During the recent Federal election campaign Australia’s treatment of animals has come under the spotlight, enduring fierce scrutiny from all sides of politics. The concerns for live export and kangaroo culling in the ACT were a significant political battle fought during the campaign, in an attempt to secure votes.
The Animal Justice Party is a minor party that ran during the election, championing animal rights, and providing a voice to those who are unable to speak for themselves. The AJP has suggested alternatives for both live export and kangaroo culling in an attempt to stop the inhumane treatment of animals.
Founder of the party Professor Steve Garlick says in the future the AJP would like to see a complete ban on the slaughter of healthy livestock.
“In the short run we believe that there should be processing of meat domestically…In the long term an animal justice party cannot support the killing of animals,” he said.
The AJP would also like to see structural adjustments occurring that enable a shift from the production of animals into the production of plant based foods.
Although neither major party has enforced a complete ban on live export, Labor believes that live cattle trade will increase under the new Coalition government. The government is seeking to minimize animal welfare protections viewed as “unnecessary bureaucracy” and Labor MP, Andrew Leigh, expects this will lead to further animal abuses.
“The Coalition doesn’t want that degree of oversight, they’ve apologised for the moratorium and they’re winding back the oversight. So I think that’s going to lead to more animal abuses than we have seen in the past,” he said.
Minister Leigh does not support the complete ban of live export, but does believe the industry needs to be regulated, particularly after the 2011 Four Corners live export expose, which produced strong feelings amongst many Australians in regards to animal cruelty.
“Ideally I’d like to see us in a situation where Australian animals are always stunned before slaughter – that happens in the vast majority of cases. My own personal view is that it should happen in all cases,” he said.
In regards to kangaroo culling in the ACT, during the election feelings between the Greens and the Animal Justice Party were far from supportive. The Greens were responsible for defacing many of the AJP’s campaign signs and breaking previously made agreements.
Professor Garlick says this reaction was due to the AJP deciding to preference the Greens last during the election, based purely on the fact that they allowed the cull to go ahead. Professor Garlick says that they were given sufficient warning about the AJP’s actions.
“We said to them [the Greens] if one kangaroo is killed we will preference you last, they knew that in February and they said ok let’s work together to try and get that outcome – Mr Sheikh agreed to this,” he said.
The AJP believes the ACT has a long way to go in terms of animal welfare.
“They have got a lot to learn if they want to really be known as a bush capital, because they do not treat these animals with respect and they need to,” said Professor Garlick.
The AJP along with many other animal activist groups have suggested alternatives to kangaroo culling. ACT Animal Liberation spokesman, Bernie Brennan, says more wildlife corridors may be the answer to avoid over grazing.
“If wildlife corridors were there the kangaroos would be able to come and go as they pleased, and that way if times were getting dry here, and there wasn’t a lot of grass, they’d move away back into the bush. At the moment they don’t have that opportunity,” he said.
Mr Brennan says raising awareness on both live export and kangaroo culling practices will be the answer to saving these animals.
“Live export has been really easy to sell to the public because you can see the cruelty, it’s just so in your face when you see it. Whereas with the kangaroos it goes on at night, out of the public eye and people don’t get to see it. This fight is going to be ongoing, a generational battle,” he said.
After Tony Abbott’s trip to Indonesia the Coalition will not only revive the live cattle trade, but also hope to increase it.
ACT Animal Liberation spokesman, Bernie Brennan, says the Coalition announced a new deal between Australia and Indonesia for an increase in cattle trade numbers.
“They’ve just announced a $60 million grant for the Red Meat Advisory Council to basically get more shipments going between us and Indonesia,” he said.
This comes after news that animal welfare assurance safeguards will be decreased and there will be no appointment of an Independent Inspector of Animal Welfare. [Link to Audio]
Labor MP, Andrew Leigh says these actions are a misjudgement on behalf of the government.
“Once you take that away there is a risk that you will get such a strong public backlash the next time a video is released of animal abuses and the whole trade itself will be threatened,” he said.
The ACT’s protection of wildlife, particularly kangaroos, has been labelled as ‘pathetic’ and ‘concerning’ by Animal Justice Party founder, Professor Steve Garlick.
“The ACT does not treat its wildlife well at all…I mean their expertise about wildlife is pathetic in the ACT,” he said.
In Canberra the number one animal issue is kangaroo culling and Professor Garlick argues that no party is protecting these animals.
“Whichever party is in the decision making process they kill kangaroos…We will oppose them if their objective is to kill the animals. We don’t care whether it’s Greens, Labor or Liberal,” he said.
