Animal Welfare Amendment Bill 2014 No. 42

Read into Hansard on Wednesday 3rd June 2015

ANIMAL WELFARE AMENDMENT BILL 2014 (No. 42)

Second Reading

[4.45 p.m.]

Mr VALENTINE (Hobart) – Mr President, it certainly raised a question for me with regard to the banning on the import whether this is federal government territory. I was more concerned about whether there are acts of parliament that cover some of this and whether we are getting into that territory. I do not want to reignite the same-sex marriage debate here because there are all sorts of things that we can say we are able to put laws in place for even though the federal government has a current law. It would be interesting to know what the federal laws are in regard to these sorts of things. If they can put a ban on them, then it might actually be covered under law.

In regard to the regulations, I can understand the member for Rumney’s point of view in some part. When you put regulations in place – for instance, for planning matters – they are now starting to use performance-based measures in planning schemes rather than metrics. I can see what he is getting at. I just do not know whether we can apply the same type of approach to legislation like this. It would certainly be interesting to explore this further.

As for swearing and sheep, I do not know whether the member for Montgomery saw Media Watch on Monday night; it dispelled that rumour quite well. It was a media beat-up. It certainly was not just about swearing at sheep. Nevertheless, I understand how some people might think that animal liberationists can go too far.

There was mention of rodeos. I certainly have an issue with animals being used in rodeos because to put a belt around an animal’s middle to make it buck and rear just for human excitement is not right, to my mind. But we are not –

Mr Dean – I am just going to comment on the swearing at the sheep. Did you read the article in the paper the other day about the people who are concerned about cows being milked and that the milk should be there for the calf only?

Mr VALENTINE – No, I did not read that. I would need more information on that. I see some benefit in this bill. On the issue of pronged collars, what is being stated is that it can actually help in controlling an animal and help to train it. Is it any worse than lying on a bed of nails? I do not know. All I can say is, I would not want a pronged collar on, especially if my wife is on the other end of it pulling it saying, ‘Come and do this’. It would be the last thing I would want. I think I would go for the bed of nails. I will not go any further there.

Nevertheless, there are some good changes being brought in. There are some questions about whether regulation is the way to do it rather than through other means. We are not looking here at taking the regulations out, we are looking at strengthening the penalties. We look at people and organisations like the RSPCA and ask whether they are going too far here, but I am sure they have seen many shocking things in their time.

What might seem to be going a bit too far for us might indeed be well demonstrated by them that these issues need to be addressed. A number of members have said there is further discussion required on certain aspects. If we put this legislation in place, that discussion can still occur and further amendments can be made to the bill, if necessary, in the future.

In Committee

Clause 10 – Section 12 amended (Traps)

Mr VALENTINE – I understand there has been a lot of thought put into this to make sure there is consistency throughout the bill, and that is important. Whether they are higher than other jurisdictions or otherwise, we have to trust those who designed these penalty levels, if they have done it consistently. The concern I have is about consistency across the penalties in all the bills we deal with here. The penalty for having a rabbit trap in your possession – how does that equate to a penalty for stealing? It seems that 100 penalty units is a heck of a lot. I need clarification that there has been some effort to look at relativity – that is what I am interested in.

Mr MULDER – Since I was the one who threw this spanner into the works, the issue raised, which I do not think was properly addressed, was the one from the member for Hobart in relation to the relativities.  There was some attempt by me in the early part to ask what the relativities were in other jurisdictions.  What the Leader said was – and she always looks at me very carefully when I propose to quote her – that they had looked at the penalties, they have decided there are about four classes of penalties and then they have applied a standard formula across those penalties to arrive at them.  That is really good.  The fundamental question is, what are the subjective judgments you are making about the data that you feed into the model?  I have no doubt about the model working, but when it produces a $15 000 fine for using a dog collar then I have to say we have to be careful about what they are putting in.

Clause 10 agreed to.

Clause 17 agreed to and bill taken through the remainder of the Committee stage.

Read the full debate here