Thursday, 20 September 2018
World Rhino Day
That the Senate—
(i) that 22 September 2018 is World Rhino Day,
(ii) that there are fewer than 29 000 rhinos left worldwide across five species, of which three species are critically endangered,
(iii) that between 20 000 and 50 000 elephants are killed each year to supply the ivory trade around the globe,
(iv) that China, the United States of America, Hong Kong, the European Union and the United Kingdom have all either banned or begun implementing a ban on domestic trade in ivory, yet Australia's trade remains unregulated,
(v) the 2016 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime World Wildlife Crime Report: Trafficking in protected species, identified Australia as a destination and transit country for ivory,
(vi) the well-recognised connection between wildlife poaching and other organised criminal activities,
(vii) that evidence given during the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement's (the Committee) inquiry into the trade in elephant ivory and rhino horn, revealed illegal Australian domestic markets for ivory and rhinoceros horn that are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars,
(viii) Australia has no laws regulating its domestic trade in ivory and rhinoceros horn, and
(ix) according to the International Fund for Animal Welfare's 2017 galaxy poll, 77 per cent of Australians already think the trade of ivory and rhino horn is illegal in Australia, and 76 per cent support the Federal Government banning this trade;
(b) welcomes the:
(i) committee's recommendations, including a national domestic trade ban on elephant ivory and rhinoceros horn,
(ii) in-principle support from the Western Australian and Victorian Labor Governments for the implementation of stricter domestic trade measures leading to a domestic trade ban, and
(iii) United Kingdom government's plan to legislate a ban on the sale of modern day ivory this month; and
(c) urges the:
(i) Federal Government to progress Labor's proposal to work with the states and territories to ban Australia's national domestic trade in ivory and rhinoceros horn, with carefully-targeted exemptions for items which do not contribute to the poaching, to protect elephants and rhinos for future generations, and
(ii) Minister for the Environment to attend the London 2018 Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference this October, where global leaders will gather to help eradicate illegal wildlife trade and better protect the world's most iconic species from the threat of extinction.
Australia takes the protection of elephants and rhinoceros seriously and recognises the serious threat posed to these species by illegal wildlife trade. Australia already has strict rules governing the import and export of ivory and rhino horn. The government will carefully consider the report and the recommendations of the inquiry and the likely conservation benefits to elephants and rhinos.
Rhinos are in crisis. There are just 67 Javan rhinos, less than 80 Sumatran rhinos and less than 6,000 black rhinos left. We humans have a lot to answer for. The Greens are proud of our role in combating the illegal ivory trade and of being a loud voice for animals across Australian parliaments. Seventy-seven per cent of Australians believe that trading elephant ivory and rhino horn is already illegal in Australia, so it is really disappointing that our laws lag behind community expectations. The ivory trade is not the only threat facing rhinoceros populations. This parliament needs to take urgent action on climate change and support other countries to protect these critically endangered animals.
Question agreed to.