Greens MLC Tammy Franks today introduced a Bill to the South Australian Parliament to ensure that the exposure of animal cruelty would be considered as being ‘in the public interest’ with consideration of the broadcast of footage of animal cruelty obtained through surveillance devices. The Greens Bill would allow for the recording and publication of material by any party where this material is in the public interest without the need to first obtain a court order.
The Government’s new Surveillance Devices Act 2016 is yet to commence.
Greens Animal Welfare Spokesperson Tammy Franks says: “In recent months Labor members actually voted against their own original provision in the Surveillance Devices Act designed to protect the exposure of animal cruelty and in so doing, they asserted that footage of animal welfare abuses were not to be considered ‘in the public interest’.
“Labor’s original version however was flawed in that only the RSPCA would be allowed to release such footage. The RSPCA rejected this approach that they neither asked for nor were in a position to facilitate.
“Yet in a move more in the realm of ‘Veep’ than ‘House of Cards’ the Government in the debate then deleted the entire section that both gave the RSPCA this role as arbiter and provided for animal welfare to be viewed as ‘in the public interest’ not just the half of that clause that referred to the RSPCA. They threw the baby out with the bathwater.
“Clearly many Labor MPs were not aware of their own backflip mid-debate on this legislation as from the Premier down they assured concerned constituents corresponding on the Bill that animal welfare was specifically provided for in the legislation as being ‘in the public interest’. In the final vote however they were not, and that was a last minute change made to the Bill by Labor.
“The Weatherill Government has repeatedly laid claim to standing against animal cruelty. Let them show that they still do so by actually voting for animal welfare to be seen as in the public interest and so allow for exposés of animals cruelty obtained through the use of surveillance devices to be seen on our TV and computer screens,” Ms Franks concluded.