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Tuesday, 8 May 1984
Page: 1772

(Question No. 792)


Senator Missen asked the Minister representing the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment, upon notice, on 3 April 1984:

Why was the 'Australia: Current Report' issued by the Australian Information Service in June 1983 published containing the following false statements:

(a) that there was a population estimate of 19 million Red, Eastern Grey and Western Grey Kangaroos in 1981 when Professor Ovington has estimated the population in fact as 10 to 12 million;

(b) that during good years kangaroos increase rapidly in numbers;

(c) that the Wildlife Protection (Regulation of Exports and Imports) Act 1982 was soon to be proclaimed; and

(d) that the partly skinned live kangaroo shown in the film Goodbye Joey was ' probably the victim of a dog attack' when there is no evidence to support such an allegation.


Senator Ryan —The Minister for Home Affairs and Environment has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

The 'Australia: Current Report' issued by the Australian Information Service in June 1983 does not contain false statements.

(a) The estimated population of 19 million Red, Eastern Grey and Western Grey Kangaroos in 1981 is taken from a paper written by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and University of Sydney scientists and published in 1983. Professor Ovington has not estimated the population as 10 to 12m in 1981.

(b) The statement apparently being referred to is: Red kangaroos are common throughout their range. Good seasons may initiate dramatic increases in the size of kangaroo populations, and they converge on better quality pastures, compete with sheep, and necessitate local reductions in their numbers.

This is a statement by W. E. Poole, a principal research scientist with the CSIRO division of wildlife and rangelands research, and a leading kangaroo expert.

(c) The Act has been proclaimed and will come into effect on 1 May 1984.

(d) The photograph referred to was taken at an Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals animal shelter in an inner Sydney suburb. As stated in the publication, RSPCA staff members, including the Executive Director in NSW, have stated publicly and categorically that, whatever the cause of the animal's injury, it was not done, and could not have been done, by a professional kangaroo shooter. The statement that the animal was 'probably the victim of a dog attack' was based on advice from an RSPCA official.