Bill 62–The Animal Diseases Amendment Act
Hon. Jon Gerrard (River Heights): We are now at third reading of this Animal Diseases Amendment Act. We believe that biosecurity is important, and we've seen in the pandemic the concerns that can exist from problems with biosecurity. The virus, which was initially in an area of Wuhan–there were not adequate measures taken, and it has spread globally and we have a major pandemic.
Now, there are diseases in pigs and in other animals which can also spread and cause havoc among animal populations and in some cases may spread to human populations. So we see that biosecurity must be taken very seriously, and we will support this bill.
However, we do not agree with measures which appear to be suppressing the ability of people to protest. Indeed, it has been raised with us that aspects of this bill are probably unconstitutional because they limit rights of peaceable assembly and that this bill is likely to be subject to the court challenge and it is likely to be struck down.
In the report stage, we moved amendments which would have sought to provide some reassurance to those who are protestors and for those who are concerned about what is happening with animal rights. And these measures would have reaffirmed the ability of individuals to assemble peaceably in public locations, so long as they're not disturbing the transportation of the animals. These measures–these report stage amendments–would have allowed people to take photographs of the truck and the transportation.
Both of these are reasonable and we believe that this bill should have been changed to include these measures and that these measures might have helped this bill to be seen to be more fair and more reasonable than it was and is under the original design.
Mr. Dennis Smook, Acting Speaker, in the Chair
So, while we have sought for changes and a compromise which would have meant that those individuals who are concerned about the health of animals and to ensure that they have rights and abilities to watch what's happening, there, of course, also needs to be appropriate inspections and care. But there remains an important issue of biosecurity. And because the biosecurity issue is of such importance at this juncture, as we're seeing with the pandemic, then we will support this legislation and vote yes.
Thank you, merci, miigwech.