Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1999 Week 11 Hansard (21 October) . . Page.. 3443 ..
MR CORBELL (continuing):
So, on this occasion I regret we are not able to support Ms Tucker's motion. I agree with the intention, but it is simply not a practical process. We will continue to look closely at how this is implemented. If we do see a major attempt to get around or to undermine the intent of the legislation, we will certainly be prepared to reconsider it and take action. But at this stage I cannot see that happening. While it is not the perfect solution, it is a positive step and the most practical one in the current framework. So Labor will not be able to support the amendment today.
MR RUGENDYKE (12.21): I have examined the two boxes in the chamber and assessed the labelling on those boxes in light of what is proposed in this motion. I take Mr Moore's argument on point 2A, that the machinery involved is of the type that puts the label in a particular position rather than the top and in a standard type of six millimetres. I am not quite sure what that means. There are words on that label about half an inch tall; some about five or six millimetres tall. I do not know that that applies. Black certainly contrasts with white and yellow. On the boxes from the factory in the Riverina, the words do appear to be in the same direction.
Mr Speaker, I was privileged to be invited by management to have a look at Parkwood's operation, at how the chickens are housed, fed, cared for, without the hype that you see on TV when people chain themselves to the cages in the dead of night, frightening all the chickens in the buildings. It is quite different. They have a type of chook that is bred in a particular way. Because it does not fight as much; it is more suited to the battery operation. When you walk into the place you wear protective clothing so that you do not spread disease. You sterilise your gumboots. You do the sorts of things that animal liberationists do not do.
When you walk through into the buildings containing the chickens and hear the other side of the story, it is not as drastic as the TV footage shows. It is a very good operation, a very strong employer for Canberrans, the Parkwood eggs factory. It is a building and a set-up that appears to abide by regulations and best practice. I applaud Parkwood for the good work they do, the people they employ, the eggs they produce. Mr Speaker, when I see the buildings out there I see it as a good business.
Another aspect of the labelling appears to be so that people can distinguish battery eggs from barn laid or the other types of eggs. The labelling will help. But people are not stupid. They can tell by the price. If they want to buy eggs at a dollar a dozen dearer, they will buy the barn laid type. I do not see the need to support this motion, given my experience with eggs.
MS TUCKER (12.25), in reply: I am interested in Mr Moore's arguments around the cost of machinery being such a significant factor for him. It does make me wonder why he supported the original legislation which resulted in the majority of members here supporting the ban on such use of intensive farming. That obviously would have required Parkwood, if it had been supported within the Mutual Recognition Act parameters, to undergo huge expense - or a fair bit of expense - to modify how they were operating their egg production. Mr Moore was happy on the one hand to do that, but now he is claiming that machinery costs are a significant factor in his deliberations.