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Scoop: Leaked NSW Liberal Party letter by Michael Darby

Michael Darby

Michael Darby

No sooner had I published my previous post regarding the perplexing suspension of Michael Darby from the Liberal Party of Australia than a Party colleague inVictoria forwarded me an explosive 16 page document he said was leaked to him by a member of the New South Wales (NSW) State Executive.

He claimed that this document isa 16 pageletter by Michael Darby dated 25 June 2007sentto and received by”members of the State Executive” Liberal Party NSW.

If this letter is the real McCoy it raises many troubling issues regarding the treatment not only of Michael Darby, but ofthe whole Darby family by some members of the Party.

Here are somelarge portionsfrom this leaked document with some informationallinks and extra pics added by me …

Letter to State Executive members

Michael Darby
Federal Councillor, Liberal Party of Australia
Secretary, Joint Standing Committee on State Policy
PO Box 641, Mona Vale NSW 1660 0402 558 947 … 25 June 2007

Letter to members of the NSW State Executive

Dear Fellow Liberals

Some members of State Executive have made a point of never reading anything written by me. If you are in that category, I strongly recommend that you make an exception in this case.

I am attaching a copy of Annex A [copied below] to my letter of 7 December 2006 to the State Director, incorporating some minor amendments. The State Director ignored my request that he distribute a copy of this Annex to each member of State Executive.

If you had each read Annex A in December, then a great deal of State Executive’s time may have been saved.

At the May meeting of the NSW State Executive you would have noticed that I was called before the Executive to defend myself against an allegation which might lead to a two-year suspension, to find, on arrival, that a quite different allegation had been substituted.

You would then have noticed that instead of my receiving, as was proper in the circumstances, an apology and an assurance that all allegations were withdrawn, the outcome was merely that the hierarchy resolved to start the process again with the intention of suspending me for up to five years.

… Some of you may have been surprised that I should be subjected to hostile treatment which would never be directed against any other member of the Party.

Sadly, some of you expect and approve of the unfair treatment which I customarily receive.

As described above, a list of recruits prepared by me was dismissed as worthless.

My masterly 44-page critique of the Pittwater by-election loss was assessed as valueless.

Similarly my assessments of the 1999, 2004 and 2007 State campaigns.

Similarly the “Majority” Liberal campaigning textbook which I have been offering free to the NSW Division since 1998.

And, of course, any preselection dossier I might prepare is officially judged as not worth reading.

I was alerted to this last-mentioned fact in September 2006 when after a long wait I was granted an appointment to see then Liberal Leader Peter Debnam, with the aim of assisting his election prospects by tendering valuable advice.

Peter Debnam, Liberal Party Australia, NSW

Peter Debnam, Liberal Party Australia, NSW

Among many other matters, I stressed the importance of the Liberal Leader addressing linguistic minorities, and the benefit of delivering a component of the speech in the first language of the audience (John Brogden more than once did this in the Italian language, with positive results).

I offered to arrange a panel of language coaches for Mr Debnam, to prepare him for brief remarks in any nominated language, and I offered to handle the Chinese language personally.

Peter Debnam expressed surprise at my ability to speak Chinese. I replied “So you campaigned against me without ever reading my dossier?”

Peter Debnam freely admitted that this was so.



I then understood that the long-established anti-Darby sub-routine contained within NSW Liberal Party culture among other things officially discourages the reading of anything produced by a member of the Darby family.

This understanding explains a strange event in 2000.

In that year the President [of the Liberal Party NSW], with much fanfare, announced Project 2000, which was touted to revitalise the Division. Under the leadership of Brendan Nelson MP,forms were distributed so that members could list all their capabilities and describe their willingness to perform tasks for the Party.


Brendan Nelson, Liberal Party Australia

Brendan Nelson, Liberal Party Australia

On a subsequent visit to the office of Brendan Nelson MP I noticed a large pile of papers, and was informed by Rhondda Vanzella that these were the completed Project 2000 forms. Rhondda said “They have been sitting there for months because I cannot type. I am a big picture person.”

