Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Collapse of Fish Stocks

An investigation of the fishing industry in the southern Pacific by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists shows how the fate of the jack mackerel may foretell the progressive collapse of fish stocks in all oceans.

From 2006 to 2011, scientists estimate, jack mackerel stock declined 63 per cent.

The South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organisation, formed in 2006 at the initiative of Australia and New Zealand along with Chile, has endeavoured without much success to date to protect fish, particularly jack mackerel. They have concluded that an annual catch beyond 520,000 tonnes will further deplete jack mackerel stocks

Industrial fishing interests are resistant to the implementation of a quota system. Some have thumbed their nose at the science and research that highlights the gravity of the issue.

Reporters and staff from the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists working with the Chilean investigative journalism centre Ciper, have traced how eight groups with a near monopoly on the industry have pressured the Chilean government to set quotas above scientific advice.

The troubling reality is that voluntary restraints have not worked in protecting fish stocks and that a binding convention is required to ensure the jack mackerel does not disappear from the southern seas.


I am one of the Male Parliamentarians for the Elimination of Violence against Women who has taken the White Ribbon Pledge – not to commit, not to condone and not to stay silent about violence against women. One of the things we have committed to is to raise awareness of the issue within our electorates, and I want to do something about discharging that obligation today.
A core part of Australian citizenship is respect for Australian law and the Australian legal system. And a core part of the Australian legal system is that violence against women, sometimes referred to as domestic violence or family violence, is never acceptable.
Domestic violence is an abuse of power perpetrated mainly, but not only, by men against women either during a relationship or after separation. It can take many forms – physical violence, coercive sex, emotional abuse, such as blaming the woman for all the problems in a relationship, or constantly undermining their self-esteem and self-worth, forbidding or physically preventing the victim from going out and meeting people – in effect imprisonment. It can take the form of using religious teachings or cultural tradition as an excuse for violence.
In Australia religious teachings and cultural traditions are not more important than the right of women to equal treatment with men, not more important than the right of all of us to be free of violence or the fear of it, nor are they more important than Australian law. And practices such as so-called ‘honour’ killings, dowry murder, trafficking in women and girls, female genital mutilation, and forced marriages are all breaches of Australian law and are not allowed in this country.
Unfortunately surveys suggest that our laws against domestic violence are often broken.
Over 50% of Australian women report experiencing at least one incident of physical violence or sexual violence by a man during their lifetime.
Sadly, much of this violence is perpetrated on women by men who they know. The most frequent category of perpetrators is current or previous male partners. The second most frequent category is male family members or friends. The most common location for physical assaults to occur for women is in their own home.
I hope you will agree with me that this is unacceptable and has to change. Being a good Australian man or woman means building safe and healthy relationships – partnerships, involving joint decision making and shared responsibilities. It means economic equality, emotional honesty, respect. It means supporting your partner’s goals and valuing their opinions.
Australia is a terrific country. I know you know that. I look forward to working with you in the future to make it an even better one. I congratulate you on the important decision you have taken, and I wish you well in everything that you do in the future. I look forward to working with you to build the great nation of Australia in prosperity, peace and freedom.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Reform of Live Animal Export Trade Should Not Be Delayed

The Government should not agree to the demand by live animal exporter Graham Daws for an extension to the end of February deadline for new regulations to apply to live animals exported to Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Turkey.

The Australian people are not indifferent to the treatment of live animals once they are exported from Australia. It is a matter of very great concern to them. In my experience most people are surprised and unimpressed to learn that we do not know how animals are treated once they leave Australia, and will expect the industry and the government to rectify this unsatisfactory situation within the announced timeframe.