Speeches of Note
Louise Pfeiffer's Speech
Animal Justice Party Candidate (SA)
I’d like to start by thanking Peter Manuels and FLAG Australia for the invitation to be here tonight. It’s my first public appearance as a political candidate and I’m glad to be here to learn more about the issues facing farmers and land owners. Good evening to the other candidates, it’s been an honour to meet all of you here tonight.
Born in Murray Bridge, descendants of Bulgarian market gardeners and German wine growers. In fact, my ancestry extends to Johann Georg Boehm, one of Hahndorf’s 52 founding families: My great uncle was a sheep farmer in Yunta, who I visited often as a child. My paternal grandfather worked at the abbatoir in Murray Bridge.
After living in the country for the first 10 years of my life, I completed my schooling and university in Adelaide before heading interstate to both Sydney and Melbourne where I spent 17 years working in financial services. On my return to South Australia in 2015, my husband and I bought a home and have settled in the Adelaide Hills with our two children.
I joined the Animal Justice Party and am running as a candidate because it’s the only political party that aligns closely with more core values of kindness, equality and nonviolence. What I also like about the Animal Justice Party is that they aren’t politically aligned – neither left nor right – and instead rationality is what drives its policies. Decisions are based on the party’s core values and positions on their merits. At the same time the party allows me to bring my experience in finance, economics, and business to the table, and it’s this experience that has somewhat helped me - and I’m sure I’ll be corrected if I’m wrong – identify some of the issues that will affect farmers in the country in the coming years and how the AJP wants to help. Let me start by saying that the AJP is pro-farmer.
The vegan community would likely be upset if they heard this, as most of the farming in Australia is that of animals. So it’s potentially counter intuitive for the AJP to take that stance. Allow me to explain. We want to work with farmers to ensure they can continue to productively work the land, get paid well, and keep putting food on the table for our country.
The role of farmer involves being forecasters, economists, hydraulics engineers, irrigation, experts in heavy machinery and much much more. I know farmers to be amazing, multi-skilled intelligent people who understand also they have to plan for the future.
However, I think and the AJP thinks that the writing is on the wall, that people are demanding different products over time… and we don’t want our farmers or the animals to suffer when things change. You may have heard news lately about new products that are hitting our shelves both now, and products that are coming in the future.
Things such as plant-based meat analogues and clean meat - the demand for plant-based food has been increasing year on year over the past decade. Clean meat is lab-grown meat, grown from a single biopsy from an animal. Clean meat and plant-based “meat” burgers are being invested in heavily by the likes of Bill Gates and Richard Branson. And just last month, Tyson Foods, the 27Bn US meat manufacturer – the second largest in the WORLD - announced their second investment in non-animal meat companies through it’s investment into clean meat pioneer Memphis Meats. Last year Tyson Foods also took a stake (is that a pun) in a second plant-based meat producer called Beyond Meat. Within a decade it will be on supermarket shelves and will be affordable and convenient for most, and the meat will come without any cholesterol, the environmental or water impact, and with zero use of animals. Dairy is also becoming less popular, the growth in the non-dairy alternatives growing 10% year on year. There are reasons for this change in appetite that include the health impacts of meat consumption becoming better known, along with the news that the emissions from animal agriculture here in Australia exceeds that of the coal industry.
Globally, animal agriculture contributes more to greenhouse gas emissions than every car, bus, plane, train – more than all forms of transportation combined. Consumers are becoming aware of this and their concerns are growing, spending and dietary habits changing. What I am aware of, from an economics perspective, is that reduced demand of conventional foods will have a negative impact on not only animal farmers, it will not be a good outcome for the animals as additional pressures mount. The AJP’s policy is to help farmers over time transition to more sustainable, plant-based agriculture. This will be done through education and training, much like the government helped tobacco farmers transition to other crops earlier this century. Consumers want to continue to have good quality, clean food. They also don’t want pressure on farmers who may then have to cut corners and neither do we. We want our farmers to continue to put food on our table, and the AJP wants to help. Please visit our website to see our policies on this, please vote for us, and we would welcome the opportunity to work with farmers and land owners over coming years.
Angela Martin's Speech
Animal Justice Party Candidate (SA)
Good morning everyone and thank you for sharing your Sunday morning to be present here at Parliament House, to stand untited, to stand strong and to stand loud.
My name is Angela Martin and I am here to represent the Animal Justice Party.
