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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3440 ..

MR MOORE (continuing):

Your amendment would say it has to be in a prominent position on the highest horizontal surface. I think it would lead to some debate as to whether, if I stand it on the end like this, that would be considered the highest horizontal surface. Or whether, in fact, we stand it on another side and it actually is perhaps on the highest horizontal surface. I understand what you are saying, what your intention is. That would be the horizontal surface and that would be the highest in the way the pack normally sits. I doubt whether the regulation would actually achieve anyway what you set out to do. More importantly, it is not necessary.

The manufacturers around Australia, who probably do not want this kind of labelling or they would have put it on years ago, have agreed, cooperated, done the right thing and put a reasonably prominent label in a conspicuous position. There were two things the manufacturers told me when I consulted them.

Mr Smyth: Did you consult the manufacturers?

MR MOORE: Yes, I did consult the manufacturers. The machine they use is only designed to put a label in one place. They actually had to buy a new machine to put it in a different place. You can make a judgment about whether that is accurate or not. These machines are worth, as I recall, between $60,000 and $100,000 - a large sum of money. That is the first of the information given to me. The second is about the bar code. They are putting the two on one label. That is sensible. If they put the label in a certain position it presents no problem to a shop checkout scanner. But in another position the egg carton must be held upside down to be scanned, threatening breakage of eggs. The advantage of being aware of the pragmatic is that the egg manufacturers work with us.

As we develop these sorts of policies we will want to continue working with people rather than trying to make laws that hit them over the head. I do not know how many members have visited a battery hen farm. The one that I went to was not of the sort I had seen in the pictures. It was a very different situation. Although I do not like the notion of the chooks contained in any feed lot - and that is what battery farms are - it was not the disaster that it had been painted. Certainly the most unhealthy chooks I have seen within the range of systems were the ones on a free-range farm not far from Canberra.

The barn chooks I saw in Switzerland and the battery chooks I saw near Cootamundra were all very healthy looking. It is interesting that the free-range ones were the ones where the pecking order had been most noticeable. But what we are seeking to do is work with the manufacturer. There may be a point at which we are saying, "Instead of having six chooks in the cubic metre cage, we need a code of practice that says that we should have five or four". Being able to work with people to get those codes of practice right is a much more effective way of doing it than just making laws without a proper consultative process.

While we understand exactly what Ms Tucker was trying to achieve, most of us looking at this labelling would say it is a reasonable label. There is another argument that says that, whether you look at barn eggs or free-range eggs, they have a big cardboard wrapper clearly identifying them. So it should be. The manufacturers sell the eggs for

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