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Thursday, 15 December 1983
Page: 3883

Senator ELSTOB —My question is to the Attorney-General. It refers to today's news that the New Zealand Government has introduced legislation to stop people avoiding parking fines by registering their cars in their dogs' names. Is the Attorney aware of any similar practices in use in Australia? If so, can he advise whether this practice has bitten into the potential revenue of State governments and whether there is any evidence of any discrimination against any particular breed of dog, such as the brown dog? Would such a situation validate the need for legislation here to allow these dogs right of appeal through an animal rights commission which could perhaps be initiated by Senator Chipp? Alternatively, does the Attorney anticipate legislation being introduced in the States to cover this practice, or could that action be seen as barking up the wrong tree?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I will not emulate one of my less distinguished predecessors in this office and say 'woof, woof' in answer to that question. But what do I say? As I am sure the Select Committee on Animal Welfare will establish, even under Senator Georges's chairmanship, a dog's life in this country is not always a happy one although, of course, from time to time there are some splendid moments when the species does get its own back, as occurred recently, of course, in Kingaroy. I took it that Senator Elstob was in fact proposing anti-discrimination legislation for dogs. That kind of legislation is appropriate for the States traditionally rather than for the Commonwealth although being, as I suppose some honourable senators opposite would describe me , a mad dog centralist I would, of course, be receptive to any suggestion, particularly given the state of affairs Senator Elstob described in New Zealand, of entering into a bilateral treaty in order to acquire power under the external affairs power to pass national legislation of this kind.