• NOTICE OF MOTION TO AMEND THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS ACT 1979

    3rd June 2015

    Notice of motion.

    That leave be given to bring in a bill for an Act to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 to impose certain requirements relating to the operation of abattoirs and intensive livestock keeping facilities for the purposes of ensuring the humane treatment of stock animals.

  • Time to stop the greyhound industry

    MARK PEARSON OPPOSES THE BETTING TAX LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2015

    18th November 2015

    Second read speech.

    BETTING TAX LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2015

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [12.51 p.m.]: The Animal Justice Party will be opposing the Betting Tax Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 for the same reasons that have been endorsed and described in detail by the Shooters and Fishers Party and The Greens. The passage of this bill will mean that we continue to be captured by an industry that is fundamentally flawed and has systemic problems of abuse of human rights, protections and dignity, and those of animals. Each day in Parliament members say that they are here to stand up for the welfare of the people of New South Wales and Australia. The industry of gambling captures and destroys the lives of many people and also destroys the lives of their families and friends.

    It came as a great shock earlier this year when it was discovered that there was not just one bad apple in the greyhound industry. The commission of inquiry into the greyhound industry has shown that live baiting and other brutal, appalling treatments of rabbits, possums, cats and piglets are systemic. It is not just one bad apple, one bad operator or one bad training track; it is systemic. It is a cart of rotten apples. This Government and members of this House should not be captured by an industry that uses animals in racing, because ultimately it is an industry that is all about abuse: abuse of the people who bet and of their families and friends; abuse of society; and abuse of the silent ones, the millions of animals through time that have suffered appallingly within this industry. For these reasons, the Animal Justice Party cannot support this bill. I indicate that if the bill passes the second reading I will be proposing to move an amendment at the Committee stage.


    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [4.21 p.m.]: I move Animal Justice Party amendment No. 1 on sheet C2015-172A.

    No. 1  Tax Reduction Trust Fund

    Page 6, schedule 2 [2], proposed section 70A. Insert after line 22:

    (4)      Despite subsection (3), no amounts are to be paid out of the Fund until after the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in New South Wales has reported to the Governor.

    This amendment is fairly straightforward. It pertains to subsection (3) of section 70A of the Betting Tax Legislation Amendment Bill 2015, which states:

    (3)     The following amounts may be paid out of the Fund, subject to any requirements specified in the regulations:

    (a)     such amounts as the Minister directs to be paid from the Fund to Greyhound Racing New South Wales.

    The reason the Animal Justice Party moved this amendment is clear. The special commission of inquiry into the greyhound industry has been on foot for some time. The evidence coming forth from that inquiry is extremely disturbing and confirms a lot of the evidence that was procured over the past 18 months about the extreme brutalities and systemic cruelty not only to dogs but also to many other small animals in the greyhound racing industry. Live baiting is systemic to this industry. The maltreatment of greyhounds and the death of thousands of greyhounds is a necessary component to the greyhound industry.

    Putting those issues aside, I call upon members to vote for this amendment because it is a logical amendment that does not allow any funds to be given to Greyhound Racing NSW after the report of the special commission of inquiry into greyhound racing has been sent to the Governor, which will be after the debate and subsequent considerations have been put in place. This industry is under serious question. Most communities around Australia are suspicious that there is a sinister and cruel side to this industry. It would be unconscionable for members to support any funds going to the greyhound racing industry during this extremely critical time.

    The Hon. DUNCAN GAY (Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, and Vice-President of the Executive Council) [4.24 p.m.]: The Government does not support the amendment, which would prevent any form of access to the trust fund before the special commission reports its findings. The Hon. Mark Pearson has made up his mind what the report will say. Other members have not prejudged the outcome of the special commission of inquiry and will remain fair until the report is released. The intention of the Government is that the funds remain in trust. However, given the uncertain nature and status of the greyhound racing industry, it may mean that there is a genuine need—we cannot see one at the moment but there may be one in the future—for the secretary to release funds to Greyhound Racing NSW. The arrangements as set out in the Betting Tax Legislation Amendment Bill 2015 establish sufficient safeguards with some flexibility, which is appropriate in the circumstances. For those reasons the Government does not support the amendment.

    The Hon. ADAM SEARLE (Leader of the Opposition) [4.25 p.m.]: The Opposition supports the Animal Justice Party amendment. We understand that it is the intention of the Government for the funds relating to greyhound racing to be quarantined in the fund until the special commission of inquiry into greyhound racing is completed and the Government’s response to that inquiry is finalised. The Minister made those comments in his second reading speech. This amendment is reflective of that approach and we see no harm in making explicit what is at least implicit in the approach taken by the Government.

