Today, our party convenor in Victoria – Bruce Poon – is on the wetlands with many other AJP office bearers, members and supporters. If you’ve ever wondered how the Animal Justice Party is working to end this cruel slaughter, here’s a message from Bruce to explain:
The Coalition Against Duck Shooting (CADS) led by the redoubtable Laurie Levy have been on the wetlands rescuing wounded waterbirds for 30 years now. Laurie and the other people at CADS are thorough professionals, and have done fantastic work in saving lives, but also demonstrating to Victorians that this annual slaughter is cruel and unnecessary.
All of this campaigning over the years has led us to this point. The overwhelming majority of Victorians support a ban on duck shooting, the number of shooters is tiny (0.4% of the population), and yet the Government will still not ban it. Why?
Leading in to the Victorian State election of 2014, AJP made Duck Shooting, a matter of state legislation, one of our key campaigns. We had a number of meetings with the major parties to try and ensure a cessation, but with no result. Even as late as a few weeks before election day, we were still negotiating on the duck’s behalf with key ministers and Labor politicians in marginal seats. Even then, we were unable to budge the Labor party as a whole.
Despite getting MORE votes than the Shooters and Fishers party, we won zero seats in the upper house and they won 2, with the preference support of a range of small and major parties. They now hold 2 seats in the Legislative Council of 40. Labor hold 14, and require 21 votes on each bill.
This is the nub of the problem. If WE had won two seats, and the Shooters nil, Duck shooting would be over. But the Labor government requires Shooters and Fishers support in the Council for a range of initiatives. The Premier is reported to have had lunch with their MPs the day before a duck season was announced this year.
If we want to end the cruelty of duck shooting, and many other animal abuses, we must win for them a measure of power. Only parliamentary power, supported by the public, will see these campaigns won.
So this year, like so many others, many AJP members will be seen out on the wetlands of Victoria with CADS and other groups, rescuing ducks and trying to prevent suffering and death. Let’s hope that it sends the strongest possible message to the Government, and public outrage grows. But also remember to support our initiatives to grow the Animal Justice Party and win political power, because it is the ultimate strategic tool to achieve justice for all animals.