I am truly sorry to be here this morning, WHY, because after the horrific 60 minutes’ report, I expected our government, to accept, that this cruel and barbaric trade needs to end now. But last Friday, the government allowed another death ship, the Bader III, a ship that has a history of noncompliance with government regulations, a multi-story rust bucket that lacks basic ventilation and sanitation.
OUR government allowed it to load, 30,000 sheep and 1,500 cattle here in Port Adelaide and another 30,000 sheep and cattle and an unknown number of camels in Fremantle.
A total of approx. 63,000 animals, unbelievable isn’t it and this density is acceptable by Australian standards for live export. The government claims this to be world’s best practice.
This, they allowed, despite, the huge outcry from the Australian people.
The appalling vision portrayed in the 60 minutes’ report was actually the “mild” footage, there is worse footage that is too graphic and too horrific for our eyes.
But what we did see, was horrific enough, animals slowly and agonisingly dying in extreme heat and humidity, unable to get to food or water due to the overcrowding, forced to stand for weeks on end in their own excrement, baby lambs born on the vessels only to be trampled on or drowning in the pools of faeces. And even with this” mild “footage, Australians were horrified and traumatised, it was just too much to bear. But, yet, Live export continues!!!
This unflinching government has shown us, that it does not care that WE, Australians are hurting, it does not care that we are traumatised and it does not care that we are horrified at the cruelty that exists on board these long-haul voyages.
The (expected) arrival of the Al Shuwaikh today proves nothing has changed, voters haven’t been heard and animals continue to suffer.
This is the fourth hell-hole vessel to leave our shores since the expose.
The RSPCA, last week, held a survey, and 3 out of 4 Australians, want
to BAN LIVE EXPORT.
The people of Israel, marched, 3,000 strong in protest against the cruelty of this disgusting trade from Australia.
But yet this trade continues!!! The Liberal Government, the Department of Agriculture and David Littleproud are sending us a very strong message, money before
compassion, money before animal welfare, money before morality.
The Financial review came out last week and modelled the industry. The maths shows that the country will not be impacted financially by banning live animal export, as the Liberal government will have us believe.
So what IS stopping the government.
Could it be the multi-million dollar deals struck with the Emmanuel group and the other ship carriers, could it be that the government is putting these “deals” before the welfare of our animals.
David Littleproud, said he was gutted and announced yet another immediate inquiry, a review into the regulation of the industry, with a whistle-blowers’ hotline. For heaven’s sake Minister, stop the platitudes and rhetoric and ban this vile trade.
The Guardian, reported earlier this month that the Australian regulators had failed to penalise live exporters, despite multiple
mass animal deaths and 70 reported breaches of welfare standards.
The evidence is real, this industry is cruel and unacceptable by any moral standards
We stand untied, the Australian people want LIVE EXPORT BANNED, and as a matter of urgency, we ask our government to immediately revoke licences to the exporters
The system is filled with evidence of gross negligence, abuse and cover up and we are drawing a line in the sand, this STOPS NOW. I believed I had covered the important issues in my speech, until Malcom Turnbull’s unfeeling statement on Thursday, that the
reaction from the Labour Party to ban live sheep exports was a emotional response.
Of course it is an emotional response Mr. Prime Minister, we have emotions, and we care greatly for our animals. Through the vast expansive coverage of social media, with this
comment, you have offended every caring person on this planet, NOT just Australians. What a BULLY you are to belittle the feelings of human beings.
Shame on you!!!!
Mark Pearson (AJP) Inaugural Speech
It is indeed a privilege and honour to be the first member of Parliament elected by the people of New South Wales on the platform of animal protection, animal wellbeing and animal welfare. This is the second country in the world that has elected a member of Parliament on this platform. The first country was Holland where, four years ago, Marianne Thieme of the Dutch Party for the Animals was elected to the Dutch Parliament. Since then, two others have joined her. New South Wales is the third jurisdiction in the world to have elected people to parliament on the basis of animal protection and animal wellbeing. Last year the European Union elected two people, one from Germany and one from Holland, to the European Parliament on the platform of animal protection and wellbeing.
I am extremely privileged and honoured that Australia, together with those other countries, is leading the world in electing somebody to the halls of parliament to be a voice for the wellbeing of vulnerable and voiceless beings who cannot request help themselves. On three occasions yesterday the Governor referred to this as being an important function and a necessity for a government to embrace.