ACT Animal Liberation spokesman, Bernie Brennan, says instead of culling healthy kangaroos we should be focussed on improving wildlife corridors.
“They’re stuck in that little patch of land, rather than killing them, we should be working out ways of opening up the corridors so they can come and go,” he said.
After weeks of campaigning the election is finally over, but have you ever wondered what happens to all those campaign posters lining the streets or where the ballot papers end up after the votes are counted.
Recycling is now second nature to most Canberrans, wheeling out their yellow lidded bins every fortnight for collection. So it is interesting that many of us do not know what happens to all that election paper and cardboard after Election Day and if the candidates we vote for actually recycle their campaign materials.
In the 2013 Federal election over 43 million ballot papers were printed, 50 thousand ballot boxes produced and distributed, over 100 thousand pencils used and approximately 140 kilometres of string was needed to attach the pencils to the booths.
Assistant Director of Media at the Australian Electoral Commission, Greg Doolan, says the AEC takes recycling very seriously and attempts to recycle as much material as it can at each election.
“The AEC’s polling station equipment and materials, such as the polling booths, voting screens and ballot boxes are stored and reused each election as much as possible,” he said.
As for the actual ballot papers themselves after the votes have been counted both the green House of Representatives and the large white Senate ballot papers must be retained by the AEC for a period following each election. This is in case the result of an outcome in any division or in the Senate is challenged in the Court of Disputed Returns.
“As with past elections, last Saturday, the AEC provided 14,000 polling stations around Australia with recycling bins and polling staff are advised to encourage the public to use these bins particularly for the ‘How to Vote’ pamphlets,” said Mr Doolan.
Re-elected Canberra MP Gai Brodtmann is aware that recycling the vast amounts of campaign materials used in an election is important for our environment and sets a good example for others to follow.
Both the campaign flyers and posters for Ms Brodtmann’s campaign were printed locally, at Paragon Printers in Fyshwick and the T-shirts provided were made in Australia.
“For both t-shirts and corflutes, we did two orders, an initial order, and then a follow up when we knew the exact quantities we needed,” said Ms Brodtmann.
This was to ensure there was no waste through over production and none of the material was printed years specific, so it can be put in storage and used at the next election. The flyers that were also printed were not election specific which allows Ms Brodtmann’s team to continue to use them in the coming months.
“How to Vote cards were printed by our party office on recycled paper and voters are always encouraged to hand them back for recycling on the day, as well as any leftovers,” said Ms Brodtmann.
Former Greens candidate, Adam Verwey, will still ensure the recycling of his campaign materials despite missing out on the seat of Fraser.
“We have a very hardworking team dedicated to our signs. The signs are always removed within 24hrs of an election and the Greens reuse these for future elections,” said Mr Verwey.
Mr Verwey says that the Greens, obviously take recycling very seriously as they are passionate about preserving our environment and this is reflected in the campaign materials used.
“We go to a lot of effort to ensure our materials are as responsibly sourced as possible. We use post-consumer recycled paper and even sourced FSC certified wooden stakes for our road signs, which ensures it comes from a sustainable source,” he said.
For the 2013 election the AEC trialled a new way to conserve paper and make elections more efficient. Trials of an electronic certified roll system were conducted in selected early voting centres, Election Day polling booths and mobile polling teams across Australian electorates, including those of Canberra and Fraser.
“As you might know, when voters present to a polling booth to collect their ballot papers, a polling official checks and marks off their name from a hardcopy paper roll. This was the first election where an electronic version of the roll was used and hopefully will be expanded on for future elections,” said Mr Doolan.
This would not only make polling officials’ jobs easier, but it would also significantly cut down the paper required for electoral roll management on Election Day.
Vice Chancellors from ACT
[Notes:7 secs - vsion of today's meeting]
universities have met with the Chief Minister to discuss the development of the tertiary education sector.
NAME: KATY GALLAGHER, CHIEF MINISTER
IN WORDS: what are we
OUT WORDS: university town
(OUTWORDS:)\g< What are we going to do, what areas are we going to target, do we want to focus on international students, national students – how are we going to promote Canberra as a university town.>\y
Study Canberra is a strategy that will hopefully see an increase in both domestic and international students in the capital .
NAME: Prof. STEPHEN PARKER, UC VICE-CHANCELLOR
IN WORDS: we have plenty
OUT WORDS: a destination
(OUTWORDS:)\g< We have plenty of ideas about setting targets, about potentially a visit overseas in order to generate interest in Canberra as a destination.>\y
[Notes:9 secs plus safety]
VCs from the University of Canberra, the ANU and the AustralianCatholicUniversity will meet regularly.