Abigail showed strong support for the move to ban bestiality and crush material, and questioned why the Government wont do the same.
Abigail said: On behalf of The Greens, I speak in support of the amendment and thank the Hon. Emma Hurst for bringing it before the House. It was distributed yesterday in plenty of time for this debate. It is also, of course, an issue she has raised continuously, and in March the House debated it, so it should come as no surprise to members. It is disappointing that the Government is still not in a position where it can support the amendment.
The definition of "bestiality" or "animal crush material" in the amendment is material that reasonable persons would regard as:
(a) depicting or describing bestiality, or
(b) depicting or describing an animal being crushed, burned, drowned, suffocated, impaled or otherwise killed or subjected to serious injury in circumstances where the material is intended or apparently intended to excite or gratify sexual interest, or to excite or gratify a sadistic or other perverted interest in violence or cruelty.
Reflecting on that, a lot of the discussion around this issue appears to come from the perspective of whether or not it is moral to be sexually interested or gratified from an act with an animal and whether people should be allowed to do that. What has been missing, not from our side of the debate but from other members, is the harm done to the animals. I understand that those actions are already prohibited and that they are not legal; but by allowing the sharing, the videoing and the keeping of that material, we are encouraging and incentivising that act to occur, which is putting more and more animals in harm's way. This is not a difficult debate; it is very simple. It is hard to believe that possessing and distributing those videos could ever be legal, but currently nothing in the Crimes Act makes it an offence.
It is inexcusable that we have not moved to ban sharing already because it has an impact on countless animals. I note that during debate on the motion moved by the Hon. Emma Hurst in March, the Government spoke about Commonwealth reforms, where a failure to take down online content like bestiality or animal crush material would carry civil penalties. That is not enough because, like child abuse material, it is not just the dissemination of that material that is offensive; the production, dissemination and possession is offensive because it condones committing those offences against animals—doing it for some kind of strange kicks and then using it and sharing it. The Greens wholeheartedly support the amendment. It is long overdue. It is not a surprise because it has been a topic of debate for a long time. I commend the amendment to the Committee.
The full transcript of the debate can be found in Hansard, here.