• Notice of Motion to commemorate William Shakespeare and his work

    On Tuesday the 9th of August I gave a Notice of Motion to not only commemorate William Shakespeare’s work but to acknowledge his bravery in questioning the morals and ethics of the society his was witness to, certainly a thinker ahead of his time. The particular piece that I quoted tells the story of hare being hunted, a fitting story given the systemic live baiting of the greyhound industry still today in 2016.

    That this House:

    (a) commemorates William Shakespeare’s death four hundred years ago, which was certainly only the shedding of the genius’ mortal coil;

    (b) notes that his brilliant and unparalleled crafting of words and rhyme through drama, poetry and song will live on forever;

    (c) acknowledges that he was a wordsmith whose oeuvres very few artists have ventured anywhere near and not one has surpassed;

    (d) acknowledges that through the instrument of his art, humankind has enjoyed insights and revelations into its own complex being and indeed all of the mysteries of nature, including the voiceless, that is, but only to our recognised tongues, animals; and

    (e) notes that this great man gripped his quill to reveal the plight of a hunted hare, the words forthwith so apt for a controvert nigh before this House:

    And when thou hast on foot the purblind hare,

    Mark the poor wretch, to overshoot his troubles

    How he outruns the wind and with what care

    He cranks and crosses with a thousand doubles:

    The many musets through the which he goes

    Are like a labyrinth to amaze his foes.

    Sometime he runs among a flock of sheep.

    To make the cunning hounds mistake their smell,

    And sometime where earth-delving conies keep,

    To stop the loud pursuers in their yell,

    And sometime sorteth with a herd of deer:

    Danger deviseth shifts; wit waits on fear:

    For there his smell with others being mingled,

    The hot scent-snuffing hounds are driven to doubt,

    Ceasing their clamorous cry till they have singled

    With much ado the cold fault cleanly out;

    Then do they spend their mouths: Echo replies,

    As if another chase were in the skies.

    By this, poor Wat, far off upon a hill,

    Stands on his hinder legs with listening ear,

    To hearken if his foes pursue him still:

    Anon their loud alarums he doth hear;

    And now his grief may be compared well

    To one sore sick that hears the passing-bell.

    Then shalt thou see the dew-bedabbled wretch

    Turn, and return, indenting with the way;

    Each envious brier his weary legs doth scratch,

    Each shadow makes him stop, each murmur stay:

    For misery is trodden on by many,

    And being low never relieved by any.

    mark-pearson-william-shakespheare-hunting-poem

  • Adjournment speech-marriage equality

    I speak tonight in support of marriage equality. Yesterday Senator Penny Wong delivered the Lionel Murphy Memorial Lecture in Canberra. During her speech, Senator Wong spoke about the abuse she receives as a gay woman and her fear of more abuse if the Federal Government’s planned plebiscite on same sex marriage goes ahead. Earlier today I and my Animal Justice Party colleagues went on the public record in support of marriage equality. This position is completely in line with the Animal Justice Party’s ethos of compassion, inclusiveness and a better life for all.
    As an openly gay parliamentarian, I am all too well aware of the pain and suffering experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people that Senator Wong spoke about so eloquently yesterday. I came out in a Catholic high school over 40 years ago. I have always had the support of my family. My father said, “You do what you want in your life, Son; as long as you do not cause harm to anyone.” And that instilled a confidence in me.
    Just as same sex marriage is unlawful now; so was same sex or homosexual intimacy and relationships four decades ago. In 1978 I joined friends from Newcastle and was one of the 78ers participating in the first Mardi Gras in Australia, which was a distressing but also celebratory experience. I was obviously quite young at 17. I was looking at the police as they were arresting people and putting them into paddy wagons. To one officer I said, “I think one day the police will actually march with us in this parade.” He said, “You might be bloody right, son, but you better get out of here or you will end up in that paddy wagon.” I departed and was free. Five years later, unfortunately two of my friends died from AIDS. Personally I am not that interested in the institution of marriage, but I believe that everyone should have the right to enjoy the institution if they so wish. If any two people seek to be married under any creed or institution, then that right must never be denied by any civilised society. This inclusive and respectful position would surely be natural to any compassionate and wise member of Parliament.

  • Question without notice-Kangaroo meat consumption

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries. Has the NSW Food Authority conducted a robust and detailed analysis on kangaroo meat sold for human consumption? If so, did this analysis test for E. coli, salmonellosis and other relevant contaminants as well as acetic acid, which make it delicious. If E. coli was detected was typing done for the specification of the E. coli? If no such analyses have been done, will the Minister authorise the appropriate testing to be conducted?

