Greens Councillor Rochelle Flood has put forward a motion to be debated at this week’s September Lane Cove Council Meeting proposing Lane Cove Council no longer screen, promote, or advertise the Melbourne Cup on any public/council-owned property.
She is asking Lane Cove Council to investigate opportunities for other events or activities to be held on Melbourne Cup Day that better align with community and family values and help drive business/trade.
Notice of Motion
The Notice of Motion includes the following:
In previous years, Lane Cove Council has screened the Melbourne Cup in the plaza and has included promotion of the Melbourne Cup screening on council’s Facebook page and other platforms. However, it is time for Council to evaluate whether the screening and subsequent promotion of the Melbourne Cup aligns with our community values.
First, the Melbourne Cup is the single largest day of gambling Australia wide, with a total of $221.6 million being spent on Cup Day in 2020. Attendance levels at the Melbourne Cup have been falling, and it is essentially the gambling and betting component that is driving profits and maintaining the viability of the race. A University of Sydney study found that participation rates for race gambling (including horse races) are significantly higher among young people – those who are more vulnerable to forming a gambling addiction during their early years. The popularity of the Melbourne Cup, and its promotion across numerous platforms is arguably helping to normalise gambling across Australia. As a nation, Australia has a serious problem with gambling. A 2017 study found that Australia was the country with the highest gambling losses per capita. The continued promotion of race events such as the Melbourne Cup, is helping to fuel gambling across Australia.
It is also worth noting that the Melbourne Cup and its links to excessive gambling and alcohol consumption, has resulted in a marked increase in domestic violence incidents. The Federal Government’s 1800 Respect service, has recorded a 17% increase in demand on the day of the Melbourne Cup. The Australian Institute of Criminology has also documented a rise in reported domestic and family violence on Cup Day.
Finally, the Melbourne Cup promotes and fuels animal cruelty and suffering. Seven of the last nine years have seen a horse die as a result of injuries sustained during the event. Horses are put under incredible strain during races such as the Melbourne Cup. Many suffer from catastrophic front limb injuries, while others endure cardiac arrest or bleeding into the lungs. It is an incredibly cruel sport, where sentient animals suffer and die in the name of gambling profits.
It is time for us to evaluate whether the Melbourne Cup truly aligns with the values that we as a council, want to encourage within the Lane Cove community.
1. Resolves to no longer screen, promote, or advertise the Melbourne Cup on any public/council-owned property; and
2. Investigates opportunities for other events or activities in the plaza on Cup Day that better align with community and family values and help drive business/trade in the plaza.”
Animal Rights Campaigner
In November 2021 (before being elected to council), Rochelle Flood raised her concerns about promoting and screening the Melbourne Cup. See the 2021 post and Lane Cove Council’s post.
Councillor Flood has been making national headlines, and her proposed motion has been discussed on 2GB and the Today Show.
When being interviewed by the Today Show, Bill Shorten was asked for his views on Rochelle Flood’s proposed motion. Bill Shorten did not hold back. However, you will see below the interviewer stated that Rochelle Flood was asking for a ban on showing the Melbourne Cup at all public venues. This is not correct. Bill Shorten commented on the ban as his electorate includes the Flemington Racecourse.
Sky News then published an article with the heading “Bill Shorten Unleashes on Greens with Her Proposal to Stop Melbourne Cup Screenings in Public Venues” – This headline is misleading.
Councillor Flood only asks for a ban in Lane Cove on screens owned by the Lane Cove Council. Reporting that Councillor Flood is asking for a much wider ban has resulted in Councillor Flood receiving a deluge of emails, texts and messages on her Facebook page from non-Lane Cove residents.
The Race That Stops A Nation
Every year ITC publishes a Melbourne Cup Guide, which includes Lane Cove venues where you can see the Melbourne Cup or attend a Melbourne Cup event. We also publish an article about Lane Cove Local Melbourne Cup Max.
Melbourne Cup Max has memorised the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place-getters of the Melbourne Cup for the last 100 years. He also has a Melbourne Cup System that has ‘worked’ for 27 out of the last 33 years. For Melbourne Cup Max, the Melbourne Cup is a 365-day commitment. You can read more about Melbourne Cup Max here.
We asked Melbourne Cup Max for his comments and he told ITC:
“The Cup has been a ‘family affair’ almost since it was first run in 1861. It ‘belongs’s to every Aussie who chooses once a year to enjoy something that has entertained Aussie families since inception. But no one forces you to go to it; or listen to; or watch it.
My long departed Mother-in-Law, who was born in the early 1900’s, never followed horses, never gambled and drank very little. But every year, at Melbourne Cup, time she had a $1 each way on every horse in the Melbourne Cup…simply because she wanted to be able to say “I backed the winner of the Melbourne Cup!”
And it’s a pretty good bet that most Aussies feel the same way as I do.”
The Melbourne Cup is a day when Australians who are not interested in horse racing have their annual flutter.
We have noticed the number of people commenting on our Melbourne Cup posts with the comment NUP To the CUP has increased over the years. In particular, after an ABC investigation exposed the mistreatment of once-prized racehorses.
The Melbourne Cup Screen on the Green crowds has fluctuated over the years. The largest crowd was in 2016 (see our cover photo – photo by @pamjx/)
What used to bring people into Lane Cove on Melbourne Cup day was the now closed TAB so locals could have their once-a-year flutter. In the morning, the shops are busy with last-minute purchases for catering and fascinators and picking out an outfit for a function.
During the lead-up to the cup and until about School Pick Up time, the Lane Cove Plaza tends to be quieter than usual.
Business picks up in the late afternoon as people leave functions and meet up with family and friends for dinner. The businesses that hold functions are usually busier than Lane Cove Plaza businesses.
It’s hard to tell the impact of a possible banning of the Melbourne Cup Screening at The Canopy.
Due to COVID19, crowds have been down, and last year it was only a last-minute decision to show the race on The Canopy screen. There was very little advertising or promotion as we were still in the middle of the COVID19 social distancing rule.
Councillor Flood’s resolution is drafted, so it only applies to Lane Cove Council activating their screens; it would not stop local restaurants (even ones at The Canopy) from installing TV screens (and in fact, many of them do as they would rather have their patrons not leave the restaurant during service).
What do you think of the proposed notice of motion? Agree or Disagree?
Help Support Local and Independent News
You can support us in three ways:
- Become an ITC reader sponsor – Feel free to be a reader sponsor if you have enjoyed our local news coverage – no amount is too small or too big. Thank you so much to the people who have already supported us via our press Patreon account. Help Us Here.
- Buy the ITC team a coffee – our office is nearly every coffee shop in Lane Cove, and we regularly meet locals at coffee shops – buy the ITC team a coffee (or two) here. When you buy us a coffee, you do keep us caffeinated but also we use the funds to pay our ITC hard-working team members – it allows us to pay them for more hours.
Do you own a Lane Cove Business or a Lane Cove resident who owns a business, you can advertise with ITC – our packages start from a $30 monthly fee (for a 12-month commitment). Email us here for our rates card.