    Dr JOHN KAYE [4.25 p.m.]: The Greens support the Animal Justice Party amendment. We believe it is totally sensible that the money be frozen after the McHugh inquiry has reported its findings. The Minister said that the Hon. Mark Pearson has prejudged the outcome of the McHugh inquiry. I did not hear him say that, but he is reflecting a commonly held opinion that the inquiry will report strong findings. Given the evidence that was presented at the public hearing in its first week and in the last two days of the public hearing, it would be surprising if it did not. Nonetheless, whatever the findings it is accepted by this Parliament and this Minister that there is a severe cloud over Greyhound Racing NSW. The activity of greyhound racing in New South Wales stands accused of wholesale animal welfare abuses. To allow money to be allocated to that industry now would interfere with the idea that the future of this code is up for question before the McHugh inquiry.

    The CHAIR (The Hon. Trevor Khan): Order! I remind members that they are to address the amendment, not make a second reading speech.

    Dr JOHN KAYE: Thank you for the reminder. I am talking directly to the idea that money should not be allowed out of that fund until the McHugh inquiry has made a finding about the future of the industry. The Greens say there is a serious question mark not only over the future of Greyhound Racing NSW but over its performance. For it to be awarded any money whatsoever would run contrary to public opinion, the public interest and the use of this money. The Greens support the sensible amendment.

    Question—That Animal Justice Party amendment No. 1 [C2015-172A] be agreed to—put.

    The Committee divided.

    Ayes, 16

    Mr Buckingham

    Ms Cotsis

    Mr Donnelly

    Dr Faruqi

    Mrs Houssos

    Dr Kaye

    Mr Mookhey

    Mr Moselmane

    Mr Primrose

    Mr Searle

    Mr Secord

    Ms Sharpe

    Mr Shoebridge

    Mr Veitch

    Tellers,

    Ms Barham

    Mr Pearson

    Noes, 21

    Mr Ajaka

    Mr Amato

    Mr Blair

    Mr Borsak

    Mr Brown

    Mr Clarke

    Mr Colless

    Ms Cusack

    Mr Gallacher

    Mr Gay

    Mr Green

    Mr Harwin

    Mr MacDonald

    Mr Mallard

    Mr Mason-Cox

    Mrs Mitchell

    Reverend Nile

    Mr Pearce

    Mrs Taylor

    Tellers,

    Mr Franklin

    Dr Phelps

    Pairs

    Ms Voltz

    Mr Farlow

    Mr Wong

    Mrs Maclaren-Jones

    Question resolved in the negative.

    Animal Justice Party amendment No. 1 [C2015-172A] negatived.


    The full debate can be read here.

  • OPPOSITION TO CHANGES TO BOXING DAY RETAIL TRADE

    10th November 2015

    Second reading debate.

    Boxing Day retail trade.

    RETAIL TRADING AMENDMENT BILL 2015

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [9.53 p.m.]: I will be brief in my contribution to debate on the Retail Trading Amendment Bill 2015. When I was travelling along the highway to a court case I noticed a large billboard with words written on it that could be seen by everybody travelling along that highway. The four words written on that billboard were, “Shut up and shop.” That statement underpins the attitude behind this bill. The Animal Justice Party opposes the bill. Over the past few weeks, and as we are speaking in this Chamber, many families have become fractured, dispersed and scattered throughout New South Wales. Children, husbands, wives and partners have had to leave country towns to travel to cities or towns hundreds of kilometres away in order to work. They often work in banking, supermarkets or stores such as David Jones or Myers. These people are all scattered and disconnected from one another.

    They have not been able to enjoy the usual fabric of family life because society requires them to travel long distances in order to work. They are looking forward to and have planned this Christmas Day and Boxing Day to come together and to spend time with one another to talk about their experiences and to nourish their relationships and the love that they feel for one another. They might attend various religious rituals that are dear to them, or maybe no rituals at all, but those two days are crucial to a fundamental principal in our society that gives people who have fondness, love, a sense of protection and goodwill for one another an opportunity to have that experience. These rights have been protected by governments of this State and country, but if this bill is enacted it will immediately corrode, undo and strike down fundamental familial bonds and friendships and the caring and compassionate principles that are celebrated and held dear by our society.

    We cannot allow the corrosion of those principles. This bill will begin that corrosion. It is far more important that these families, children and broken people who have to travel long distances to work for lengthy periods have an opportunity to come together. That is what is in their hearts and minds now and we have no right to strike it down. On only two days out of 4½ days that people who are vulnerable in these situations know they are protected from any aggressive or pushy industry that wants to force them to work against their will out of greed and economic interest. It is unconscionable for anybody to support this bill. It goes against the fundamental fabric and principle of caring that ensures the good structure and fabric of family life, friendship and respect for individuals who want to be free from the burden and task of labour on that day. I condemn this bill.

  • SPEECH IN SUPPORT OF NATIVE GAME BIRDS REGULATION 2015 DISALLOWANCE MOTION

    10th November 2015

    Disallowance motion.