There are political parties relating to animal welfare in 12 other countries of the world. As well as in Australia, they exist in Holland, Britain, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Cyprus, Turkey, France, the United States and, very recently, Finland. Moves are afoot to bring animal protection—a shield and a sword for animals—to Singapore, Vietnam and China as well as the Middle East where they will soon be having their first conference about the protection of animals, supported and arranged by Princess Alia of Jordan. This is a new era, a new chapter of a very important, fundamental and ethical shift in the consciousness of people about the wellbeing of those who cannot speak for themselves.
It is interesting that 193 years ago, in 1822 in England, the first legislation for animal protection came about through the Cruel Treatment of Cattle Act. Richard Martin fought for five years in the House of Lords—over and over and over again—to bring this first legislation in the world to protect animals. They coined the name "Humanity Dick" for Richard Martin but he fought very hard. It is interesting that the legislation that was brought in was not about cute fluffy dogs or the majestic and wonderful whales of the world, but about cattle. One of the reasons Richard Martin fought so vigorously was because of the horrors he experienced in seeing horses flogged to death in the streets of London; the horrors of bear-baiting—and baiting has become well-known to us in this State and this country just recently—and because of dog fighting. These were the issues in his heart and on his mind and about which he was concerned.
It is helpful and constructive for us to understand that Richard Martin finally succeeded in getting the legislation through with the help of a wonderful philosopher, Jeremy Bentham. Bentham was ahead of his time. The argument he used was: It is not a matter as to whether an animal can think or reason; it is a matter of whether an animal can suffer. This compelling argument is what achieved the majority vote in the first parliament in the world to protect animals.
In 1824, two years later, Richard Martin helped to form the first prevention of cruelty to animals organisation, which was soon thereafter sanctioned by the Queen and named the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Richard Martin drew upon the principles of slavery, claiming similar rights for animals in relation to wellbeing, liberty and their freedom from being kept in a situation where they were at one's mercy and subject to one's beck and call or cruelty. Those principles helped bring prevention of cruelty to animals forward.
It is interesting to note that the legislation to protect animals was endorsed and enacted before legislation to protect children. It was drawn upon by the House of Lords in order to say that if there was legislation to protect animals, it was only right and proper to extrapolate that to the protection of children.
It is of note that Queen Victoria, I think every year, was given the opportunity to pardon a prisoner. It is of particular import that where the prisoner presented had committed heinous acts of cruelty to animals, Queen Victoria never pardoned the prisoner. She struck the chord, set the tone of the profound importance of protecting those who are vulnerable, those who cannot protect themselves from us when they at our mercy. I may be incorrect, but I think I am the first person to be elected a member of Parliament in New South Wales, under the sovereignty of the Queen, who has as his or her principal platform the protection of animals. I think that is quite historic and I enjoy being part of that historic movement.
Why did the Animal Justice Party form? It was because it became clear that thousands of people were outraged by what was happening to our live export animals. We saw thousands and thousands of people gather on the streets of Sydney, as well as in all of the capital cities and smaller cities across Australia, after they witnessed the horrendous treatment of our live export animals—both during their transport on ships and in their handling and slaughter. What compelled us to consider a party for animals was that the people who came together on the street to protest about live exports were cattle producers standing beside butchers, standing beside lawyers, standing beside clergy, standing beside poor and animal rights people in their dreadlocks. These people were standing together, outraged by what was happening to our exported animals. Importantly, we are not talking about cats and dogs and beautiful, majestic whales, which also are important and must be protected; we are talking about sheep, the animals upon which the economy of Australia was built, and cattle. These are farm animals, often not looked upon in the same way as are dogs and cats.
In the Australian Capital Territory many people witnessed the killing of thousands of kangaroos. From where the kangaroos were being herded up and goaded, tranquillised and then shot, one could see in the distance the coat of arms of the Federal Government of Australia. On that coat of arms, as in this Chamber, is the kangaroo. Yet in the Australian Capital Territory, 300 or 400 metres away, kangaroos—including their joeys—were being rounded up, tranquillised and killed. This caused enormous trauma to a lot of people who were trying to protect them. So it was those two major events—the treatment of live export animals and the trauma that many, many people in the Australian Capital Territory felt—that caused the first meeting here in Sydney to consider the forming of a political party for animals, the Animal Justice Party.