I offered to keyboard the data from the forms, and around three weeks later I returned to Rhondda the forms and a disk containing all the data …

Months later, a member of the Party expressed disappointment at having received no response after filling out a Project 2000 form. I attempted in vain to locate someone, anyone, who had received a response, and I reluctantly reached the conclusion that Project 2000 had disappeared without trace.

… On 12 April 2007 I was invited by the NSW Secretariat to submit a biography for Federal Council, to be held on 1-3 June. I replied the same day as follows:

Mr Michael Darby
NSW Joint Standing Committee on State Policy;
member for four years and now Secretary
Federal Council Delegate for three years
Former chairman of NSW Convention Committee and former member of NSW State Executive
Former Federal Conference President and currently Branch President
Former Chairman, NSW Defence and Foreign Affairs Committee
Liberal candidate: Werriwa 1974, NSW Legislative Council 2003, Senate 2004
Chinese interpreter; former army officer and former public company chairman
Contractor to the mining industry since 1988.

The printed handbook for Federal Council took no account of the biography submitted by me.

Returning to the May State Executive meeting, you may not then have known that the Nomination Review Committee (Rhondda Vanzella and Senator Bill Heffernan) had resolved that I was not a fit and proper person to stand as a candidate for preselection for the Senate.

 Senator Bill Heffernan

Senator Bill Heffernan

I have since been advised that at the April 2007 State Executive Meeting, Senator Bill Heffernan moved that Senator Helen Coonan and Senator Marise Payne be confirmed and endorsed in positions one and three respectively on the Coalition Senate ticket without a preselection being held.

Helen Coonan, Liberal Party Australia

Helen Coonan, Liberal Party Australia

Marise Payne

Marise Payne

I understand that Rhondda Vanzella seconded the motion. I further understand that some members of State Executive declared that the motion was unconstitutional.

It has further been claimed that Rhondda Vanzella asserted that the motion should be voted upon, and that she would write down the names of members of Executive voting against the motion in order to present the list to the Prime Minister.

The Motion was either not put or defeated.

Had I been aware that Rhondda Vanzella and Senator Bill Heffernan had expressed at an Executive meeting their partisan support for two particular candidates and had attempted to cancel or compromise the preselection process, then I would have declined to appear before any
Nomination Review Committee in which either person was a participant.

I was in 2002 accepted as a candidate for the Legislative Council preselection and endorsed for the 2003 State Election as a member of the Coalition’s Legislative Council team.

I was accepted in 2004 as a candidate for the Senate preselection and endorsed for the 2004 Federal Election as a member of the Coalition’s Senate team.

I am unaware of any complaints about my conduct in either of those campaigns, and certainly no such complaint was raised with me at the Nomination Review Committee.

There has been no material change in my circumstances since 2003/2004; no AVOs, no criminal charges, no affairs with ALP ministers of any gender.

The evidence strongly suggests that decision to exclude me bore no relationship to any shortcoming on my part, but related to matters which the Nomination Review Committee is not entitled to take into account, specifically an intention to favour certain candidates.

This is scandalous and undemocratic, and constitutes yet another example of the anti-Darby component of Liberal Party culture, which holds that any expression of unfairness towards a member of the Darby family will always be condoned and approved.

On April 24 the State Director wrote to me a letter which I received on 2 May 2007, telling me that my nomination had been rejected by the Nomination Review Committee.

I sent an email to the State Director asking that he refer the decision of the nomination review committee to State Executive. The State Director declined, claiming that my request was out of time.

I responded, explaining carefully why the State Director was in error.

The State Director did not reply, so therefore did not rule on this important matter regarding my rights.

Rather than wait any longer for the State Director to make a ruling, on 7 June 2007 I prepared an application to the Disputes Panel, and emailed this to the State Director and State President, asking that they forward the document without delay. This request has apparently been ignored.

There now seems little prospect that I shall appear before the Senate Selection Committee on 30 June 2007.

… My earnest belief is that the Coalition cannot win the vital third spot if number three on the ticket is Senator Marise Payne.

The reason is the critical need for maximum preference support from Family First, the Christian Democrats and (possibly) Pauline’s United Australia Party.

