Select Committee on Victoria’s Recreation Native Bird Hunting Arrangements

Melina BATH (Eastern Victoria) (09:42): This is a self-fulfilling prophecy, this select committee. The government stood up and said, ‘I want to ban duck hunting’, and lo and behold, some five months later this is the report tabled today.

Habitat is key. If you have habitat, you have birds.

So says wildlife ecologist Dr Hiller. There is no logical reason to ban a sustainable duck-hunting season in Victoria, and we have had evidence to support that view. This inquiry has been driven by ideological and political reasons for payback to support issues in this house. The Nationals strongly back a sustainable duck-hunting season and quail season in Victoria, and the Nationals and Liberals minority report at the back of this committee report certainly endorses that. There is a Labor, Greens and Animal Justice Party alliance in this report. What they failed to recognise was Professor Klaassen when he said that given the specifics of duck biology, hunting ‘doesn’t really put a dent in the population’.

They blatantly refused to listen to Dja Dja Wurrung elder Rod Carter when he said:

I think more broadly to the importance of being a hunter – a hunter as such holding a very significant place within society, within a family, as a provider of sustenance to people. We also describe … the importance for us as First Nations people – but extending that to us as humans …

I endorse his position. I also agree with the unionist Trevor Williams that this is ‘the thin edge of the wedge’. What will be next?

I would like to put on record my thanks to the secretariat – Matt Newington, Kieran Crowe, Imran Ahmed, Julie Barnes, Sylvette Bassy, Jo Clifford and any other members of the secretariat – that worked so very hard on this very short-timed inquiry.