Page 1759 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 4 May 2011

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To suggest that families go along to a pet store and spend upwards of $500 or $600 on a cat or a dog impulsively—that is, without thinking of the consequences—is absurd. To suggest that pet stores are irresponsibly selling animals is unfounded, as there has not been one prosecution against pet retail operators in the ACT over the last four years.

The ACT has an Animal Welfare Advisory Committee which is in place to deal with the issues raised in this bill. As a principle I believe legislation should be a last resort and I do not believe that all such avenues have been fully explored.

Finally, proposed section 9B, which is to ban intensive pig farming in the ACT, of which there is none, is bizarre and highlights once again that this bill is about the Greens being more concerned with politics than with genuine animal welfare. What other activities not taking place in the territory at the moment should we also seek to ban? Should we ban commercial whaling? Should we move to make Lake Burley Griffin an officially recognised whale sanctuary? I joke, but really—

Ms Bresnan: You do joke.

MR COE: it is a flippant approach to legislation—

Mr Rattenbury: You are a joke.

MR COE: which I think is very dangerous and not a path that we should be going down. There are other issues in this legislation—

Mr Hanson: I raise a point of order, Mr Assistant Speaker. Mr Rattenbury just called out that Mr Coe is a joke. I would ask that you consider whether that is parliamentary or not and, if you deem that it is not, ask that he withdraw that comment.

MR ASSISTANT SPEAKER (Mr Hargreaves): Mr Rattenbury, I invite you to withdraw that comment if indeed you made it. I did not hear it but I invite you to withdraw it if you did.

Mr Rattenbury: I withdraw the comment.

MR COE: Thank you, Mr Assistant Speaker. As devastating a blow as it was, I will continue.

There are other issues in this legislation and the majority of these issues are currently before the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, which is the appropriate forum for such policy discussions to be had. I suggest we allow the committee to do what it was established to do and to give it time to do this job. I am not saying that I would unilaterally endorse what it decides but I do respect its processes and I welcome its consideration.

The Canberra Liberals will be opposing this bill.

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