The above bill by Clover Moore was debated and voted in NSW Parliament on October 11th.
At the outset, Chris Hartcher (Terrigal) moved to have the motion amended so that the outcome would be a parliamentary Inquiry, instead of a debate on the Bill. This amendment was rejected 44:33, and so the debate on the proposed Bill proceeded.
There then followed a number of speeches against and for the proposed Bill ending in a summary final reply by Clover Moore.
We listened to the debate and have analysed the speeches from Hansard.
You can download the debate here
You can make your own mind up, but here are our comments:
The speeches by the Members opposing the Bill were nothing short of disgraceful. When the first Minister to speak (Paul McLeay, Heathcote) said “One of the highlights of my family’s weekly shopping trip with our 8 year old daughter and 3 year old son is to go to the local pet stores and have a look in the windows. Our children like to look at the dogs and animals that are for sale.”…. you get an idea of what is going to follow.
He opines in his speech: “It is highly unlikely that the general community would support the invasiveness and cost of inspectorate that this would require”
All I can say is that then he didn’t listen to those of the general community who want change on behalf of the animals.
Chris Hartcher (Terrigal) made a lengthy speech that reiterated and stressed all the reasons that the opponents of the Bill had originally proposed, thereby putting a nail in the coffin of any chance to get the Bill through, but he then ended by saying that because this is such an important issue, the bill should not be voted down today, but recommended “a select committee to investigate the issues the bill raises and bring back to Parliament a full report on the advancement of the protection of mammals in NSW”.
This would have been a good outcome for progress.
Alan Ashton (East Hills) made a totally pathetic lengthy ramble starting with “the bill sets out ways to do this ( ie protect the lives and well being of dogs, cats) that are clearly out of steps with community needs and expectations”
Really? Where did he get that idea from?
Minister Ashton stressed his belief that the “government already has appropriate legislation in place that regulates the pet industry”
He then rambled on around a range of issues such as how well microchipping works and his own efforts at rehoming dogs he found that had been microchipped. He spoke about his belief (or Minister MacDonald’s belief?) that “the animal trades codes ( And the Prevention of Cruelty Act) provide a solid foundation for future progress on a broad range of animal trade issues”.
Just how out of touch can you be? He said that “since the introduction of this code (Pet Shop Code of Practice) in 2008, experience indicates that it has worked effectively”.
(DRP comment: we will follow up with the Minister to ask exactly where he got this information from, because there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that the Code is just a cosmetic job to make it appear that the Government has done something – no more).
Finally Mr Ashton spoke about the issue of breeding and selling of working dogs. He said that “the provisions (for working dogs in the 2007 Bill) are unworkable and demonstrate that the member from Sydney (Clover Moore) does not understand rural NSW”!!
And yet, this provision was DELETED by Clover Moore from the 2008 version of the Bill after she had listened to this objection by the farmers in the 2007 version of the Bill.
Minister Ashton, you need a new speech writer – just how out of touch with the proposed Bill could you be? Clover Moore later described Ashton’s contribution as “misinformation put before Parliament” (DRP translation: ie a lie).
Greg Piper (Lake Macquarie) spoke positively for the Bill (dowload here) and reiterated the need for an Inquiry, should the Bill not be voted for. Of note, he said “While the Bill will not be supported by the House, it and the sentiments expressed by Members…should serve as a wake up call for the industry to further improve its policies and codes of practice, and drive out the unscrupulous minority”.
Peter Besseling (Port Macquarie) spoke and also recommended referring the Bill to a Legislative Council committee.
Finally Clover Moore replied to the speeches. Her final speech is well worth reading and her comments referring to the comments made are especially noteworthy. (Download here)
She opened up by stating that: “it is quite clear that the pet industry and the Australian Veterinary Association want to protect their business”.
There are too many points to comment on here, but we especially liked the comment:
“In response to the bill, the Government has tweaked an existing code of practice. That tweaking is pathetic”.
Ms Moore stressed “the conflict of interests in the bodies that advise government” that would be exposed by an open Inquiry.
“There is no substance to the government’s claims, other than responding to the vested interests of the pet industry. This is a result that should make this parliament hang its head in shame”.
We agree wholeheartedly and commend Minister Clover Moore for her stand on this matter.
The Ministers speaking against the Bill focussed exclusively on the original “objections” provide by the pet industry and the NSW Veterinary Association in 2007 – objections that were strongly and assertively countered by many groups supporting the Bill over the following 18 months.
Ministers received numerous letters and information from many groups – Deathrowpets, from NSW Young Lawyers Animal Law Committee (download here), Cat Rescue and Paws for Action, amongst others explaining in depth why the objections provided by the opponents to the Bill was wrong.
This information and rebuttal of the information provided by the opponents to the Bill was totally ignored. Not even mentioned. Why?
In our view the Members speaking against the Bill could have saved a lot of taxpayer’s time and money and simply said “Minister Ian Macdonald (DPI) says no, and so no, we’re not going to vote for the Bill, lets not waste time on a sham of a debate.”
So much for Parliamentary debate.
Note: some people are saying that only 3 Ministers voted for the bill. This is not correct. Some of the Parliamentary processes are a bit beyond us mere mortals, but what actually happened was that the vote was carried out in behind closed doors and only 3 Ministers, included Ms Moore, voted for a recount, and that was denied. We dont know how many voted for or against. So much for transparency.
Actions you can take:
- Please write to Minister Clover Moore to thank her for her long term efforts on behalf of the animals and for her work on the Bill. Please ask that she consider tabling a new Bill as soon possible requiring mandatory desexing of household pets
- Please write to Minister Greg Piper (Lake Macquarie) and send your thanks for his efforts and support of the bill, and would he consider tabling a Bill requiring mandatory desexing of household pets