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Friday, 5 October 1984
Page: 1328

Senator BOSWELL —My question is addressed to Senator Georges in his capacity as Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare. I respect Senator Georges's position as the independent Chairman of the Committee-his stand on matters of principle is well known in this place.

Senator Cook —Is that a question?

Senator BOSWELL —No, it is not. The question is coming. I ask him, so that he can get a broader perspective of animal and wildlife management by rural people, to accompany rural industry leaders and me, in the Christmas recess, on a western inspection of our joint electorate where I can show him first hand kangaroo culling programs and the care that graziers and farmers take of their livestock.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Senator Georges, do you understand that as spokesman for the Committee you can reply only to something that relates to the Committee?

Senator GEORGES —Of course; I would not dare do anything else. I thank the honourable senator for his invitation. I know that considerable concern has been expressed in the rural industry at the appointment of this Committee by the Senate. I also know that that concern was increased considerably when I was appointed as Chairman. I have a reputation in Queensland of being an urban guerrilla. As one rural newspaper put it, I am not exactly an apostle of the rural industry. I assure them that their concern is misplaced.

The Committee will carry out inquiries in rural areas and will take advantage of invitations such as the one Senator Boswell has given. As to the matter of kangaroo culling, I do not know whether Senator Boswell suggests that we ought to go together on a kangaroo shooting expedition. If that is the case, I cannot imagine myself stumbling around the bush in the dark with Senator Boswell. In that situation I know who would be shot, and it would not be the kangaroo. However, could I suggest to him that he ought not to use the word 'cull'; he ought to be using the word 'harvest'. There is a very significant difference between those words. Culling is carried out in the interests of the species. However, I would suspect that harvesting may not be in the interests of the kangaroo species. However, we will be examining the problem very comprehensively . At present the Committee is looking at the problems of live sheep exports and also--

Senator Archer —The question of live sheep exports.

Senator GEORGES —I am sorry; it is a problem. Whether there is a solution to the problem of live sheep exports and also kangaroo management in Australia is another matter. The Committee has a number of references, which will take quite some time. If we find that there are delays, we will bring down interim reports. It will be a costly exercise for the Committee. Having had experience of what is going on in Senate Committee rooms 1 and 2, we might make an application for a Budget before the money runs out.