Those preferences will simply not be forthcoming from minor parties whose memberships are well aware that their views on important issues are scorned by Marise Payne.

Late in May Latisha Wenlock advised me that the State Director was about to write a letter to me.

On or before 7 June I telephoned Miss Wenlock and told her I had not received the letter. She confirmed with me that my address is listed in Party records as [ …. ].

Miss Wenlock emailed the letter to me, but without attachments. Moreover, the letter as emailed to me bore the wrong address.

I sent on 7 June an email to the State Director advising him that his letter of 23 June had been sent to the wrong address. This was ignored, and the attachments have still not been sent to me.

In my email of 7 June (also addressed to the President), I reminded the State Director that he should put my representation before the Disputes Panel without delay.

The apparent refusal of the State Director to forward my representation to the Disputes Panel is a further example of the unfair treatment which I have long been accustomed to receiving from the Liberal Party.

Here is another example.

Some candidates for preselection in Cook contacted me, describing me a as a preselector. I wrote to the State Director asking for details of the preselection. My communication was ignored, and I have been advised by a candidate that I have been removed as a preselector.

Current members of the State Executive have been coached in the anti-Darby culture of the Party by individuals who themselves cannot justify the unfairness and hostility.

So you all deserve to learn the background.

For the 1962 NSW Election the Liberal Party disendorsed four sitting members in retaliation for their opposition to poker machines.

The disendorsements were personally organised by a senior Liberal whose name I have not publicly revealed, so I’ll just refer to him as Rasputin.

All four of the disendorsed Liberals stood as independents, but only my father, Douglas Darby, was successful.

He won again against a Liberal Party challenger in 1965 and was invited to rejoin the Party.

Rasputin never forgave him for beating the Liberal Party and ensured that Douglas was never considered for the front bench.

In 1974 I gave up my military career to run against EG Whitlam in Werriwa.

Gough Whitlam, Australian Labor Party

Gough Whitlam, Australian Labor Party

In the course of the campaign my family recruited more than 300 new party members in Werriwa and formed a dozen branches.

This exemplary Liberal campaigning deserved maximum praise from the Liberal Party, but resulted in a vicious response from Rasputin, who falsely put about the story that the Darby family, if not stopped, would take over the Party.

In October 1974 the Bulletin ran a story highly defamatory of me, accusing me of running a private army.

Then Attorney-General Lionel Murphy reported to the Senate that ASIO had investigated the allegation and found that it had no substance whatever.

Kerry Packer invited me to his office in April 1975 and said “(Rasputin) sold us a bill of goods.”

The late Kerry Packer, Australian billionaire businessman

The late Kerry Packer, Australian billionaire businessman

Packer gave me $10,000, which I spent in the course of the next several days caring for orphans in Saigon while the city was falling to the North Vietnamese Army.

Later an editor of the Bulletin confirmed that Rasputin had furnished Bulletin journalist Peter Samuel with fake documents purportedly signed by me.

In 1977, with support from the late Hon Jim Cameron and from tax reformer Richard Tanner I produced a comprehensive Draft Platform for the NSW Liberal Party.

Almost every aspect of my Draft Platform was accepted by the Liberal Party under the leadership of Nick Greiner or (at the latest) under the leadership of Kerry Chikarovski, but in 1977 Rasputin arranged for my work to be disregarded and dismissed as “extremist” or worse.

In 1979 I was successfully writing editorials for John Laws on 2UE.

John Laws, popular Australian talkback host

John Laws, popular Australian talkback host

At the request of Rasputin, I was summarily dismissed by 2UE management without John Laws being informed.

Also in 1979 the Australian defamed me in an article written by Robert Darroch based on false information supplied by Rasputin.

It seemed to me that I could not earn a living in Sydney and I moved to Queensland.

Software pioneer Colin Hoschke appointed me Queensland Manager of Datec. Within a couple of weeks Colin was warned that with me in the job he would get no government business. Rasputin again.

Former NSW Opposition Leader Bruce McDonald appointed me to a senior marketing position in South Australia’s Horwood Bagshaw Limited, where I earned a great deal of praise.

