62 Wray Ave
PO Box 1224
Ms Parke (9:54pm) — I want to take this opportunity to speak about the proposed Independent Office of Animal Welfare. Last November, caucus acted on the 2011 National ALP Conference platform commitment to establish this much-needed oversight body and I am pleased to say that work on the model for the office is well advanced. Australians care about animals, farmers care for their livestock, families care for their pets and people feel passionately about Australian wildlife. There is virtual unanimity regarding the importance of the humane treatment of animals, yet public faith in Australia's animal welfare system has been undermined in recent years by revelation after revelation of cruelty to livestock, both here and in countries to which we export live animals. In almost every case, the systemic mistreatment has been revealed by animal welfare groups, and the public is right to wonder how these incidents can happen when Australia has good animal welfare laws and prides itself as a world leader in animal welfare.
Ms Parke (10:33am) — The week before last, I had the pleasure of visiting Smileys Child Care centre, in White Gum Valley, with my colleague and friend the Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, the Hon. Peter Garrett, to congratulate the centre and its staff on winning the 2012 Australian Child Care Week Award for providing the best program involving families. This accolade gives well-deserved recognition to the expertise and creativity of the early childhood education staff and management at Smileys, and I again congratulate Lisa Godwin and the whole Smileys team for their winning program, which involved a thoughtfully designed and shared production of a beautiful picture book. The images in the book were a compilation of the children's colourings of the Smileys logo mascots, Sam and Sophie, which were sent to the children's friends and relatives around the world to be photographed and arranged in relatively exotic locations and then returned to the centre. Needless to say, the book was a hit, providing a rich learning experience for the kids and also acting as a wonderful community building initiative.
Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Making Marine Parks Accountable) Bill 2012
Ms Parke (20:31) – I rise to speak in opposition to this bill, which would put the hugely significant marine conservation outcomes that this government has achieved in partnership and in trust with the Australian community at threat. For anyone to sensibly support the legislative amendments that this bill contains they would need to agree with its underlying premise, which is that the government's secured set of marine reserves has been achieved without the benefit of appropriate scientific data and analysis, without independent economic impact assessments and without the guidance of appropriate stakeholder and community consultation—and that is, frankly, a ludicrous proposition.
Ms Parke (7:34pm) – It will come as no surprise to anyone that I am absolutely thrilled about Australia's election to a temporary seat on the United Nations Security Council and I thank everyone involved in achieving this wonderful result. In my capacity as the Chair of the UN Parliamentary Group, the UNICEF Parliamentary Association and Parliamentarians for Global Action's Australia branch, as well as being a member of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, the Joint Committee on Human Rights and the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties and having been a staff member of the UN for eight years, I have had the opportunity to see, both at close range and from the vantage point of this place, the workings of the UN and its importance in so many ways to the world. I have also witnessed the extent of the impact of Australia's interaction and involvement with the UN, how we value-add to that body and to the international community.