Page 4323 - Week 13 - Thursday, 17 November 2005
One of the things that sadden those of us who often hear the views expressed of people outside the territory is the derisive way in which they sometimes reflect on the territory since the securing of self-government. Some of us have entered this Assembly with the hope of improving the level of contribution and standing of the Assembly, as I said in my inaugural speech, in order to ensure that the people of Canberra attach greater relevance and importance to our work. It is just surprising to look at the program for today. As Mr Seselja said, we are talking about extraordinarily pedestrian issues supposedly as matters of public importance and we are now on to a matter here that says to you, “Where are the priorities of this government?”
The government is facing a major economic crisis. There appear to be all sorts of dramas occurring in cabinet. We have a situation where, clearly, the government has completely underestimated the cost of health care and the resources of the Assembly are being devoted to this legislation to deal with chasing cats, applying cat curfews, and the identification of cats. Mr Hargreaves is often pretty closely in touch with the electorate and I know that there are people out there who hate cats, but it staggers me that he would be dragged into this subject by his department. Apparently the zealots in the department tried to get Mr Smyth to do this years ago and he was smart enough to realise that there was no glory for him in engaging in this sort of legislation.
When I see that the criminal code applies to offences against the act such as cats in breach of a cat curfew and the identification of dogs and cats, it really does, as Mr Seselja said, make it on the verge of embarrassing to tell people that this is how we spend our day. I am fascinated by some of the provisions here. I refer to the one about returning a seized cat to its keeper, which states:
(1) An authorised officer may return a cat seized under this part to its keeper under this section if satisfied that it would be in the public interest to return the cat.
(2) In making a decision under subsection (1), the authorised officer must consider—
(a) the safety of the public …
I do not know what sorts of cats we are talking about here and I do now know whether there are some issues related to Mr Tindale’s zoo over there, but I do not feel that the cats I have seen are a major threat to the safety of the public. But this officer will make that consideration because obviously someone in the department has a particular fixation that the wellbeing of our community is threatened and that the public safety of the good people of Canberra is threatened by these wandering cats.
I struggled to contain myself in reading some of the provisions. Moving on to the procedure for the identification of cats, clause 13 states:
A person must follow the following procedure in implanting an identifying microchip in a cat:
(a) scan the cat, before the microchip is implanted …