Larry Adler took over the company and ordered Bruce to sack me. The influence of Rasputin was persistent and seemingly ubiquitous.

I returned to NSW from Queensland and rejoined the Liberal Party in 1998, to find myself and my family members still the victims of ancient hostilities generated by Rasputin.

Evidence of this included the stream of hostile media leaks from Liberal Party sources to which I was subjected while I was a prospective Liberal candidate for Manly.

The above list of affronts against me by the Liberal hierarchy is by no means exhaustive, and I have not even mentioned various affronts committed against other members of the Darby family.

State Executive now should bury permanently the wholly unjustified anti-Darby culture and instead welcome the talent, energy and loyalty consistently demonstrated by me and by others whose surname is Darby.

Yours in Liberalism

Michael Darby

And below is Annex A which examines and disputes the legal basis of the Liberal Party decision to suspend Michael Darby

To Michael Darby’s letter of 7 December 2006 to the State Director
(amended 15 June 07)


In the absence of compelling evidence to the contrary, the “Media Protocol” is ultra vires.

The reason is that to the best of my knowledge and belief the Constitution makes no mention of a “Media Protocol”.

There exists in the Constitution a reference to a mandatory code of conduct, but there is no indication of any power having been given to the Executive to construe a “Media Protocol” as a mandatory code of conduct.

In any event State Executive seems to have made no effort to describe the “Media Protocol” as a mandatory code of conduct.

The “Media Protocol” begins with the sentence “No public statements, either oral or written, can be made by Party members in relation to Party matters unless they are authorised by the State Director.”

This is curious, because no State Director, given the power to monopolise public statements, will ever share that power. There is little purpose in suggesting that any public statement made by me should be authorised by the State Director, since we are both aware that no authorisation would ever be given.

I have no problem with the concept of sanctions against persons who undertake activities, including provision of comment to the media, with the intention and effect of harming the Liberal Party.

For example, sanctions may be appropriate for the several individuals, including as I recall at least two Parliamentarians, who maliciously alleged to the media that the political demise of John Brogden was brought about by members of the Liberal Party.

The falsity of that allegation has been underlined by the refusal of the hierarchy to establish an Inquiry to determine whether any person in the Liberal Party did harm to John Brogden.

The Constitution of The Liberal Party Of Australia (New South Wales Division) as adopted by State Council on 22 July 2000, and as amended by State Council on 21 July 2001, 8 December 2001, 23 June 2002, 18 October 2003, 11 December 2004, 8 April 2006 and 21 October 2006, provides, at 3.10.1, that:

State Executive may suspend the membership of a Member on the following grounds:

(1) that State Executive has resolved that a Member’s conduct is unsatisfactory conduct as a member of the Division; or

(2) that State Executive has resolved that a Member’s conduct is misconduct as a member of the Division.

In the terms of 3.10.3 (1) and 3.10.3 (1), State Executive may suspend a Member’s membership for up to 2 years under clause 3.10.1(1) and for up to five years under clause 3.10.1(1)

Liberals might reasonably expect that “unsatisfactory conduct” and “misconduct” as cited in the successive clauses of 3.10.1 are terms which provide ample scope for dealing with activities involving comment to the media with the intention and effect of harming the Liberal Party.

Since no act on my part could reasonably be construed as having either the intention or effect of harming the Liberal Party, State Executive has not accused me of “misconduct”, nor even of “unsatisfactory conduct”.

State Executive has instead required the State Director to accuse me of
breaching a “media protocol”.

In explaining what type of conduct may lead to suspension, 3.10.2 lists three examples:

(1) Unsatisfactory conduct as a Member includes conduct either by an act or omission, which involves conduct which falls short of the standard of conduct that a Member of the Division is entitled to expect from a reasonable Member.

(2) Misconduct as a Member includes conduct either by an act or omission, which involves a substantial or consistent failure to reach a reasonable standard of conduct as a Member

(3) A breach of a mandatory code of conduct may be either unsatisfactory conduct or misconduct.

