House debates

Monday, 2 May 2016

Constituency Statements

Petition: Live Animal Exports, Petition: Falun Gong

10:38 am

Photo of Melissa ParkeMelissa Parke (Fremantle, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Health) Share this | | Hansard source

Today I wish to speak on two issues that constituents have requested I raise. The first relates to the live export trade. World Animal Protection has collected over 200,000 signatures over the past few years from Australian people voicing their opposition to the trade, and today I will present to the House another 8,822 new signatures.

Over the past more than eight years I have spoken here in parliament, in my electorate of Fremantle and in the wider community about the cruelty of the live export trade. We have seen expose after expose detailing the immense suffering of Australian animals used in this trade and we have seen public opposition and outrage grow after each new revelation. Unfortunately, the present government continues to expand the live export trade with no regard for the proper enforcement of animal welfare in existing markets or for the economic and welfare benefits of local processing.

World Animal Protection has commissioned independent research to analyse the costs and benefits of expanding the frozen meat trade rather than continuing to export animals live. The research demonstrates that farmers and local industry would benefit financially in the long term from an expanded frozen meat trade, the increase in domestic processing would create local jobs and the welfare of Australian animals would be significantly improved. Labor stands with the millions of Australians who believe that improving animal welfare should be a priority for government. I thank World Animal Protection for the independent research and for organising the petition, which I seek leave to present, pending consideration by the Petitions Committee.

Leave granted.

The second matter relates to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. Falun Dafa or Falun Gong is the peaceful spiritual practice that is traditional to the Chinese culture. In 1999, a survey undertaken by the Chinese government found there were almost 100 million Chinese citizens practising Falun Gong, outnumbering the 62 million members of the Communist Party. Since that time, the practice has been illegal and there has been brutal suppression of the Falun Gong.

In 2006, UN special rapporteur Dr Manfred Nowak found that two-thirds of all torture victims in China were Falun Gong practitioners. In March 2006, it was revealed for the first time that Falun Gong practitioners had been killed for their organs. Nobel Peace Prize nominees David Matas, a human rights lawyer, and David Kilgour, a former Canadian minister, in their report Bloody harvest:revised report into allegations of organ harvesting ofFalun Gong practitioners in China concluded:

… the government of China and its agencies in numerous parts of the country, in particular hospitals but also detention centres and 'people's courts', since 1999 have put to death a large but unknown number of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience.

The suppression of democracy and rights within China is well documented. It is important that parliaments and governments around the world advocate for the human rights of all within China, including Falun Gong practitioners.

I seek leave to present a petition pending consideration by the Petitions Committee, with 13,471 signatures, urging the Australian government to call for an immediate end to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China.

Leave granted.