FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE-Date 21/04/2016
NSW ANIMAL JUSTICE PARTY MP MARK PEARSON EJECTED BY LOCAL NATIONAL MP FROM PUBLIC MEETING ON HUNTING TRESPASS
When is a public meeting a closed meeting? When Kevin Humphries, Nationals Member for Barwon says so! Animal Justice MP banned from public meeting on stock theft and illegal hunting trespass.
In February 2016, after months of negative media publicity about the devastating impact of illegal hunting trespass on rural landholders, the Baird Government announced the establishment of the Stock Theft and Trespass Review, to be conduct by the well-respected former Assistant Commissioner of Police, Stephen Bradshaw.
As the first elected member of the Animal Justice Party to be represented in NSW parliament, I have received a number of calls from distressed landholders, traumatised by illegal hunting trespass on their properties. Landholders are fearful for their own lives as well as describing the carnage left by weekend warriors who blast away at any animal that moves. Dead and dying wildlife and abandoned hunting dogs are often found on their properties.
It was for this reason that I was keen to attend a public meeting of the Stock Theft and Trespass Review. My staff contacted the Review office as well as Mr Humphries’s staff given his role as host of the Barwon meetings. They sought and were given the details about the upcoming meetings. At no point was I told that I could not attend the public meeting. Meetings were promoted on the Stock Theft and Trespass Review Facebook with “Please come along if you’re in the area”.
I had already intended to visit Barwon, the largest electorate in NSW (48% of NSW land mass) where Broken Hill is central, in order to address the information that had come to me regarding the disturbing rise in the serious egregious cruelty inflicted on animals in both illegal and legal hunting. I had also organised to meet key animal protection and rescue groups.
What became apparent was the hostility and defensive resistance from the Nationals member for the electorate, Kevin Humphries who insisted that I leave within several minutes of my arrival at the public meeting in Broken Hill on the 19th April. I was frogmarched out of the meeting by Mr Humphries before I was even able to ask a question. Two police officers appeared by his side, which is a quite extraordinary given the public nature of the meeting and fact that I am a democratically elected representative of the people of NSW.
I was not given the opportunity to raise my concerns regarding the brutality of hunting and its increased incidence on private property and how this terrifies land owners as well as terrifying, maiming and killing animals. It appears this National party member wants to obstruct any constructive discussion to address the growing violent culture of killing animals for sick enjoyment which in turn frightens property owners where these animals live or move through.
This attitude by the National Member for Barwon is completely unacceptable and indefensible.
I refuse to be shut out of addressing this appalling situation and I will return in several months to address a public meeting where police, rangers and regulatory authorities will be invited to attend. I will also be meeting with animal rescue and carer groups and with Indigenous elders.
My aim is to lobby for a proactive Task Force to address this issue in this region and for a pilot task force to be established in other regions of NSW where this violent culture has developed.
Mark Pearson: 0417 252 107