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Crackdown on dogs in pubs in sydneys inner west leaves pet owners barking mad

THE fur is flying in Sydney’s inner west, where angry residents are howling in protest at their newly merged council’s crackdown on dogs in pubs.

For as long as local punters can remember, authorities in Balmain have turned a blind eye to state laws prohibiting canines entering drinking holes because the dog-friendly pubs have become one of the suburbs best-loved attractions for visitors.

But the newly amalgamated Inner West Council has suddenly started handing out warnings of a $600 fine for dog owners who bring their pooches inside, and pubs who allow it to happen.

That explanation does not wash with local dog-owners, who question why the council suddenly has a problem with a situation that has existed for years.

Celebrity vet Chris Brown and former Balmain Mayor Darcy Byrne are among the high-profile Sydneysiders to join the campaign against council action, with a pro-pub pooches video the latter posted on social media attracting more than 33,000 views in just two weeks.

A separate petition calling for the council to allow pets into Balmain pubs has attracted almost 2000 signatures so far.

Local MP Jamie Parker said he had written to the council, urging its administrator to urgently address the issue.

Failure to do so would be a blow to local business, he said.

Dog-friendly pubs are a key ingredient of the charm and unique atmosphere in Balmain, and its a tradition well-known and much-loved by local residents.

Complaints about anti-social behaviour as a result of dogs coming into pubs appear non-existent, so Im a puzzled as to why the council has only now cracked down on this apparently harmless practice.

Australia is regarded as one of the strictest Western nations when it comes to accessibility for companion animals.

Dog-owners in many European countries are free to take their pets inside shops, cafes, restaurants and onto public transport.

Justine Hoermann, who runs the Balmain Dog Lovers Facebook page, said the local crackdown was yet another example of societys increasing nanny state of affairs.

About 50 per cent of households in this area do or will own a dog and previously it has all worked fine, she said.

There is an etiquette that is known if youre going to take your dog to a pub, you make sure theyre under your control, theyre on a short leash and theyre not causing any disturbance to anyone else. Its just common sense.

Suddenly there is this change and no one understands why.

Dry Dock Hotel publican Kieren Doyle said dogs were once allowed throughout his premises.

More recently, they had been barred from entering food service areas, but with warnings from council inspectors about the new crackdown he has had no choice but to ban them altogether.

It used to be a part of the Balmain landscape you could bring dogs into most of the pubs around here, he said.

Panama papers malcolm turnbull named

PRIME Minister Malcolm Turnbull has dismissed reports about his involvement with a company named in the Panama Papers, saying there was “no suggestion of any impropriety”.

It has emerged Mr Turnbull was a former director of a company incorporated by embattled law firm Mossack Fonseca in the 1990s.

Mr Turnbull fronted media on Thursday morning and was asked whether he was happy to be named in the files.

There is no suggestion of any impropriety whatsoever, he told reporters.

There is nothing new there. The company concerned was a wholly owned subsidiary of a public listed Australian company.

He said he was director of the ASX listed company, along with (former NSW premier) Neville Wran, for about two years.

The involvement is very, very well known and as the article acknowledges, theres no suggestion of any impropriety at all.

He later said that if the company had made any profit, which it did not, it would certainly have paid tax in Australia.

Obviously you havent studied the accounts of the company concerned.

Earlier, a spokesman for Mr Turnbull told Fairfax the Prime Minister was not aware the company had been incorporated by Mossack Fonseca as the registered agent in Road Town, Tortola.

Mr Turnbull was a former director of a British Virgin Islands company administered by Mossack Fonesca.

He joined the board of Star Mining NL with former NSW Premier Neville Wran in 1993, but both resigned two years later.

There is no suggestion Mr Turnbull had acted improperly.

The news comes as Federal Police will today make a court application to access records related to the James Ashby affair in a move that could derail the PMs campaign.

The Panama Papers are leaked records from Mossack Fonseca which provide a rare insight into the legal practice used to move money to decrease tax burdens.

The link to the PM sparked a call from international corporate watchdog SumofUs for Mr Turnbull to release his tax returns, with the group launching a petition for him to come clean.

The news linking Mr Turnbull to the scandal comes just two days after the Panamanian law firm at the centre of the huge trove of leaked documents detailing offshore financial dealings says it will take legal action against an international consortium of journalists.

The Mossack Fonseca firm said in statement that it had asked the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists to stop publishing information from the documents that it has said were obtained through a computer hack.

Earlier this week, the consortium published information about some 200,000 offshore entities in a searchable database.

It said that did not imply all those mentioned violated the law.

The firm says that in addition to being obtained illegally, the data is full of errors.

The consortium has published a number of stories detailing how world leaders, celebrities and businesses use such entities to hide money.