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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Wednesday, 17 March 2010) . . Page.. 982 ..

This is not just a split between domestic pets and agricultural animals, although that is the largest part of the split. There is a lack of legislation to protect any animal that people wish to use as a tool. Imagine, for example, a dog that is at a dog pound or at the RSPCA. At this moment it will be protected by the animal welfare laws that protect companion animals. These are quite strong laws already. But if that dog is sold or given to a research facility, suddenly it will be protected only by the laws applicable to research animals, and that is, comparatively speaking, a very low standard. It will have become an economic animal, not a companion animal, so our laws no longer care as much about the cruelty it may suffer.

The amendment to this motion that I foreshadowed seeks to recognise the fact that all animals deserve protection, regardless of whether or not they are popular species, highly visible in society, or agricultural, domestic or research animals. It calls on the ACT government to enact equitable animal welfare laws that provide an equally high standard of protection to all animals. This would mean that animal welfare principles could not be compromised by leaving the majority of animals to be subject to cruelty and mistreatment. This would mean that when we agree that certain practices are cruel, they are considered cruel in all circumstances, even those circumstances which are hidden from the public. It would mean that the government has to make its animal welfare laws in a consistent and unbiased way, and make animal welfare the key principle rather than using animals as tools and commodities.

Debate interrupted in accordance with standing order 74 and the resumption of the debate made an order of the day for a later hour.

Sitting suspended from 12.30 to 2 pm.

Questions without notice

Government—election promises

MR SESELJA: My question is to the Treasurer. Treasurer, in question time yesterday, you said:

… the decision we took … was to send the message very clearly to our agencies that the business-as-usual approach will no longer be followed …

Treasurer, in your budget speech in May 2009, you said:

Agencies will also provide implementation plans on their internal savings strategy well before the commencement of the 2010-11 Budget.

Treasurer, given the projection of tougher fiscal times and years of deficits, why were ACT government agencies still operating in a “business as usual” context, despite your statement in the 2009 budget speech?

MS GALLAGHER: My comments yesterday were that this is in addition to the requests we have made of agencies outlined in the budget speech by me. The “business as usual” that I referred to yesterday was what was delivered in the 2009-10

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