In requiring the State Director to accuse me of breaching a “media protocol”, State Executive is presumably relying upon 3.10.2(3), and since I have been warned of a potential period of expulsion not exceeding five (rather than two) years, I deduce that State Executive is purporting to
accuse me of misconduct in breaching a “mandatory code of conduct”.

The problem with this approach is that the Constitution (as far as I am aware) nowhere defines a “mandatory code of conduct”.

I am unaware of any reason why the “Media Protocol” deserves to be construed as a “mandatory code of conduct”. I have seen a draft code of conduct.

Hon Tony Abbott MP has publicly stated that the Liberal Party has a code of conduct, although his instruction to his staff to furnish a copy brought no result.

If a “code of conduct”, mandatory or otherwise, has been approved, then it should be distributed to all members.

By all logic, if State Executive felt that action was warranted against certain participants in the 17 July 2006 TV program, then State Executive should have acted under the easily understandable and readily available provisions of 3.10.1(1) or 3.10.1(2).

Instead, State Executive has attempted to stretch the meaning of 3.10.2(3) in an effort to impose a period of suspension with the high maximum limit of five years, for an alleged breach which has no relationship to any harm done to the Party.

Moreover, State Executive is cutting off its option to impose differential penalties in proportion to perceived degrees of harm inflicted on the Liberal Party by media appearances.

What is the reason for this strange action by the State Executive? I can only imagine two possible reasons:

1. A member of State Executive, with a determination to inflict harm upon me, has realised that action against me under 3.10.1(1) or 3.10.1(2) cannot in any circumstances be justified, so has worked to convince fellow Executive members to follow an inappropriate course of action in relying on 3.10.2, or:

2. A member of State Executive, with the aim of ensuring that all the participants in the Four Corners program will escape being disciplined, has steered State Executive into acting inappropriately by relying on 3.10.2.

If even only a small portion of the above is correct and if it reflects at allon the current leadership of the state divisionsof the Partythis could help explain why the Liberal Party has been getting slaughtered in every state of Australia.

To be continued …

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  1. Why you & Darby stay with the national socialist Liberal party is beyond me. They are obviously embarassed of you and they have absolutely no commitment to individual liberty or free-markets.

    I know you approve of their expensive government foreign-aid spending program in Iraq… but besides that issue you have no excuse to be in that party.

    Especially when there is a new political party out there that is philosophically commitment to small government, individual liberty and free markets.

    You & Michael should join the Liberal Democratic Party and help us prepare for the upcoming election. Why be on the side of socialism when you can be on the side of capitalism?

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  2. John, I think Michael Darby is actually quite at home in the Liberal Party, he’s just not that sellable, not a ‘peoples’ man and perhaps too intelligent for his own good. But he is a progressive conservative who does ‘believe in the inalienable rights and freedoms of all peoples; and we work towards a lean government that minimises interference in our daily lives; and maximises individual and private sector initiative.’, as the Liberal Party claim to do but don’t.

    I spoke with him late last year at Queenslanders for a Constitutional Monarchy (I’m definitely not a monarchist). Entertaining and erudite fellow.

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  3. Thanks John for your comment.

    – – – – – –
    Why you & Darby stay with the national socialist Liberal party is beyond me. They are obviously embarassed of you and they have absolutely no commitment to individual liberty or free-markets.
    – – – – – –

    Well … within the Party there are actually many dedicated free market supporters.

    Also, I have many friends within the Party who are not “embarassed” by what I stand for and who enjoy my unconventional way of doing things.

    One of the other thing that keeps me in the Liberal Party is that the mix of people and ideas across it’s reflects the sort of mix that is found across the general community.

    – – – – – –
    I know you approve of their expensive government foreign-aid spending program in Iraq

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  4. Greetings Michael Sutcliffe,

    You wrote to John Humphreys …

    – – – – –
    John, I think Michael Darby is actually quite at home in the Liberal Party, he

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  5. Can I start by saying 1. I like Michael, he’s a good bloke. 2. I haven’t read your posts or what the ‘throwing out’ issue is all about. I will get around to this.

    Do you mean

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  6. Good evening from the USA Michael.

