Senate debates

Tuesday, 18 March 2014


End Cruel Cosmetics Bill 2014; Second Reading

3:52 pm

Photo of Lee RhiannonLee Rhiannon (NSW, Australian Greens) Share this | | Hansard source

I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speech incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speech read as follows—

Every year in the name of cosmetics, an estimated five hundred thousand animals around the world will be inflicted with pain and suffering. This is unacceptable and should be stopped. That is the intent of this Bill.

Rabbits may be held helpless by restraints around the neck, have their eyes forcibly held open, and new ingredients dripped into an eye to see how long it takes to bleed, or ulcerate, or burn sight from that eye.

Mice or rats, and their pups, may be slowly poisoned with new formulations force-fed down their throats to see how long it takes to start convulsing or become paralysed, or how slow they are to die—days, weeks or months. They may be locked in full-body tube restraints, forced to breathe substances until they die bleeding and convulsing, or are then killed so their organs can be examined to examine the impact of the poisoning process.

Guinea pigs or mice may have ingredients injected under their skin until it ulcerates.

Any of these animals may have formulations rubbed into raw skin until it blisters or corrodes.

All in the name of the latest newly formulated cosmetic wonder product.

There is widespread global recognition, by governments and consumers alike, that the testing of animals for cosmetics and new cosmetic ingredients is cruel and unnecessary.

Some 81% of Australians believe Australia should follow the EU in banning the sale of cosmetics tested on animals, with this figure increasing to 85% for women.

Australian cosmetics companies already routinely state they do not test their cosmetics on animals. The Australian peak body for cosmetics states:

          The End Cruel Cosmetics Bill 2014 follows domestic and international expectation, understanding there are alternatives already being used by the cosmetic industry around the world.

          The Bill accounts for these changes in technology in order to protect animals from needless pain and suffering.

          More than 5,000 available raw ingredients that have already been tested are already available and used by cosmetic manufacturers, requiring no new animal testing.

          The safety of new product formulations used to market an exclusive new product, and made from well known existing cosmetic ingredients, can be assured using available non-animal testing methods. This scientific testing includes in vitro methods which predict outcomes based on chemical structure and reactivity using computational modelling, genomics and metabonomics.

          Already cosmetics manufacturers in the EU are compelled to use methods such as those already scientifically validated by the European Commission's European Centre for the Validation of Alternative Methods.

          The End Cruel Cosmetics Bill 2014 amends the Industrial Chemicals (Notification and Assessment) Act 1989 (the ICNA Act) to prohibit developing, manufacturing, selling, advertising or importing into Australia cosmetics, or ingredients for cosmetics, which have been tested on animals.

          The Bill amends Part 3B of the ICNA Act, which already provides for standards for cosmetics imported into, or manufactured in, Australia.

          The Bill does not apply to:

                  This Bill is not discriminatory under international trade law: it effectively applies the same prohibitions to domestic products as it does to imports.

                  Further, Article XX(a) of the GATT authorises member states to deviate from their other WTO commitments where "necessary to protect public morals" and in Article XX(b) where "necessary to protect human, animal, or plant life or health…".

                  The Bill also provides that its effect on the importation of a substance is subject to Australia's international obligations.

                  This Bill allows Australia to follow the path already made by governments around the world, and trodden by the cosmetic companies in those countries:

                            Whilst Australia is not blazing a new trail, we can make sure we're not left behind.

                            This Bill meets national and international expectations in prohibiting actions that are strictly not necessary for the manufacture of cosmetics. The majority of Australians and a growing number of major international regulators judge these practices to be unacceptable.

                            The Bill promotes scientifically validated, alternative testing regimes that are already legislated as the only acceptable option in 30 countries, with the US and China expected to soon follow.

                            Around the world, NGOs have been working hard with communities and governments to end the use of cruel cosmetics. The team working on this bill has crossed countries and oceans to build this campaign, and I thank Humane Society International, Humane Research Australia and Choose Cruelty Free for their invaluable advice. The Animal Justice Party has also been a driving force. And I thank and acknowledge Voiceless, Animals Australia and many other groups committed to ending cruel cosmetics.

                            I commend the bill to the Senate and I present the accompanying explanatory memorandum. I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

                            Leave granted; debate adjourned.