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Tuesday, 12 June 1984
Page: 2827

Senator MARTIN(4.46) —I move:

That the Senate take note of the paper.

I do not intend to speak at length because the subject of the ministerial statement has been debated in the past. I only say on behalf of the Opposition that we welcome what is basically a very realistic statement. In the House of Representatives, when the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment (Mr Cohen) delivered the statement, the shadow Minister for the Environment, Mr David Connolly, pointed out that the Minister had substantially changed his views from the time when he was in opposition. We pride ourselves on some consistency.

As a recipient of a number of letters from the United States of America, I am dismayed at the campaign of ignorance that is being conducted overseas; a campaign, of course, in which the film Goodbye Joey figured prominently. Extracts from that movie were shown on national television in the United States last year. Despite the fact that the extracts shown were subject to criticism, nevertheless well-meaning people in the United States have been taken in by a quite scurrilous and unworthy piece of what purports to be a documentary, the worst parts of which were either faked or misrepresented-notably the skinning of a young joey.

There are a number of concerns, of course, about kangaroo shooting in Australia . The most widespread and best founded concern is the illegal shooting of kangaroos. Whilst many people have been quite pious on the subject of illegal shooting, at the same time supporting a legal culling, there has not been very much movement by authorities to monitor the illegal shooting of kangaroos. If the government quotas could be adhered to, we would all be heartened. It is the illegal shooting and the terrible acts undertaken by some of the barbarians who are involved in the illegal shooting that cause the concern. I, for one, would not subscribe to a view that the culling should be done by government shooters. Those who hunt kangaroos professionally-not the illegal shooters of kangaroos- have an interest in a clean kill, not in damaging or wounding the kangaroo, with attendant loss of value to the meat and the hide. If government were to take over this culling, all we would have would be the same shooters working for a government salary without a profit being involved. I, for one, do not see anything--

Senator Georges —I don't think you know what you are talking about now.

Senator MARTIN —Actually, I know quite a bit about it.

Senator Georges —You ought to see the results of kangaroo shooting at present.

Senator MARTIN —I am sure Senator Georges in not referring to the licensed hunters of kangaroos who seek the meat and the hides of kangaroos which are permitted to be shot under government quotas. As I said a minute ago, those men have an interest in a clean kill. If there were not a kangaroo skin and meat industry, the kangaroos would still have to be culled, probably shot by the same people but be on the Government payroll. The logic of that escapes me. For those who campaign in the United States and Europe to stop the export of kangaroos products there is no willingness at all to face that reality; the fact that kangaroos in Australia still have to be culled.

I congratulate the Minister on his move towards reasonableness and maturity in his views on the subject of kangaroos. I notice that Senator Peter Rae who has indicated to me his wish to speak on this statement is here now so I shall not seek leave to continue my remarks later but I may seek another opportunity to speak on this subject.