Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2001 Week 9 Hansard (21 August) . . Page.. 3080 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Placing the egg labelling requirements in the Animal Welfare Act preserves the purity of the new Food Bill, which was a concern of the minister. I understand now that there is legal advice. This is very bad process. Mr Corbell has just said that he would not support this amendment. I have not had a chance, except in the last two minutes, to look at the apparent legal advice that Mr Moore has given him. From what I have read it is just the usual objections that were put when we had this initial debate. There are comments in that advice on what we decided as a parliament, and I have not had a chance to read the rest of it.

Apparently, according to what Mr Corbell said, the argument is related to the fact that the labelling is not actually an animal welfare issue. I would argue that that is quite incorrect. The reason we wanted labelling was that we wanted consumers to know how the eggs were produced, because then they could be informed and choose, for animal welfare reasons, not to buy the eggs.

I find this difficult because I have not been able to read the advice. Really, I cannot do more. I am interested in hearing another explanation from Mr Corbell or Mr Moore about this amendment, and why Mr Corbell in particular will not support my amendment. I understand from Mr Corbell that his stand-alone bill tomorrow will get support, so that is fine. The Greens will be happy to see the continuation of the labelling in the ACT, whatever mechanism is needed to achieve that. Clearly, the outcome we want is the labelling. I am just surprised that no-one has bothered to give me this legal advice so that I could have an informed response.

Basically, we understand that if a national mandatory egg labelling scheme comes along in the future we can revisit these provisions, but for the moment I think this Assembly should respect the decision of the previous Assembly to introduce egg labelling, which is what this amendment is intended to do. The decision was made in response to the animal welfare concerns, as I said, held by a significant number of people of the community, and it was supported by the Productivity Commission. The egg labelling laws should be allowed to continue, and they are an animal welfare Issue.

MR CORBELL (5.31): As I have indicated, the Labor Party will not be supporting Ms Tucker's amendment today, but that is more to do with a disagreement about the process in which these laws are maintained rather than a disagreement with the objective that I believe Labor and the Greens, and potentially other members of this Assembly, are seeking to achieve. The objective that we are seeking to achieve is the maintenance of the ACT's very strong and, I would argue, progressive labelling laws in relation to hen eggs.

Yes, the Greens and Labor do have a disagreement about how that can be achieved, but I do not think that should become the major issue in this debate.

The major issue in this debate needs to be the maintenance of the existing laws. The Labor Party originally was prepared to support Ms Tucker's amendment, and I indicated that to the Greens. However, I have received further advice from the minister's office. I should stress to Ms Tucker that it is not legal advice; it is departmental advice which I sought from the minister.

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . .