Page 4321 - Week 13 - Thursday, 17 November 2005
to illicit drugs or something. I do not take it as a great endorsement of a piece of legislation when the Greens agree with it; I think it is probably a bit of a bad omen when that happens. It certainly does not fill me with any great confidence. I talked about if the Greens were in government. A friend of mine, who is a Greens voter, funnily enough, told me, “Well, you know, I would never vote for them if I thought they would get in,” which was fascinating to me.
MR SPEAKER: Come back to the subject matter, Mr Seselja.
MR SESELJA: I will come back to the subject matter, Mr Speaker, but I did think that was telling. He has been voting Green for as long as I have known him, and that is interesting, I think.
I just want to touch on what the legislation does. Obviously it covers a number of areas. The minister has talked about those and Mr Pratt has responded well. The bits I want to focus on are the permanent confinement of cats to houses and other enclosures in the suburbs of Forde and Bonner and the compulsory identification of cats by microchip in the cat containment area.
I go back to the point I made at the beginning. The principle I take when looking at a piece of legislation is: is this an undue intrusion into people’s lives? I take the position that, if it is unnecessary intrusion in people’s lives, we should oppose it, and I think this legislation very much falls within that category. I think some members of the government are probably uncomfortable with it as well, but for various reasons the government has brought it forward. It is an important principle for us as an Assembly: to look at any law and ask whether it is going to improve the situation in the territory or make it worse.
I suggest that this is undue interference in the lives of many cat lovers. I am not going to comment necessarily on cats, but certainly there are a lot of cat lovers in our community, and no doubt many of the people looking to move to places like Forde and Bonner will be cat lovers and this may cause them some problems.
I was thinking of how this fits with the other priorities of government—health, education, police, transport—and whether at a time of a massive budget deficit measures like this can be justified. In my humble opinion, they cannot.
This forms a bit of a pattern in terms of the agenda of this government and their focus. What have they been looking to do? Well, they are protecting trees really well; we are all aware of that. They are doing a great job of protecting trees. Even if the roots are causing all sorts of dramas, the trees will be protected in this territory. The trees in this territory get more protection than those anywhere else. And now native birds will get more protection than anywhere else—at the expense of cat lovers, cat owners, who will have to take all sorts of unnecessary measures under this legislation.
Of course, we think of some of the other misguided priorities like the community inclusion board and the arboretum. This government spent the first year or two in office just trying to take discriminatory language out of legislation. You have got to really question where the priorities are. Where is the priority of this government? Look at the agenda today; this is the last thing we are doing. This is why I was so embarrassed when