Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

1080 poison

I rise to speak on Mr Meddick’s motion regarding the use of 1080 poison. This is a matter close to Derryn’s heart so I am proud to speak on this on behalf of the party. Derryn Hinch has been campaigning on animal welfare since a time when many in this chamber were in school and potentially some were in nappies. He wrote about kangaroo slaughter for the New York Times in the 1970s and took a petition with 30 000 names to Canberra, protesting the live export of sheep and horses in the 1980s. In 2018, when he was a senator, Hinch introduced a bill which would phase out long-haul live sheep exports to the Middle East over five years. On this issue, though, Derryn spoke directly to 1080 poison in the Senate in 2018, calling for a phasing out of the substance. He called it a ‘horrific killing device that was … placed … by government agencies’, and it is for this reason that we will support this motion. Some of the reasons to support the elimination of 1080 poison include that it is indiscriminate, meaning that it kills everything that eats it not just the target pest animal. Following on from that it kills native animals as well as pet dogs and other animals. A teaspoon of this stuff has the potential to kill 100 people if ingested. It is illegal in many other countries due to its security issues such as in the USA, and there are councils which have stopped using 1080 in recent times in Australia as well. There are alternatives to managing pest populations despite their being quite expensive and labour intensive. I do, however, preface that by saying Ms Maxwell and I, who have rural electorates, are concerned at the cost implications and logistical issues that this motion may pose for farmers. We also fear that should this pass today there may be inadequate time to introduce new pest management strategies, which would hugely impact farmers and land managers. Whilst farmers rights and good intentions are often ignored, they need to be considered. These are the hard workers who put food on our plate and bring exceptional economic prosperity to our state. We think that the time constraints in this motion may be difficult to meet. However, we hope, despite the ambitiousness of the time line, that if this motion passes, the government will work collaboratively with farmers and land managers to assist with the move away from 1080. It is important to note that whilst 1080 is a cruel and indiscriminate poison for animals, it is often used to stop other animals being killed by foxes and also to preserve businesses. Chickens, lambs and many other young animals are particularly vulnerable to foxes, but they can also kill horses by digging burrows or dens in paddocks where horses or other stock may graze and therefore break a leg. Foxes are relentless, awful creatures. On farms, rabbits are a destructive animal that eat produce, burrow and cause multiple issues across the agricultural sector. In terms of native animals, despite the argument that they can be killed by ingesting 1080, the use of 1080 to eradicate pest animal populations has in some areas allowed native animal species to flourish. For example, a report by the Invasive Species Council titled 1080: A Weighty Ethical Issue found the poison helped eradicate foxes in South Australia’s Ikara-Flinders Ranges National Park, which enabled western quolls and brushtail possums to be successfully reintroduced in 2014. So this continued narrative that people or organisations that use 1080 to control fox or rabbit populations are trying to kill everything in their sights can be misleading. It is often in fact the opposite: that they are trying to save certain other species or animals that may or may not be connected to farming practices. In saying this, we understand that there are other ways to control pest animal populations. We think these should be explored in heavy consultation with landowners, farmers, traditional owners and other experts to ensure that there are not any unintended consequences and that it is a cost-effective approach also. To summarise, Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party will support this motion. We would be very happy to see 1080 phased out in Victoria and, frankly, across the country, and we hope that if this motion does pass today the government will ensure proper consultation in a replacement approach for controlling pest animal populations. I thank Mr Meddick for bringing this motion to the house, which we will support.


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