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Georgie Purcell MP - Sitting Week 30th May - 1st June

Parliamentary speeches and updates for Georgie Purcell MP - Sitting Week 30th May - 1st June 2023

Speeches this week include a Question Without Notice on the Poultry Industry & Chicken Welfare, a Constituency Question on Bow Hunting, her contribution to the debate on the Gambling Taxation Bill, an Adjournment Matter on Duck Hunting and her Member's Statement on Henry, one of her beloved sheep who passed away in May.

As she has done each sitting week, Georgie reads in a notice of motion on greyhound deaths and injuries on Victorian race tracks. This week she also read in a notice of motion on jumps racing in Victoria, and a notice of motion on the outlaw of the possession of disgusting crush and bestiality materials. 

30th May 2023 - Notice - Motion on greyhound deaths

Georgie PURCELL (Northern Victoria): Thank you, President, I give notice on the next day of meeting, I will move that this house notes that;

1. Victoria is second in the country for on-track Greyhound deaths in 2023,

2. 1390 greyhounds have been injured on Victorian race tracks in 2023,

3. There have been 312 major greyhound injuries on Victorian race tracks in 2023 representing a 37% increase from this time last year,

4. There have been 214 serious greyhound injuries on Victorian race tracks in 2023 representing a 46% increase from this time last year,

5. Victoria leads the country in the number of serious on-track greyhound injuries in 2023,

6. As a result of these injuries, there has been significantly more off-track deaths in 2023,

and, calls on the government to acknowledge that despite their in their investment in safety improvements dogs continue to die. 



30th May 2023 Constituency Question - Bow Hunting

Georgie PURCELL (Northern Victoria): ) My constituency question is for the Minister for Outdoor Recreation. Bow hunting – that is hunting with a bow and arrow – of introduced species such as foxes and deer is completely legal and unregulated in Victoria. Anyone can purchase a bow and arrow, no licence is required and the weapon is not required to be registered. My constituents, concerned wildlife carers, report an increase in the injuring and killing of native animals such as kangaroos through bow and arrow both intentionally and from misfire. I have now viewed countless images of kangaroos with arrows through all parts of their bodies and faces, some living in pain like this for weeks. This form of killing is banned in Tasmania, and South Australia has also committed to its cessation. My constituents want to know what the minister plans to do regarding the sale and use of bows and arrows in Victoria in order to protect native wildlife from further suffering and death.



30th May 2023 - Question Without Notice - Poultry Industry & Chicken Welfare

The fact of the matter is that obviously we are incredibly concerned and we are doing a number of things and have done a number of things in terms of animal welfare, something that other governments just have not done. Indeed the previous federal government walked away from animal welfare issues and disbanded the committee as well. It was interesting to see in the most recent federal budget a commitment from a more grown-up federal government to have much more dialogue in terms of animal welfare. But not only that, they are looking at legislation. So we are looking forward to having that dialogue with the federal government. Of course we are also wanting to have, as much as we can, commonality across all the jurisdictions, whether it be the states, the Commonwealth or indeed the territories, and we will continue to do that.

As you are well aware, we are also undertaking a range of consultations in relation to new animal welfare legislation, and there will be an exposure draft that will be circulated later on this year. We will continue to have that conversation that will lead us to more modernised animal welfare laws in this state, and we are very much wanting to have conversations with everyone. We also need to make sure that we get it right in terms of animal welfare issues that are obviously put forward by a number of community groups. But we need to balance that with food production, and we need to listen to our farmers as well. Most of them actually do treat their animals really well because they know it is important not just for the values associated with the care of animals but also in terms of the market and consumers. Consumers are becoming more educated about the importance of eating produce that has been treated well. So we look forward to the conversations and the ongoing work that we are undertaking.

Supplementary question

30th May 2023 Contribution to debate - Gambling Taxation Bill

Since day one I have stood in this place and told you all about the true horrors of the racing industry in Victoria. I bring its discarded waste to work with me every single day, and they have names: Slayer and Frankie. Then there is Mae, Jerry and George, who have all made their way through our team foster efforts since I got elected. They like to lay on couches and have a good stretch and a little scratch behind the ear, something that the industry continuously deprives them of.

