Weatherill Labor Party MPs Vote that Animal Welfare Issues are Not 'in the Public Interest'

Weatherill Government members of the SA Upper House this morning voted against Labor’s own original clause, asserting that footage of animal welfare abuses were not to be considered ‘in the public interest’ by the courts when considering their publication. The vote took place as part of the Surveillance Devices Bill 2015 debate, which is set to be read a third time tomorrow.   

“In a curious deal done with the Liberal Opposition - who have made no secret of the fact that they support Ag-Gag Laws - the Weatherill Labor Government MPs this morning rejected a Greens move to retain Labor’s own original clause that animal welfare is in the public interest,” Ms Franks said.

“This Bill will now gag animal advocates, employees and whistleblowers. This means that footage, such as that seen on ABC’s Four Corners as a result of Animals Australia’s undercover surveillance that exposed the greyhound racing industry’s horrific live baiting practices would be considered by South Australian Labor not to be ‘in the public interest’.

“The position of SA Labor in silencing animal advocacy flies in the face of the position of Federal Labor to oppose Ag-Gag legislation. Premier Jay Weatherill and Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten should be on the same page – and should both oppose ag-gag laws wherever they occur.

“This morning’s events prove that Labor is not to be trusted as a voice for the voiceless. They will even silence those who expose cruelty. Those who voted for ‘Jay4SA’ because they saw Labor’s promises of exposing and ending puppy farms and other animal exploitation will be left wondering exactly what their vote was for,” Ms Franks concluded.

Greens MLC Tammy Franks says the Surveillance Devices Bill 2015 is an ‘ag-gag’ bill by another name with the potential to gag animal advocates, employees, whistleblowers and the media on issues of animal cruelty – a view supported by the Law Society in its submission of November 26, 2015.

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