Recently we have seen footage of the live baiting of greyhound. It was extraordinary that across Australia many, many people were outraged by this practice. Very interestingly, the outrage was not only about the cruelty, torment and torture of the animals used in live baiting, but also about the presumption of regularity. The presumption of regularity is often referred to in the courts of Australia when the actions or proposed actions of a government are brought before the court. The court says that we must get over the bar of the presumption of regularity—that the government of the day is looking after the matter and ensuring that the right thing is being done for animals.
The outrage and concern of the public was that people assumed they had elected a government that would look out for the welfare of the animals and ensure that the acts that caused this outrage and concern do not happen. As was exposed through Four Corners, the investigations of police and colleagues of mine established that live baiting is a practice that is systemic, that is criminal, that is ongoing and that many who knew about it turned a blind eye. This expose struck at the trust and presumption in the community that proper regulation and enforcement was in place to ensure against these practices.
It is very interesting that police at very high levels are now taking the issue of animal cruelty very seriously indeed. It is coined the cycle of violence; that wherever harm is inflicted on animals, whether in a home or other situation, it is likely, and very often the case, that there will be, if not at the time, domestic abuse, child abuse and maybe worse. From a study of the history of serial killers, it is clear that they started with harming, tormenting and torturing animals. So the police are taking very seriously that animal abuse is a marker for human abuse. It is important that we grasp and understand this; and it is very important that, now the people of New South Wales have voted into Parliament somebody to press this issue, we need to address animal suffering as a clear measure of the civilisation of our society.
There is before the Parliament various legislation, I think called biosecurity legislation, that is similar to legislation proposed in South Australia. One term for it is Ad-gag, essentially legislation that is currently before a Federal committee of inquiry. Many parts of that legislation are about restraining and stopping whistleblowers—people who have gone to properties, or worked in places, and have documented evidence of animal cruelty. Rather than legislation being put in place to try to find the perpetrators of cruelty, or install mandatory CCTV cameras, et cetera, to document cruelty to animals and address this cruelty in a proactive and positive way, those pieces of legislation—one before the Federal Government and one which will soon be before this Government—is about punishing, and punishing very severely, the people who have had the courage, on many occasions risking their personal liberties, to document and record what is often systemic cruelty to animal s in abattoirs, factory farms or intensive farms, et cetera.
This legislation is draconian and extremely serious, and we need to grapple with it in an ethical and sensible way. Recently we saw and were outraged by the cruelty to several species as a result of live baiting being used with greyhounds. If this legislation is passed, rather than the perpetrators being properly dealt with according to law, it would be informants, such as the people who put in place the cameras for surveillance, and the programs such as ABC's Four Corners. Those people involved would face charges under that legislation that could lead to possible imprisonment. This is an extraordinary situation. This Government must turn its mind to how this sits with freedom of speech, the principles of prevention of cruelty to animals, and the principles of the rights of people to document what might be considered to be cruelty to animals.
I have a colourful background and many of my colleagues here have shared that colourful background with me. I draw the attention of the House to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. In 1995 we tried hard to stop the tethering of sows in Parkville piggery, which belonged to Paul Keating. Pregnant sows had metal collars around their necks and they were tethered to iron cages. They were confined for most of their lives until they were sent out to slaughter, which would have been the first time they felt the sun on their backs or saw the grass of the fields.
What happened in that place is a result of section 9 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. This legislation is about preventing cruelty to animals. Section 9 is about exercise. A person in charge of an animal must provide that animal with exercise. Section 9 (1) says that person is not guilty of an offence if that animal is of a class of stock animal, or an animal which is usually kept in captivity by means of a cage. This section imposes a positive duty upon a person in charge of an animal to provide it with exercise, yet an exemption is put in place when we deal with thousands or tens of thousands of animals in one place, which is called factory farming.
That day I, with many of my colleagues, went to Parkville piggery and we chained ourselves next to these sows. Despite numerous complaints from people who were working in the piggery and people who were slaughtering the animals in the abattoir, nothing was happening for these animals. As an activist, I participated in going to the piggery and chaining myself next to the sows. Something interesting happened that day. As we were being arrested and processed at the police station—and they were the days when one had to put one's finger on ink—the Minister for Agriculture, Richard Amery, announced on the front steps of Parliament House that as of 1996, the next year, the tethering of cows in piggeries would be a specific offence under law.