I have long been involved in the growing movement against the use of animals in racing industries in Victoria. I myself have seen horses dying on the track in front of me. I have been inside Victorian knackeries and I have seen the abhorrent and squalid conditions inside greyhound racing kennels. This industry is failing animals at each and every turn, treating them as commodities instead of companions, the way that most Victorians expect them to be treated. This is exampled by 48 greyhounds being killed on Victorian government-funded racetracks last year. 3289 were injured on the track. It is exampled by 37 horses being killed on Victorian racetracks last year, not to mention those that were sent to the slaughterhouse as wastage. It is exampled by two horses falling at Hamilton in jumps races today, with their injuries and their fate still unknown. It is clear that this industry does not want the public to know what happens to these animals because, without fail, when one dies at the hands of these so-called ‘sports’, the race replay is swiftly deleted or edited because they are so desperate to protect their image as their social licence rapidly deteriorates, day by day. To paraphrase quotes of some recent participants from this industry: ‘When we gave a possum to the greyhound, the more it scratched him the more he went nuts,’ ‘If anyone says anything, you went out and caught it in the run … It’s not your fault,’ and, ‘A few months ago he was letting dogs live in his trailer because he didn’t have enough kennels, and he literally forgot about them and they starved to death.’

In 2002 I sent Greyhound Racing Victoria an email telling them which trainer to buy live possums from and how much they were. Guess what, he is still selling possums. I went to the racing integrity commissioner earlier this year with some recorded phone calls of trainers bragging about drugging dogs and live baiting. Nothing happened. Those are just a few of the conversations that have been sent through to my office in recent times.

Participants in Victoria can breach the rules of racing. Not only do they breach them, they make an absolute mockery of them. They can send non-desexed dogs to China for breeding and illegal racing in vile conditions, unpunished. I have raised in this place and inquired directly with Greyhound Racing Victoria’s integrity unit about Aston Gigante and Aston Lee, owned by Raymond Borda and sent to China. GRV have confirmed that they will not be following up on this matter, simply because Mr Borda is from South Australia and also registered there. If a participant does get before the Victorian Racing Tribunal itself to respond to charges, the disparity between penalties speaks volumes to where this government’s priority lies – with dirty gambling money. Yet this government continues to reward these industries endlessly.

This bill seeks to increase the share of the point-of-consumption tax from 10 per cent to 15 per cent – at least another $140 million per year. With an increase to the point-of-consumption tax, the majority will be gifted back to the racing industry. It continues a cycle of problem gambling, and a dying industry that has lost its social licence and cannot support itself is now rewarded and supported again. The gambling industry profits from addiction, distress and violence. Australians spend more than $24 billion annually, and the gambling industry has exceptional access and influence in politics and policy, and that is evidenced here today.

I support any measures that minimise harm, protect consumers and reduce corruption. This bill will achieve the opposite. I know that the Greens will be bringing amendments to this bill, and I will be supporting them. With the state budget handed down just last Tuesday, choosing to give millions of dollars to the racing industry rather than to fund vital services that support people and animals simply does not make any sense. This revenue would be better distributed to social projects, health and wildlife protection and animal welfare. Make the gambling industry pay their own way. Make them stand on their own two feet. A good modern government should fund the things that animals, people and the planet need and deserve. While this bill represents some changes that make sense, especially following the Royal Commission into the Casino Operator and Licence, this government will never have my support in continuing to exploit animals.



Hansard link

31st May 2023 - Notice - Motion on Jumps Racing

Georgie PURCELL (Northern Victoria): Thank you, President, I give notice on the next day of meeting, I will move that this house notes that;

1. Victoria is the last state in Australia to allow jump racing to occur

2. The 2023 jumps racing season commenced on March 2023

3. Ten horses have fallen on the track

4. Two horses have died on the track, 

and calls on the government to acknowledge that their continued support for brutal and deadly jumps races is far from progressive.




31st May 2023 - Members Statement - Henry the Sheep

Georgie PURCELL (Northern Victoria): On 20 June 2017 a tiny woolly bundle sat in my lap as I drove him down the Calder to start his new life. Henry the lamb was just two days old, discovered by a kind member of the public without his mother and facing certain death by winter exposure. He was one of the lucky ones, with an estimated 15 million lambs dying this way each and every year in Australia. I gave him bottles every 2 hours. He slept in a cot next to my bed, and he loved to lounge by the warm fire, competing with four cats for the best spot. And with each and every day that he grew into a big, healthy sheep that, much to his disgust, had to move outside, so too did my love for him.

