Click here to read my speech on the Animal Welfare (Live Baiting) Amendment Bill
Mr WINGARD ( Mitchell ) ( 16:57 ): I too rise to support this bill. I must say that I strongly oppose any cruelty to animals. Like everyone in this house, I am horrified by the vision that was shown on Four Corners on 16 February of the greyhound racing live baiting scandal that really brought this to a head. This practice, of course, is illegal in South Australia and comes with severe penalties, and I think everyone would think that that is the right way to go. The abuse of animals, including live baiting, is considered a criminal act in South Australia, as we are aware, and carries a prison sentence of up to four years and fines of up to $50,000.
I strongly support the decision of Greyhound Racing SA to immediately prosecute and ban anyone in the industry who is found to partake in the barbaric practice of live baiting and also support the RSPCA investigating any ill treatment of animals, if this were to be seen to be the case. I know from the earlier reports that it has not been proven or seen to be a practice that takes place here in South Australia, for which I think everyone is very grateful, and I hope that remains the case. It has been more prevalent in other states. Of course, we know that live baiting is the use of live animals (rabbits, possums, pigeons and the like) to try to lure greyhounds. I think it is something that really no-one accepts right across the state and probably right across the nation.
As far as our sporting industry is concerned, we do not want to see this sort of practice evolve. I have had a number of people contact my office disgusted with what they saw on television. It has created a lot of heartfelt thought from people in my community. I must say that I fully support their disgust at what was shown on television, and we will do everything we can to make sure this does not go on in the future.
I have had people from Sheidow Park, O'Halloran Hill, Dover Gardens, Trott Park, Old Reynella, Reynella, Warradale and right throughout the entire electorate really who have contacted me. An amazing number of people have contacted my office just to outline their disdain for what they saw on television.
I commend the Hon. Michelle Lensink in the upper house for bringing forward this animal welfare amendment bill around the greyhound training principle of live baiting to say that we just absolutely must move to get this happening as soon as possible to make sure that there is no way this can infiltrate into South Australia and make sure that we knock it on the head. To say that it is not happening in South Australia so we do not need to move this bill forward, I think, is a really poor way to view it. Knowing that it is happening interstate, we cannot sit here blind to the fact that it may or may not have happened here in the past and people may or may not be looking to do it here in the future.
I think it is vital that, as a collective, we move this amendment to the bill through and do all we can to make sure that the practice of live baiting is stamped out once and for all. What we need to achieve as the outcome of this bill is that there is no way that it can possibly infiltrate here into South Australia and so there is no way or means of having it here. I think, as you speak to people in the community and again, as I said, people who have contacted my office, you know how it makes people feel to even believe something like this can be going on, so anything and everything we can do to stamp this out and make sure it is not part of the sport going forward and not a part of our society is very important.
I will not go into the details of live baiting—I have made a couple of mentions of it—because it is really something that I think people do not want to revisit. Anyone who has seen the footage would like to rewind time and unsee the footage because it really is very unpleasant. From our position in this parliament, anything we can do to help prevent this from happening, to eliminate this from happening, to stop this from happening and make sure that it is not something that is practised in South Australia, I encourage everyone to support and be a part of.