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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 10 April 2018) . . Page.. 1148 ..


is absurd that the question even has to be asked for a number of reasons. For starters, domestic animal services officers can very simply ascertain, by checking the microchip of a greyhound, its status as a racing greyhound or otherwise. But, more to the point, I do not think it is possible for the government to justify the ban. Greyhound racing is quite simply not out of step with community values and the ban should not be happening. I note the legislation to ban the sport in the ACT is still the subject of a number of legal proceedings, and I await the final results of those processes.

I also say while we are speaking to this matter that the government is going through a process of putting together a code of practice for keeping and breeding racing greyhounds in the ACT. When this process was undertaken in Victoria the government engaged with industry for a solid five months before producing a document. The ACT government gave the local industry just three days to respond to their draft code, which is unforgivable but so typical of the way that this Labor-Greens government has bullied its way to a reprehensible position.

I cannot help but note again that the ministers responsible for this policy space—Ms Fitzharris and Mr Ramsay—have never set foot on the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club premises and have consistently refused to speak to any stakeholders. ACT Labor has sold out to the Greens in this space in the most shameful way, and it will result in many long-term hard-core Labor voters turning their back on their traditional party come 2020.

We will not be opposing this amendment bill, but I look forward to overturning all of the anti-greyhound legislation when in government in late 2020.

MR PETTERSSON (Yerrabi) (11.24): I rise today to speak in favour of the Domestic Animals Amendment Bill 2018. The government has moved these amendments today to strengthen the laws that manage our dogs and to make our community safer. No-one should be afraid to walk their neighbourhood. No-one should have to worry about their pets or children being attacked in their own yard. We are acting to make people responsible for the actions of their animals and to eliminate the threat of dog attacks, while educating the public about the importance of responsible dog ownership.

Dog attacks can be traumatic for all involved. Violence often is traumatic. All dogs can be unpredictable in their actions and they have the capacity to be aggressive. Unlike humans, they do not have the capacity to reason and can act on instinct to protect, attack, show dominance or defend what they perceive to be their territory. In short, dogs can be unpredictable, and even dogs we love can act out. This is precisely why we must manage our relationship with animals carefully. We put so much faith in our pets to love us, to protect us and to be there for us, and while dogs may be our best friend, they can also be our worst.

These amendments will make the Domestic Animals Act more robust and consistent. They will tighten up penalties and offences in the act and allow for fines to be issued in a greater range of circumstances to people who are clearly acting irresponsibly or unsafely in respect of their dogs. Managing animals requires managing their owners


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