Page 2148 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 22 June 2005

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I believe by passing this bill Members of the ACT Assembly will be demonstrating to the Community that they recognise cruelty to animals is a serious offence. Courts may then impose stronger penalties when sentencing people found guilty of cruelty to animals.

I am sure you are aware there is a growing body of evidence that indicates many people who commit acts of violence against humans have a history of being cruel to animals. The RSPCA (ACT) Council believes the imposition of greater penalties for people convicted of these acts will lead to cruelty to animals being taken much more seriously in our community.

I urge you once again to support this Bill.

I will be away from Canberra from 30 March to 19 April. During that time, Bob Akhurst, Vice President, RSPCA (ACT), will be Acting President. You may contact him … if you wish to discuss this matter in more detail.

Yours sincerely

Sue Gage



I seek leave to table the documents.

Leave granted.

MR STEFANIAK: I present the following papers:

Copy of letter to Mrs Burke MLA from the President of the RSPCA, dated 2 April 2005.

Copy of letter from Mrs Burke MLA to the President of the RSPCA, dated 5 April 2005.

Today, Animal Liberation ACT put out a media release headed “Increased penalties for animal cruelty”. It reads:

Animal Liberation ACT supports the private members’ Bill that Liberal MLA, Bill Stefaniak, will debate today in the Legislative Assembly. The Bill, to be debated at approximately 12 noon, aims to raise the penalty for animal cruelty to $20,000, or 5 years imprisonment.

I have since been advised that they have indicated that it should be two years, as per my amendments. The media release continues:

“We urge the ACT Government to today support the bill and increase penalties for animal cruelty. The New South Wales Government recently took steps to do this and the ACT should now follow suit,” stated Mr Mike O’Shaughnessy, spokesperson for Animal Liberation ACT.

“The community is strongly against cruelty to animals yet often the punishments don’t fit the crime. Under the current legal system a person who tortures an animal

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