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Speech: Defending whistleblowers in the animal industry

Speeches in Parliament
Lee Rhiannon 26 Aug 2014

Lee argues for  whistleblower protection in response to a successful government motion demonising those who expose animal cruelty.

Senator McKENZIE: I move the motion as amended:

That the Senate—

(a) notes with concern that:

(i) the activities of vigilantes on private farm property, and the covert filming of operations, is trespassing and is illegal,


(ii) such activities are distressing to the animals, staff and owners, and disrupt the operation of legitimate businesses;

(b) acknowledges the risk of such activities introducing biosecurity threats through the spread of disease that can be detrimental to animals and the viability of farm businesses;

(c) condemns such illegal actions;

(d) calls on vigilantes to respect the laws, and present any animal mistreatment allegations immediately and directly to authorities; and

(e) acknowledges the strong animal husbandry skills of Australian farmers and does not tolerate animal cruelty in any form.

Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (16:05): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator RHIANNON: Good animal husbandry practices do not invite the need for whistleblowers. Extreme animal cruelty and neglect is occurring in Australia. These incidents are often witnessed and sometimes condoned by the perpetrators work colleagues, business operators and industry representatives. These people then become complicit in perpetrating animal cruelty by not reporting such abuse. Governments stand complicit with these people for allowing it to happen.

The Greens support enforceable, mandatory reporting, investigation and prosecution of animal cruelty, with legal protection for whistleblowers. The Greens are also calling for ongoing audits and investigations independent of industry interests. Animal abuse and neglect is never okay and should never be ignored or excused on any level. We should all support legitimate animal husbandry practices that do not perpetrate animal mistreatment that most Australians, farmers and non-farmers alike, abhor and condemn.


The PRESIDENT: The question is that the motion, as amended, moved by Senator McKenzie be agreed to.

Question agreed to.


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