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Thursday, 14 October 1971
Page: 2350

Mr KELLY (WAKEFIELD, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - My question is addressed to the Minister for Customs and Excise. Is the Minister aware that galahs are a pest in many parts of Australia and that in this situation farmers are allowed to wring the necks of these birds, if they can catch them? Is the Minister's Department responsible for enforcing the regulations which prevent the export of galahs to other countries? Are those regulations based only on a desire to be kind to galahs? Looking at it from the point of view of the galahs, does the Minister think that they would prefer to have their necks wrung or to be exported in gilded cages on padded perches in luxurious aeroplanes?

Mr CHIPP - The honourable gentleman is correct. I think that since the late 1950s there has been a prohibition on the export of native fauna - and galahs are classified in this category - without the explicit permission of the Minister for Customs and Excise.- The criteria laid down by the Government relate to total prohibition on, I think, 3 native species - the platypus, the lyre bird and the koala - and for all other native fauna the criterion is that export of species can be approved if it is on a zoo to zoo basis and if research indicates that the zoo to which they are being exported will not deal commercially in them.

I should like to comment on the apparent, if not real, incongruity of the situation so far as kangaroos are concerned. They come into this question. The incongruity that has occurred to me before is that hundreds of thousands of kangaroos, if not more, are slaughtered in Australia each year and their meat is put into tins and exported, but because of the situation export is not permitted of one or two live kangaroos unless the above criterion is met. This Government policy was the result of very strong representations from wildlife authorities back in the 1950s when export was allowed, and it was shown that cruelties were being inflicted on native fauna. But whether the situation now is completely cured by this attitude, I do not know. We know, for example, that a great number of birds are smuggled out of Australia 'in very cruel' and inhumane circumstances.

Dr Klugman - White slavery.

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The humour has gone far enough. The Minister is endeavouring to' make a serious reply to a rather flippant question and I think that the House should listen to him without interruption.

Mr CHIPP - The honourable member for Prospect sees some humour in the situation. I think that if he had been anaesthetised and stuffed into a suitcase wilh 52 other birds he might find the situation singularly lacking in humour. However, I am glad that the honourable members for Wakefield has raised this matter. It is a difficult one. That is the Government's policy, and I would welcome representations from people interested in this matter.

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