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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (25 September) . . Page.. 3222 ..

MR WOOD (continuing):

Melbourne the magpies are rarely sighted during September. This year is the first since 1994 that the magpies have made an appearance in Melbourne. Their appearance prior to that was in 1990, and even then it was a delayed appearance on the first weekend of October rather than the last weekend of September. Of course, Melbourne has its other worries. It is concerned about rampant lions or crows coming from other parts of Australia. We are fortunate in the ACT. We have to deal only with kangaroos and sometimes with brumbies.

But let me talk about the magpies that swoop and trouble people. For many people it is not an issue to be dealt with lightly. Only this morning I was reading a letter that came in my mail. I read my mail very carefully every day.

Mr Quinlan: Are you the only one?

MR WOOD: I hope so by now, Mr Quinlan. I had a quite angry letter from a constituent. Our rangers had been out to see the problem with the local magpie. It appears that this magpie identified this person and was very aggressive towards him and not anyone else.

Each year Environment ACT receives over 250 reports of magpies. Last year 380 warning signs-collectors' items, I understand-were erected to advise residents to be aware of the presence of magpies. Most complaints are received in August and September, when the male birds are most actively defending their territory.

Rangers promote a "living with nature" ethos when dealing with the public, to encourage the community to accept the birds. Magpies normally and naturally swoop on intruders. You would know all the clues about protecting yourself, even with an umbrella. I do not need to tell you those. Magpies are a problem each year.

Mr Humphries: A machine gun is quite good.

MR WOOD: No, Mr Humphries, we do not support that option. That is like the government that went before-shoot at everything that moves. Recent research undertaken in Brisbane shows that relocating a swooping magpie well out of the urban area is a successful strategy for reducing the public nuisance.

Mr Pratt: With all due respect to magpies, Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. Would your ruling on the last question not also apply to this question? It asks for an opinion about contingencies which exist to deal with a problem. Should you not also be ruling this question out of order?

MR SPEAKER: I do not think so. Sit down. I do not think Mr Hargreaves mentioned the law in relation to magpies.

MR WOOD: Research in Brisbane shows that relocating a swooping magpie well out of the urban area is a successful strategy. This effective anti-magpie strategy is funded by the Brisbane City Council, perhaps even the Brisbane Lions football club.

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