Given that greyhounds are currently being kept in cages that are three metres squared for up 19hrs a day, Abigail today asked the Government if any Minister would be willing to spend their time locked in a cage of similar size and scope. Their response will not surprise you.
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (12:22:17): My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Finance and Small Business, representing the Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation. The minimum space requirement for greyhound housing areas for a single dog as proposed by the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission's draft code of practice for the greyhound racing industry is a space of three metres squared, or approximately 1.73 metres by 1.73 metres. When comparing the average height and weight of a greyhound with the average height and weight of an Australian human male, the equivalent space requirement for a human man would be seven metres squared, or approximately 2.64 metres by 2.64 metres. To better understand the experience they are subjecting greyhounds, which Government Ministers are willing to spend 19 hours a day sleeping, eating and defecating in a space just over 2.5 metres by 2.5 metres?
The Hon. DAMIEN TUDEHOPE (Minister for Finance and Small Business) (12:23:25): It is a difficult question. I think the question is really encapsulated in the last line: Which Minister is prepared to do that? I must say that I have not surveyed my colleagues and I certainly have not surveyed members opposite about which or any of them is prepared to accept the challenge. If in fact the input of the question—I must say, I am perplexed by whether there is a question in it—is whether I think the requirement is appropriate, that is a matter for the greyhound industry authority and I am sure it sets up rules and regulations in relation to it.
However, if the question is just drawing attention to the fact that the member thinks that this is an unacceptable practice, then she gave a very detailed introduction to her question which elaborated on the grounds for asking the question. Given the confused nature of the question, I have to say that I do not know if any members are prepared to engage in the accommodation which she has identified. The serious component of her question is whether that level of accommodation for greyhounds that she has articulated is appropriate. I say that the regulations that are set out by the greyhound industry association should in fact be adhered to and it is a matter for the association as to how it regulates and enforces them.
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD (12:25:20): I ask a supplementary question. Given that the Minister stated that he had not surveyed his colleagues as to which of them would be prepared to spend that time within that space, he then went on to say that none of them would be prepared to do that. Will the Minister elucidate that part of his answer? Does he need to take the question on notice?
The Hon. Natasha Maclaren-Jones: Point of order: Firstly, the member is debating the Minister's answer and, secondly, it is a new line of questioning.
Ms ABIGAIL BOYD: To the point of order: The supplementary question was asking for elucidation on the Minister's answer to the original question. I am asking for elucidation as to whether or not those members that he has not surveyed are in fact willing to spend 19 hours in a 2.5 metre by 2.5 metre space.
The PRESIDENT: As I have indicated to members previously, for a supplementary question to be in order it needs to satisfy three aspects or, as I have said on a number of occasions, tick three boxes. Firstly, it must be actually and accurately related to the original question; secondly, it must relate to or arise from the answer; and, thirdly, it must seek to elucidate a part of the answer given. I believe Ms Abigail Boyd ticked all three boxes. The Minister has the call.
The Hon. DAMIEN TUDEHOPE (Minister for Finance and Small Business) (12:27:13): I thank the honourable member for her request that I survey additional members about their proclivity to seek that sort of accommodation. It is not something I am prepared to do because there might be some who agree to do so and that may be reflective on them. The sentiment of the question is that the questioner does not think that that accommodation for greyhounds is appropriate. If she had framed the question around improving conditions for greyhounds and their accommodation, that may have been something that I would invite the Minister to address. However, I rely on my previous answer that the regulation of the greyhound industry is a matter for the authority. In those circumstances, I will not be issuing a survey to members to indicate their attitude towards changing their living conditions.