    Thanks for your reply …

    – – – – –
    Can I start by saying 1. I like Michael, he

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  7. Ralph Buttigieg

    June 29, 2007 at 11:35 pm


    Prodos, whatever you do please stay in the Liberal Party. The major parties need people like yourself there. A minor party like the LDP is a waste of time, at best they might fluke a senate seat but have no chance of forming government. I much rather see libertarians like yourself in a major party then were they can do some good.



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  8. Do you actually think the Liberal Party will ever form a truly pro-freedom government (i.e. a libertarian government) in contrast to conservative big government? Consider gay marriage, drugs, guns, the monarchy, stem cell research (I know Howard says it’s a personal issue), leaving power devolved to the lowest level (eg the states), smokers, even letting people have true control over their own property. Can they ever move away from their conservative interventionist stance on these issues? While there has been some great tax cutting do you think they can ever move away from being a high taxing, big spending government?

    I’d actually say maybe, but I’m not overly confident. I hate lefties and I sway towards conservative so I’m not unhappy when the Liberal Party forces my personal biases on others. I’m a family man, so the tax cuts and handouts given to families go into my pocket. I’m even doing a half day on a polling booth for them at the election. The government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul. In this instance I’m ‘Paul’ but I know rationally that it’s not the best government we could have.

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  9. Replying to Michael Sutcliffe:

    – – – –
    Then take up John

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  10. I feel a strong sense of dedication and loyalty to the Liberal Party.

    So does Michael Darby. And he’s given a lifetime of service. Don’t mean to be negative, just pointing out the obvious.

    I have an ongoing interest in the Liberal Party as well, although I consider myself pretty much libertarian on every issue.

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  11. Greetings to Prodos
    I won’t seek to correct any of Michael Sutcliffe’s opinions, but I am obliged to correct errors.
    I don’t have a bad back.
    I don’t use a walking cane and I cannot remember ever having used a walking cane.
    Kind regards
    Michael Darby

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  12. Good evening Michael Darby.

    Thanks for your comment/correction.

    Michael Sutcliffe wrote: “… A certain demographic quite obviously love him and are charmed by him …”

    I certainly consider myself part of that “demographic”!

    Over the years that I’ve known Michael Darby and had the pleasure to work with him occasionally, I’ve found him to be an outstanding Australian.

    The Liberal Party’s NSW Division should be embracing this man – his depth of understanding of practical Classical Liberal ideals, his incredibly broad experience in dealing with people from all walks of life, his integrity and energy. The Party should not be spending its resources callously making this man’s life Hell at every turn!

    To suspend Michael Darby from the Party is to suspend all policital wisdom! And it reveals a deep malaise within the mind and soul of the Party today!

    Is it any wonder that we’re getting slaughtered by the electorate when we slaughter the very individuals who best embody the freedom loving character of this nation’s good citizens?!

    It is unjust, it’s bloody stupid, and it’s bad politics!

    Best Wishes.

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  13. Michael, I’ve seen you with a walking cane. I will admit I made the assumption on the bad back due to the fact you looked like you were really using the cane. In fact, I have no doubt that at least at that time you were using the cane.

    I suppose it’s a little rude to discuss someone quite critically on a public forum when it’s someone who’s values you agree with and admire. But I’m sure you’ve had worse!

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  14. And I have to ask: is it a Whippet or an Italian Greyhound?

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  15. Thanks Michael Sutcliffe for your comments and for being considerate towards Michael Darby.

    I’ll try to find out about the canine for you. :)

    Best Wishes.

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  16. Dear Prodos
    I greatly appreciate the kind remarks exchanged between you and Michael Sutcliffe, and (20 Dec 2008) I wish each of you and your respective loved ones all the blessings of Christmas. I am pleased to have an association with Whippets. The Italian Greyhound is a smaller animal. I still cannot remember ever having used a walking cane. I suffer post-Rugby arthritis in numerous places but the bad back receded decades ago.
    Kindest regards

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  17. Replying to Michael Darby ….

    Thanks Michael.

    Wishing you success and happiness for 2009. :-)

    Best Wishes,


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