• 12/08/2015: Adjournment speech on animal research in NSW

    Although the Animal Research Act of New South Wales stipulates that all animal research should be based on the three R’s—reduction, replacement and refinement—in theory it aims at minimising the use of animals in research.

    However, animal testing has created a multibillion dollar industry, encompassing the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, and university and government bodies. There is also a significant industry that manufactures cages and restraints. Humane Research Australia has identified that the trend over the past decade has been an increase rather than a decrease in animal testing. In 2013, in New South Wales 2,699,532 animals were used for research including more than 2,000 cats and dogs and 272,000 sheep. Of these, 0.53 per cent were in the “death as end point” category. The aim of experiments in this category requires the animals to die unassisted—that is, not euthanized, as death is “a critical measure of the experimental treatment”

    Read the full speech HERE

  • 04/02/2015: Adjournment speech on homelessness

    With my previous experience in the mental health and community service sectors it is clear that the two major causes of homelessness are mental illness and domestic violence.

    I raise the issue of homelessness in New South Wales as again the root causes and underpinnings of our society are being ignored. 2½ blocks from this Parliament several people are living in a terrible situation one block behind the courthouses where their walls are blankets and their protection is old doonas and filthy clothes. They are living in impoverished conditions right under our watch.

    Read the full speech HERE

  • 02/06/2015: My debate speech in opposition to the selling off of the poles and wires

    The Animal Justice Party opposes the Electricity Network Assets Authorised Transactions Bill 2015 and Electricity Retained Interest Corporations Bill 2015. We oppose these bills because the essentials of life—energy, water and air—should be always kept under the Government’s watch. The people of New South Wales have entrusted the Government to ensure that their health, warmth and access to the necessities of life can be guaranteed and in no way compromised, threatened or placed in danger through privatisation. With privatisation, a whole series of elements and issues come into the equation.

    Private companies will always only want to make a profit and flourish. There are many examples where that has happened at the expense of the public. For example, following the privatisation of electricity in Victoria those companies are facing very serious offences in the courts because their cost-cutting measures and cost-saving methods were important factors in causing some of the Victorian fires where people were burnt to death. This happened because those private companies were not interested in ensuring that the ethical standards required of government to provide essential environmental safeguards were not thwarted in any way.

    Another issue of concern in the current landscape is that we must move away from fossil fuels. This may be necessitated through important, intelligent and visionary government policies. No private company will adopt a policy to move away from fossil fuels while they remain the cheapest. Filthy, dirty energy causes enormous impacts on the environment and on human health. Indeed, the very nature of fossil fuel sourcing is deleterious to the environment, to human health and to animal wellbeing and welfare through poisoning of water, through the destruction of habitat and through adverse impacts on the environment in which they live. The Animal Justice Party opposes the bills on those grounds.

    Read the full speech HERE

  • 26/05/2015: Adjournment speech on Animal Welfare

    My first adjournment speech addressing the concerns around the memorandum of understanding between the NSW Liberal-Nationals Government and the NSW Farmers Association states which agrees that they will not uphold and adhere to the mandatory standards for animal welfare, particularly for farm animals

    Read the full speech HERE

  • 17/11/2015: Question Without Notice, Koala Park Sanctuary

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: I direct my question to the Minister for Primary Industries, and Minister for Lands and Water. Earlier this month the Koala Park Sanctuary in Sydney pleaded guilty to and was convicted of three charges under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act for failure to provide veterinary treatment to emaciated koalas. The sanctuary had also previously been found to have breached the general standards for exhibited animals. Given this conviction and proven breaches of the standards, why has the departmental secretary not exercised his authority under section 30 (1) (a) of the Exhibited Animals Protection Act to cancel the park’s licence?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: I thank the honourable member for his question. Koala Park Sanctuary has entered a plea of guilty to three charges of failing to provide veterinary treatment to five koalas in its care. The charges were laid by the RSPCA under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979. The failure to provide veterinary treatment related to the failure to investigate emaciated body condition and eye complaints, and the failure to provide treatment for dehydration and chlamydia infections.

    The matter has been adjourned to 2 February 2016 at Parramatta Local Court for sentence. In addition to the proceedings initiated by the RSPCA under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, the Department of Primary Industries has issued the Koala Park Sanctuary with seven directions with regard to koalas and other animals in the park. The directions issued include keeping animals’ records up to date, fixing fences of enclosures, providing adequate shelter, removing debris within enclosures and providing adequate veterinary treatment for the koalas.

    The park has recently been criticised in the Sydney press and in a United Kingdom [UK] media article. The UK article raised several concerns. Some of these relate to the appearance of the facility and the perceived value for money of the entry fee. These are matters for prospective attendees to make up their own mind about. While some of the journalist’s conclusions about the state of the animals clearly are not an expert’s opinion, the article and supporting photographs suggest some animals are not in good condition and that a number of management standards are not being followed. The department will continue to work with the Koala Park Sanctuary to ensure compliance. It should be noted that a conviction under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act is a ground for suspension or cancellation of an exhibitor’s authority, and the department is mindful of this in its dealings with Koala Park Sanctuary.

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: I ask a supplementary question. Will the Minister elucidate as to why the mindfulness has not moved to the cancellation of the Koala Park Sanctuary’s licence?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: As I said, the matter has been adjourned until 2 February 2016 at Parramatta Local Court for sentence. The department will continue to work with the park to ensure compliance. Also as I noted, a conviction under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act is grounds for suspension or cancellation. I suspect that we will know more about this matter once it has returned to court.

    Watch the video below.

    Hansard link – https://www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/prod/parlment/hansart.nsf/V3Key/LC20151117039?open&refNavID=HA8_1

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