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Johnston Slams Office of Racing Integrity for Appalling Privacy Breach

By July 26, 2023No Comments

The Office of Racing Integrity has again demonstrated its inability to appropriately handle complaints after its latest breach of privacy. 

On 13 July, an industry insider who disclosed some serious allegations about the treatment of a number of thoroughbred horses contacted my office.  Given the nature of these allegations, I immediately forwarded these concerns to the Office of Racing Integrity and requested they further investigate this matter.

Yesterday I received a voicemail message from the person named in the allegations seeking to meet with me and discuss the details contained within the correspondence sent by my office.

It is abundantly clear that the Office of Racing Integrity have disclosed the content of the complaint, but also identified me as the complainant to the person involved.

This is entirely inappropriate and demonstrates a gross mishandling of proper process.

It is no surprise that whistleblowers are so reluctant to lodge complaints with the Office of Racing Integrity when they are mishandled, even those from a Member of Parliament.

Former Racing Minister, Madeleine Ogilvie and the Office of Racing Integrity has publicly chastised others and myself for not formally reporting allegations to the regulator. However, when this is how complaints are dealt with, it is little wonder that I and other animal welfare advocates have no confidence in the Office of Racing Integrity and this Government’s handling of the racing portfolio.

Without commenting on the veracity of the allegations, these matters are serious and require urgent investigation. The Office of Racing Integrity should be able to properly investigate such matters without compromising the welfare of those people who in good faith make complaints.

I call on the new Racing Minister, Felix Ellis, to take control of the situation and put the ‘integrity’ back into the Office of Racing Integrity.

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