    Native Game Birds Regulation 2015.

    GAME AND FERAL ANIMAL CONTROL ACT 2002: DISALLOWANCE OF SECTIONS [2], [3] AND [4] OF SCHEDULE 1 OF THE GAME AND FERAL ANIMAL CONTROL AMENDMENT (NATIVE GAME BIRDS) REGULATION 2015

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [3.31 p.m.]: The Animal Justice Party supports the motion moved by Mr David Shoebridge to disallow the Game and Feral Animal Control Amendment (Native Game Birds) Regulation 2015. I understand that the regulation relates to the shooting of birds that are supposed to be stationary. I used to work as a duck rescuer in the field before the legislation to ban recreational duck shooting became law. We clearly opposed the killing of those birds for recreational purposes. Significantly, I and other rescuers noticed that when a shot was fired at a flock only one or two birds would drop to the ground. If they were lucky they were killed instantly. As we continued to watch the remaining flock fly across the lake two, three or four more birds would slowly drop away. They were the birds that died long, lingering deaths from shot pellets in their bodies.

    One study that led both Houses to ban recreational duck shooting was conducted by Robert L. Cochrane and entitled “Crippling effects of lead, steal and copper shot on experimental mallards”. The study strikes at the issue at hand in this debate. A study undertaken by the gun industry looked at the shooting of ducks that were tethered to the ground and not flying. To an extent, the study replicates the amendment that seeks to allow hunters to shoot animals that are standing still or moving slowly on the ground while they are eating.

    The study conducted by Winchester-Western involved the controlled shooting of ducks that were tethered and not in flight, and then measured the spray pattern and injuries inflicted by the shots. The study proved that a duck’s fate is determined by the number of pellets and what vital organs they strike. Whilst ducks that are struck in the abdomen and those with broken leg bones do not die immediately, they may have little chance of survival. Those ducks are part of the unretrieved kill or crippled cohort. As I said, that study was done on animals that were on the ground and moving slowly. In debate some years ago Labor member the Hon. Jan Burnswoods said:

    One major issue that has been under discussion is cruelty. In 1988 the Animal Welfare Advisory Council, which was set up by the Labor Government, reported that duck shooting should be terminated because the level of pain and suffering of the ducks was unreasonably high. The advisory council recommended that the season be brought to an end … particularly as it is estimated that as many as 20 per cent of birds that are shot die a lingering death.

    There is the rub. This is not about controlling numbers of birds that might be putting pressure on the success of rice paddocks. If there is to be an effective system to deter birds from eating crops the Government must invest money and resources into researching ways to drive ducks from fields. In so doing the Government must bear in mind the requirements of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act that stop us having an impact on animals that causes unreasonable, unjustifiable and unnecessary suffering. As a humane society we must turn our minds to finding alternative methods of deterrence if there is competition between agriculture and animals. In the future we will look back in shame at opening another chapter of shooting, maiming, crippling and causing the long, lingering deaths of many animals. We will be judged by our actions. I commend the disallowance motion to the House.


    The full debate can be read here.

  • WORKPLACE FLEXIBILITY

    15th October 2015

    Workplace flexibility.

    The Hon. MARK PEARSON [3.50 p.m.]: I will speak to the motion from a different aspect. I support the principle of flexibility in the workplace. It is important to address the mental and physical health of employees in a workplace where the work is difficult, the stress level is high and there are many deadlines. Often people do not merge their work lives and home lives, for different reasons. At home people may have to deal with illness of a partner, a child or a family member. That and other factors make life complex and it is impossible to live a regimented life. At the same time their workplace may be rigid and regimented, and does not provide flexibility, which results in more stress. That can have deleterious impacts on their wellbeing and their capacity to manage their lives, both at work and at home.

    Flexibility in the workplace is a robust way of sustaining the mental and physical health and wellbeing of employees. I have experienced this. I worked in the mental health area for 23 years and was a team leader for a community mental health service. We developed more flexibility for employees to adjust their shifts, work relationships and timetables to be home once or twice a week when their children came home at three o’clock or half past three. They were able to assist with meals or look after a parent who may be dementing. All these factors affect our lives. Flexibility in the workplace enables employees to be home and enjoy their family life but at the same time provide support and strength to family and friends who may be suffering from a broad spectrum of health problems. That brings more wellbeing and strength to work performance. So it is a win-win situation.

    Where there is flexibility employees can go home and attend to these things, and enjoy their children, friends and partners; they then come to work and contribute to a different culture and mindset, which results in better performance and productivity in the workplace. The measure of any workplace is the impact that we bring to the outcome of our employment. If employment can be balanced with a personal life, flexibility in the workplace is an important principle that results in a better workplace, better performance and productivity, as well as a happier and more fulfilled home life at home with children, friends and family. I support the motion.


    The full debate can be read here.

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