indeed, look what you made me do; Tay Tay’s was a very wise decision to pull out of this cruel and inhumane industry. 

Our state government has recently given $24 million in a stimulus package to South Australia’s racing industry, an industry based on the use of animals for entertainment and for gambling. It is an industry that is based on the concept of wastage. For those who have not heard of wastage before, that is those animals that are seen as disposable—the dogs, the greyhounds, the racehorses, the thoroughbreds. As we have seen yet again on the ABC exposé, the way that those animals are treated when they are not on the track leaves a lot to be desired. You bet, they lose—they never win. 

The racing industry is no different from those other animal industries, where it values an animal on its basis of financial return. The ethics of any gambling industry are, of course, questionable, but when that gamble is done with flesh and blood, there will inevitably be very few winners and many, many losers. The drive for financial and personal success and glory is about the return for trainers and owners, not the animals. 

South Australians are standing against this and saying ‘Nup to the Cup’ in increasing numbers. It does not mean that they do not enjoy a day out and a frock up, putting on a hat, but perhaps the fillies are not of the four-legged kind at these events. Certainly, more and more South Australians are rejecting cruelty and the use of animals as entertainment, recognising that these industries are inherently cruel and no longer something that we should be supporting into the future. 

I would like to encourage South Australians to get along to the FARK Cup. Say Nup to the Cup on the first Tuesday of November and get along to the FARK Cup. Before Hansard panics too much, that is the Fun Alternative Racing Karnival. It will be held at Prospect Oval on Tuesday 5 November. Tickets are available online, and there will be races. Indeed, they are races that we can all participate in. 

The overall rules are that you must be over 18 to compete and that you must pre-register. Beyond that, you may enter in race 1, the MAMIL Coffee Cup, by wearing cycling lycra. Vintage gym, budgie smugglers, ballet lycra are all possible, if you can rock it—the sillier the better. You have to run carrying two cups of coffee, which will be supplied. The first to reach the finish line, where your bike is, wins, but still you must have that coffee in your cup. It is barefoot only and starting from a seated or lying position. You can come with a funny or silly coffee or cycling name for your entry. 

Race 2 is the Wobbly Ladies, where you can wear a dress—all genders welcome. You must carry shoes and a handbag. To provide that element of difficulty, you cannot have a body strap or hand strap affixed in any way. You must wear a hat and it cannot be fixed to your head or hair during the race. The first to reach the finish line and grab the supplied champagne bottle wins. You are not allowed to start standing and you must be barefoot. You can come up with a fun and silly drunk lady name for your entry. 

Race 3 is the T-Rex, where you must wear an inflatable T-rex costume, which will be supplied to you. You must start from a standing position, barefoot only, starting from a 180° position backwards, and come with a fun or silly dinosaur name. Events like the FARK Cup will support those shelters that take in animals abandoned by these industries and give them a much longer life than they would otherwise have. I encourage all South Australians to help be the nation that stopped the cruel race.