    The Hon. NIALL BLAIR: When it comes to food safety and the kangaroo meat industry the NSW Food Authority has an excellent record. About two trips ago when I visited the NSW Food Authority I ran into an inspector who had just returned from an inspection at a kangaroo meat facility. Indeed, when I was asked this question about the role of the NSW Food Authority and kangaroo meat it reminded me of that chance encounter. I am aware of media discussion regarding an ongoing campaign intended to bring attention to alleged cruelty in the kangaroo meat sector. I am also aware of claims, repeated in the media, that kangaroo meat contains pathogens that can be harmful to humans.
    First, let me say that as kangaroos are native fauna, the Office of Environment and Heritage manages the commercial harvesting program in New South Wales. This program is intended to ensure kangaroos are culled humanely and that kangaroo populations are sustainable. Requirements for the humane slaughter of kangaroos are specified in the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Commercial Purposes. This code of practice is prescribed as a condition of licence by the Office of Environment and Heritage. The risk that meat for consumption will come into contact with pathogenic organisms such as salmonella or E.coli is not a risk that is specific to kangaroo meat; this is a known risk factor for many types of meat and other food products.
    A key component of the role of the Food Authority is to work closely with industry in New South Wales, across all points of the supply chain to minimise the risks posed by such pathogens. For the kangaroo meat industry the Food Authority licenses kangaroo harvesters and processors in New South Wales and those facilities must be able to show traceability of product throughout the supply chain from harvest to the plate. All kangaroo game meat processed, manufactured or sold in New South Wales must comply with the Australian Standard for Hygienic Production of Game Meat for Human Consumption. The Food Authority also enforces established handling and storage requirements for kangaroo meat to further reduce any risks due to microorganisms. While the Food Authority has strict systems and requirements in place to ensure kangaroo meat is safe, it is important that all raw meats are cooked and stored at the correct temperature. This helps to reduce the presence of any microorganisms that may be present in the meat and to prevent microorganisms forming after it is cooked.
    Government authorities, including the Food Authority, also regularly inspect game meat processing facilities, field depots and harvesters—for example, the chance encounter I had with the inspector to which I referred earlier. The authority’s audit and inspection program ensures that kangaroo harvesters, chillers and processors comply with the food safety requirements set out in the specific food safety program that each business is required to have. The minimum inspection frequency varies for different types of facilities. Harvesters are inspected once every two years, chillers are inspected— [Time expired.]

    kangaroo-meat-trade-1

  • Question without notice- Antibiotic Resistance

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON: My question is directed to the Minister for Ageing, Minister for Disability Services, and Minister for Multiculturalism, representing the Minister for Health. My first question to the Minister is: With the Government’s current focus on biosecurity, what investigations have been undertaken to satisfy public health authorities that there will not be any further cases of antibiotic resistance in the general public similar to the Vancomycin-resistant enterococcus [VRE] of the early 2000s? Secondly, given that there were no health department investigations into the VRE cases at John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle and given the ongoing use of antibiotic-type substances such as coccidiostats in intensive farming of animals, will the Minister establish an inquiry into this use of antibiotic-type substances and the potential impacts on human health?
    The Hon. JOHN AJAKA (Minister for Ageing, Minister for Disability Services, and Minister for Multiculturalism): I thank the member for his question. It is clearly a detailed question, or questions. I will refer it to the Minister for Health and seek a detailed answer.

  • Lynda Stoner, NSW candidate for Federal Senate, and The Hon. Mark Pearson NSW MLC overwhelmingly support same-sex marriage

    MEDIA RELEASE

    Lynda Stoner, NSW candidate for Federal Senate, and The Hon. Mark Pearson NSW MLC overwhelmingly support same-sex marriage.

    Lynda Stoner, long standing supporter of the gay community, and Mark Pearson, elected member to the NSW Parliament and openly gay, have shared their shock and disappointment regarding comments made by Tony Hulbert, former Animal Justice Party candidate for Menzies (Victoria). Mr Hulbert’s point of view is completely opposed to the Animal Justice Party’s ethos of compassion, inclusiveness and a better life for all. As of this morning Mr Hulbert has officially resigned as a candidate, this is the best outcome in this situation.

    Mark Pearson has spoken strongly in support of marriage equality and LGBTI recognition and rights before being elected to the NSW Legislative Council and more recently as an elected member.

    Mark Pearson: “I have been openly gay since I came out in a Catholic High School over 40 years ago and ‘naturally’ gay since I was conceived.

    If any two people seek to be married under any creed or institution then that right must never be denied by any civilised society. This inclusive and respectful position would only be natural to a compassionate and wise candidate or member of parliament.”

    Lynda Stoner is a long-standing champion for animal rights and marriage equality, and as such is against discrimination and marginalisation of any kind. Lynda was one of the driving forces behind Animal Liberation’s participation in Sydney’s Mardi Gras. Animal Liberation has participated in this celebration of inclusivity for over a decade, with creative floats highlighting the suffering of animals and the diversity of the LGBTI community.

    Lynda Stoner: “For decades I have celebrated diversity in our communities and culture through art and activism. I will continue with that spirit of compassion and advocacy through the political system irrespective of what any ignorant candidate or member of any Party states.”

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