That is the reason for my colourful past and I have now taken on another colour in this House. It is important that we work hard for these animals because they cannot speak for themselves. I hope to bring to this House a question as to whether it is appropriate that the portfolio of animal welfare or animal protection belong to the Minister for Primary Industries. The Department of Primary Industries protects primary industries and many of them have animals and the Minister for Primary Industries has the responsibility to protect those industries. It is not appropriate to have animal welfare and animal protection in such a portfolio. That portfolio should be placed in a ministry that is completely neutral to an industry's interests in using animals. I hope that at some stage we can have a debate as to whether the portfolio of animal protection should be moved to the police, who have more powers than the Royalty Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals [RSPCA]. They have powers to obtain warrants and to install surveillance to document cruelty to animals.
There are hundreds of dogs and cats at this very moment in pounds and shelters across this State. They are completely healthy animals. They are quite adoptable, but they are unwanted. If they are not adopted within seven days, they are killed. They are healthy animals, capable of being rehabilitated if they have problems. They are not animals that are vicious or dangerous or so diseased and sick that they need to be euthanased. At 5.00 p.m. this Friday veterinarians will go to these pounds and they will kill the cats and dogs.
At the same time, as was exposed by Oscar's law in the paper last Sunday, we have sheds all over this State with thousands of animals that are breeding machines. They are breeding cosmetic, pretty-looking dogs. The bitches in these puppy farms are impregnated and deliver litters over and over. After several years their bodies are broken. They are rendered worthless and then killed. These animals are being sold in pet shops and, at the same time, we have healthy unwanted animals waiting for adoption that are being killed because we have an industry that is breeding animals. I will ask this House to address—as the Victorian Government is doing—whether the puppy farms should be banned, phased out, and rendered to the scrap heap of history. It is unconscionable to have animals bred like this because it causes a lot of suffering.
The other important issue is that the RSPCA is a charitable organisation. It receives minimal Government funds and relies on legacies and donations to survive. Yet it has been given the main prosecutorial and investigative powers under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The Act is about criminal activity. We would not want childcare centres in every community to be the administrative instrument for the Childcare Protection Act; that would be uncalled for. The RSPCA has a long history of respect and support, and it has a function, but it is time to put into question whether the RSPCA should be the main administrator of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.
The people of New South Wales have elected me because the protection of animals is important to many, and that importance is continuing to grow nationally and internationally. The Animal Justice Party can be seen as a single issue party—I thought that when I was participating in its formation. Rather, it is a single purpose party with multiple issues. Interestingly, the Party for the Animals in Holland has found that about 80 per cent of issues that come before this House have some impact one way or another on the lives of animals. But even if the issues brought before this House are not directly or indirectly related to animals, the Animal Justice Party will apply the principles of compassion and consideration to any legislation being considered. Our relationship with animals throughout time is extremely important and complex. It is very much a part of our humanity—for example, I refer to those homeless, broken people in their dirty and torn clothes that we often see in Hyde Park feeding crusts to the pigeons. Clearly they enjoy that experience of interaction.
Many men and women have fallen in war. Messenger pigeons that can brilliantly read the magnetic field around this earth have delivered messages which have stopped the sinking of ships and the killing of thousands of soldiers. Some 130,000 Australian horses were sent to the First World War, not one returned. Not one program was implemented to return even one horse. Yesterday both the Governor and the President spoke about the importance of mateship in war. Many have written about their mate being a horse, a dog or a donkey. The animals with which we share the land, air and water of this country are deeply interwoven with our sense of ethics and culture; we are indebted to them.
Ghandi managed to have Britain leave India without any blood being spilt. He said very clearly that the measure of the civilisation of a country is how it treats its animals. It is important for the vulnerable to be looked after because it also reflects how we look after our children, as well as our disabled and homeless people. Those who cannot advocate for themselves need us to advocate for them and we need to advocate more for animals. As I said before, that is why people of New South Wales have elected me to this Parliament and it is my hope that many others will be elected to other national and international Parliaments.
I thank all those who have supported me over the years. It would take too long to name them all and some are not here today. Many have helped me over the past 23 years to grapple with a profound understanding of animals and I am still learning about their complexity, beauty and majesty. In conclusion, Christine Townend, who founded Animal Liberation Australia, once said to me that it is going to be the gradual and growing profound understanding of the majesty, beauty and mystery of animals that does and will nourish the very vest in ourselves and it may well save us from the worst in ourselves.