House debates

Wednesday, 14 September 2016


Cosmetics Testing on Animals

7:45 pm

Photo of Jason WoodJason Wood (La Trobe, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I would also like to congratulate the member for Holt for his passion for helping out his local residents. In La Trobe, we experience the same issues such as carjackings, police cars being rammed and home invasions. Obviously, a lot of work needs to be done. Tonight I would like to talk about the end of cosmetic testing on animals in Australia. Australians do not want to see animals hurt unnecessarily, and those who know me will understand that I have a great compassion for those creatures that cannot speak for themselves. Consistently through my years representing the electorate of La Trobe, I have heard from my constituency—from good people such as Caroline Sugden from The Bluey & Alice Bunny Refuge in Cockatoo, who are passionate about protecting animals—that they do not support the testing of cosmetics on animals. That is why during the 2016 election campaign, I am very proud to say, the coalition committed to implement a ban from 1 July 2017 on the testing of new cosmetic products on animals in Australia, the use of new cosmetic ingredients that have been tested on animals in Australia and the sale of new cosmetic products and ingredients that would rely on testing on animals outside Australia—so that would be banning the importation.

In implementing the announced ban, the approach will need to ensure that it is consistent with Australia's international obligations, laws and regulatory framework, and results in a regulatory environment that continues to protect public health and the environment.

At this point I would like to thank the Minister Fiona Nash, Assistant Minister Ken Wyatt, and Assistant Minister David Gillespie and their staff, for the work they have done. I thank also, Senator Anne Ruston who led the charge on this issue and Senator Michaela Cash. I would also like to acknowledge the other groups I have worked with: Be Cruelty-Free Australia, Hannah Stuart; and the Animal Justice Party's Bruce Poon, Leah Folloni, who was the AJP candidate for La Trobe, and Naree, who has been their adviser on the issue—we worked very closely together.

The testing of ingredients of cosmetics, like mascara and shampoos, on living creatures is completely unnecessary and cruel, which is why I am here talking about this today. Australia's regulatory framework for cosmetic ingredients is administered by the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme, otherwise known as NICNAS. It does not require any cosmetic products to be tested on animals and considers animal test data only if they are provided by a company introducing a new chemical into Australia. NICNAS does not insist that such data be generated. This is why it is often claimed that animal testing of cosmetic products and ingredients is not undertaken in Australia. Whether or not this is true is irrelevant, because new ingredients used in Australia can be tested on animals elsewhere, even if not tested on animals in Australia. The only way to guarantee that such animal testing will never happen in Australia, or indeed increase in the future, is to introduce a clear and robust ban. Without a legal ban there is nothing to prevent cosmetic testing on animals taking place in Australia or overseas during the development of products sold in our shops.

The coalition is working on banning the import and sale of all cosmetic products tested on animals. This means that from the point of legislation being enforced, cosmetics that are tested on animals, whether abroad or in Australia, will no longer be able to be imported and sold in Australia. This is our way of disengaging with the shrinking sector of the global cosmetics industry that still participates in testing on animals and demonstrating in a very tangible way that we will not support the industry. This means that Australia will be joining the ranks of 30 other nations including the European Union, India, Israel and Norway. Hopefully, we will be encouraging many other nations to join us on this stand.

A few years ago, I joined Humane Research Australia's Be-Cruelty Free campaign and pledged myself on social media to be cruelty free. I look forward to bringing Australia, and indeed the rest of the world, with me on this pledge. Finally, I would like to thank the Prime Minister's office, in particular, Cindy Barry, for her great work on this. It will be a great day when this legislation is introduced. Thank you.