Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 05 Hansard (Thursday, 7 April 2005) . . Page.. 1568 ..
that represents to Australia—if all of a sudden an animal that had been identified for the purposes of the identification scheme picked up another tag. The whole system would be corrupted.
We should have regard to the way in which Europe now deals with these issues. In places where foot-and-mouth unfortunately is a periodic occurrence, they now can track absolutely each animal within the nation, precisely; they can track its route through the country through a scheme such as this—and it is vitally important that it not be corrupted and that everybody understands how important it is. That is why these offences are of the nature they are. The scheme would be absolutely corrupted if the message was sent that this is really just like the good old days: you tag your cattle and, if one of them drops off or a few drop off, you just pick them up and reattach them; it does not quite matter to which animal as long as they are tagged. It does matter—it matters fundamentally to this scheme—and that is why these provisions are important and that is why the government will oppose these amendments.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.40): I have to respond to the constant burbling of the Chief Minister on this. There is no dispute between the Chief Minister and me about the seriousness of the offence. The offence is there and there are quite substantial fines. My contention is that, if an offence has been committed, take somebody off to court and prove their intent to do it. This is not about corrupting the scheme.
I think that the penalties should be strong and I want it on the record that I believe the penalty should be strong and that people, if they have done the wrong thing, should be prosecuted. But they should be given the full benefit of the Australian legal system which allows them to be innocent until proven guilty. All of this bluster of “I’m more interested in the authenticity of the system than is Mrs Dunne” is just nonsense; it is just bluster and burbling from the Chief Minister.
At no time has anyone in this place said that we think that the fines are too heavy or that there is too much emphasis on the penalties. These are serious offences and therefore a government agency should be prepared to take someone to court and prove their intent to do something wrong before they are fined in Australia.
Remainder of bill, as a whole, agreed to.
Bill agreed to.
Stock Bill 2005
Debate resumed from 17 March 2005, on motion by Mr Stanhope:
That this bill be agreed to in principle.
MRS DUNNE (Ginninderra) (5.42): As I said before, this bill works in concert with the Animal Diseases Bill just passed. Again, the Liberal opposition supports the general thrust of the Stock Bill, which repeals the old Pounds Act of 1928 and amends the Stock