Greyhounds Export

TUESDAY 30 MAY 2017

Greyhounds Export

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 15:08 :01 ): Thank you, Mr President. I'm not sure how I can follow that one up. I seek leave to make a brief explanation before addressing a question on the topic of greyhound export to the Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation.

Leave granted.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: According to the RSPCA, in 2015 a total of 624 Australian greyhounds were exported to a number of destinations, including China, Macau, Vietnam and South America. In past days, it has been reported by The Sydney Morning Herald that tourists are being encouraged to attend a '100-metre race show' between an 'African cheetah and Australian greyhound' for the title of 'fastest animal in the kingdom' by the Shanghai Wild Animal Park in China.

It is further asserted in these reports that there are approximately 40 greyhounds at this animal park and some of them are as young as two years old and that these dogs are being kept in hot, dark, concrete cells in atrocious conditions. Indeed, English-based greyhound protection worker Kerry Elliman has visited that site and tried to negotiate the release of these greyhounds. She has seen and documented recorded footage of the animals which completely contradicts the so-called 'paradise' and 'warm home for animals' as publicised in the park's advertising.

I note that this park previously came to the attention of the Australian public when Animals Australia had an investigation that exposed that unwanted domestic greyhounds were being exported to this zoo. The dogs are in squalid housing, they are distressed and they are not given adequate room or time to exercise, Animals Australia at that time informed the Australian public. As a result, in 2015 Qantas stopped the freight of greyhounds to Asia.

National racing rules, of course, imposed by Greyhounds Australasia prohibit the export of greyhounds unless they have a permit, which is granted if overseas jurisdictions meet Australian animal welfare standards. However, the federal government has so far refused to toughen legislation and make their export illegal, while Greyhounds Australasia's power in issuing these passports only extends to those people who are registered with the organisation. My question to the minister is: can the minister confirm that none of these dogs in the Shanghai Wild Animal Park in China are of South Australian origin?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 15:10 :30 ): I thank the honourable member for her most important question. My answer is no.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 15:10 :36 ): Supplementary: has the minister undertaken any due diligence to ensure that these dogs did not originate in South Australia?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 15:10 :48 ): The honourable member seems to be under some misapprehension that I have ministerial portfolio responsibilities for the issue she is raising, including the export of animals to Shanghai and other places, the housing of animals and overseas export. As I understand it, and indeed from part of her question, a large part of this responsibility lies with the federal government and, in any case, other matters related to greyhounds lie with the Minister for Racing in the other place.

If she would like to put together a series of questions for me to direct to the minister in the other place, or indeed to the federal government, I am happy to oblige, but I don't know how she can expect that I, with no portfolio responsibilities for the issue she is raising, should be able to answer the question for her today.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 15:11 :35 ): Does the minister dispute that he has carriage of the Animal Welfare Act? Why then has the minister previously introduced legislation with regard to the welfare of greyhounds in this state to this place?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 15:11 :47 ): It seems pretty logical to me that the Animal Welfare Act pertains to animals kept in South Australia. The honourable member is talking about export out of the country to overseas destinations. None of these levers I have any control over.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 15:12 :20 ): Supplementary: does the minister expect the South Australian public to buy his complete lack of interest in this area as the minister responsible for animal welfare in this state?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 15:12 :32 ): I expect the South Australian public would be completely embarrassed by the Hon. Tammy Franks coming in here asking half cocked, ill prepared questions and not directing them to the place they should be directed to.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 15:12 :46 ): Is lack of ministerial responsibility for portfolios a trait of the Weatherill government, or simply an individual trait of you as a minister?

The Hon. R.I. Lucas: It's just arrogance—arrogance.

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 15:12 :58 ): The tick of arrogance in this place goes to the Hon. Mr Lucas, of course,. He is a past number one ticket holder in the arrogance team. No-one can hope to surpass him in that measure. If the Hon. Tammy Franks wants to ask a series of questions, do her homework, work out who the responsible minister is, I am very happy to take those questions to the responsible minister and get an answer for her. But please, do your homework first; don't come here and grandstand.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 15:13 :27 ): Supplementary: can the minister define which parts of the Animal Welfare Act the racing minister has carriage of?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 15:13 :36 ): Mr President, I said to her moments ago that I am responsible for the Animal Welfare Act, for animals housed in South Australia. She is complaining about animals that are being exported overseas, to destinations such as Shanghai and possibly other places. I already have said to her that export matters are under the control of the federal government. I am happy to take on notice any well-researched questions she wants to direct to me, but I ask her not stand in here and grandstand on an issue that she knows nothing about.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order!

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS ( 15:14 :10 ): Final supplementary: I understand that the dogs have been marked with trainer numbers. Will the minister undertake to work with the racing minister to explore whether these animals have come from South Australia originally?

The Hon. I.K. HUNTER (Minister for Sustainability, Environment and Conservation, Minister for Water and the River Murray, Minister for Climate Change) ( 15:14 :26 ): At least if she had phrased it that way, I could undertake to take that question to the Minister for Racing to seek a response on her behalf. But clearly she was not after a meaningful answer; she just came in here to grandstand, as is her usual wont.

 

 

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