On 20 May 2023 Henry unexpectedly left this world and with it left an enormous hole in my heart. Loving a farmed animal hurts because in their happiness and joy you see the personality behind someone who is usually considered a commodity. Losing one hurts even more because it reminds you that the vast majority do not get to live the life of comfort and of safety that they did, because I know that as much as Henry was special to me, he was not special.

Every farmed animal is an individual with a personality, with a story and with a desire to just live. So today I reiterate my dedication to improving the lives of all animals, for Henry, who I will miss every day for the rest of my life.



1st June 2023 - Notice - Motion on Crush Videos

Georgie PURCELL (Northern Victoria): Thank you, President, I give notice on the next day of meeting, I will move that this house notes that;

1. Crush or animal snuff videos are sexual fetish videos that involve animal cruelty usually crushing one or multiple animals to death

2. An open source investigation revealed that animal crush videos are easily accessible to Australians and Victorians on crush specific websites social media accounts and pornography websites

3. The investigation found over 3000 videos for sale in Australia including videos crushing and killing kittens puppies dogs baby chicks snakes rabbits pigs mice ducklings fish and insects and confirm that Victorians are amongst those downloading this cruel content.

4. While bestiality and animal cruelty are both illegal in Victoria there is no specific Victorian offense that makes it illegal to possess or distribute  bestiality animal crush footage or images

5. In November 2021, NSW was the first state to outlaw the production dissemination and possession of crush and bestiality materials and since then charges have been laid under its laws proving their necessity,

and calls on the  government to outlaw the production dissemination and possession of bestiality and crush materials.



1st June 2023 - Adjournment Matter - Duck Hunting

Georgie PURCELL (Northern Victoria): My adjournment matter this afternoon is for the Minister for Outdoor Recreation, and the action I seek is for the minister to ensure that the 2023 duck shooting season is the last one to ever go ahead in Victoria. On the opening morning of the 2023 recreational duck shooting season, a rescuer at Gunbower Creek near Echuca watched a black swan fall from the sky after flying onto powerlines as gunfire erupted. It signalled the beginning of a five-week onslaught on Victoria’s native waterbirds. That same day shooters had already made headlines for illegally shooting and harvesting a blue-winged shoveler and attempting to hide the evidence in a tree hollow.

It was not long before local residents started reporting further illegal behaviour. Not only were shooters firing at closed wetlands, shots could be heard as early as 7:30 am, half an hour earlier than the permitted starting time. Similar situations were unfolding at wetlands across our entire state. Rescue teams at Lake Connewarre searched desperately for birds who had fallen into dense reeds, while the men that injured them continued to shoot.

Shooters were permitted to kill four birds per day this year, but there was no apparent limit on wounding. At the end of the weekend 22 birds had been brought into Wildlife Victoria’s veterinary triage by rescuers – all still alive. Despite the best efforts of volunteer rescuers, carers and vets, not a single bird could be saved. Among the dead were eight illegally shot protected and threatened species, including the freckled duck, one of Australia’s rarest waterbirds. By day 7 rescuers had retrieved 73 native waterbirds from just a handful of sites. Each one had been wounded and left to die by shooters.

At the beginning of May a Geelong business owner found the bodies of nine native ducks dumped on a residential nature strip with obvious gunshot wounds. None had been harvested for meat, as is required by the wildlife game regulations. Today I continue to receive reports from vets and rescuers who volunteered their time at closing weekend, of shooting into flocks, shooting out of range, shooting over bag limits, improper killing methods, flouted gun safety and deliberate prolonged suffering. Empty shotgun cartridges litter the wetlands as yet another season comes to an end.

Thanks to the tireless effort of volunteer wetland surveyors, a total of 18 sites were closed to shooting during the 35-day season. Whilst threatened and endangered species were offered a reprieve at these sites, the protection should not have been an afterthought. This practice has no place in Victoria, and I hope the minister will support a complete end to cruel duck shooting after this year.



Adjournment Matters No 279

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