On Friday I couldn’t help but spare a thought for Clare O’Neil.

Clare is of course the Labor member for Hotham, a tireless spokesperson and campaigner for her community, but also someone with a caring and compassionate heart.

In February Clare O’Neil announced and put forward a private member’s bill to ban not only the testing of cosmetic products on animals in Australia, but also the importation, marketing and sales of cosmetic products that have been tested on animals overseas as well as here.

At the time it was announced the bill was not in any way controversial. There is large public support for this issue and it is known to be progressive policy that Labor wishes to legislate. There was no reason not to support the bill.

Clare O'Neil - tireless and terrific Image - Fairfax

Clare O’Neil – tireless and terrific
Image – Fairfax

Unfortunately, however the bill was not supported by the Liberal Party or the National Party and as such it was not passed.

How shocked must Clare have been on Friday night when she sat down to watch the news and there cuddling a bunny for the camera was Deputy Nationals Leader Fiona Nash announcing that the Nationals were adopting a similar policy to that they voted down just a few short months ago.

Given that detail on the Nationals policy has been scarce one suspects the devil may just be hiding in those details.

For example, the policy does not appear to cover importation of products and ingredients tested on animals only their sale in Australia, meaning online purchases could be allowed. 

Don’t misunderstand me, I welcome this policy, however I welcome it with a healthy dose of scepticism until I see the policy in its complete form.

No supermodels were harmed in the taking of this photograph Image - theirturn.net

No supermodels were harmed in the taking of this photograph
Image – theirturn.net

So why the sudden about face in what most would assume would have been deeply held ideologies?

It smacks of desperation from a Coalition whose only policy is about stripping money from public health and education and giving it to big business in the form of tax cuts.

Policy is something that is normally discussed and debated within the Party well before it is announced. Views are canvassed, fine points and strategies ironed out and the policy is explained to members well ahead of time so that the Party can all sing in chorus at the appropriate time. At least that’s how it works for Parties not in panic mode.

This is what is known as policy on the run. Policy that is cooked up at the last minute in the hope to gain some favourable press, and what better from the Party whose leader sought to kill celebrities’ dogs than a fluff piece involving fluffy bunnies?

So how well planned and close to the hearts of National MP’s is this sudden pop up policy?
If we look to the member for Gippsland the Nationals Darren Chester it’s quite clear how far in advance this was planned and how seriously the members take it.

After Labor announced a ban on the testing of cosmetics on animals as well as the importation and marketing of overseas products tested on animals, this was the reaction of Darren Chester when the Victorian Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford tweeted the good news.

It would appear this “in the loop” member has questions regarding his own Party’s policy to “save the bunnies” given the grand public display of his own ignorance on Twitter.

However it is not just the Nationals with questions to answer on the promotion of this policy. The main stream media needs to have a look at their sense of balance.

In the coverage I saw there was no mention of Labor’s fully released and far more extensive policy, nor was there any mention to the fact that the National’s had voted down Clare O’Neil’s private members bill along with their Liberal Coalition partners.

Then again, Clare’s bill didn’t have the Queen of the junk food lobby Fiona Nash giving Barnaby Joyce’s lunch a cuddle.

For Clare O’Neil it must have felt like she was in some sort of time warp or that she’d dreamed her whole private members bill up.

Don’t worry Clare, there are plenty of us that do remember, even if our main stream media don’t.

7 thoughts on “On The Run – The National’s display of desperation

  1. I had no idea of this private members bill from ;Clare O`Neil Wixxy
    Or even the Nationals “me too”
    Thanks for the real news

  2. Yep bighead that’s how the mainstream media ‘censorship’ works and I’ll bet we still won’t hear of it anywhere else except here from wixxy and maybe just maybe from the ABC. Thanks Peter you are a legend. Hope an anti business move like this doesn’t upset Jennifer Westacott, labors ‘attack on big business’ has her on the point of trickling down any minute as it is.

  3. … just wondering what the ALP policy re the TPP is Peter … because unless the ALP is opposing the TPP, they they are defacto in favour of any and all of the very same legislation you find abhorrent.

    please, can we hear more about the ALP’s anti-TPP stance.

  4. Regardless of the TPP, according to Labor policy it would be illegal to import cosmetic products tested on animals

  5. ahem – please correct me if i am mistaken … the TPP supported by the ALP Peter …
    and the details are anything but democratic … maybe y’all need to go and do some more research on the TPP and the selling out of the public interests to that of big business … or read on for a brief overview of a small part of what the Colaition and ALP are supporting …

    The goal of the TPP is to make it easier for big business and international corporations to act across borders without interference from states. The TPP will effectively erode state oversight in favour of corporate freedom in areas such as the environment, workers rights, food safety, internet freedom, the costs of medicine, and financial regulation.

    Probably the most dangerous feature of the agreement as it now stands is the introduction of an Investor State Disputes Settlement (ISDS) system, in which foreign corporations are allowed to sue countries in order to protect the profitability of their investments.

    What is at stake is democratic society’s ability to regulate a market economy in the broad public interest. The TPP would constitute a further shift of power towards corporate rule without the normal means of democratic accountability, such as elections, advocacy and public protest.

    The ISDS provisions of the treaty authorize the establishment of supra-national tribunals, which would be independent of any other judicial system, to arbitrate disputes between corporations and states. A leaked text reveals the extreme corporate privilege that these investor-state tribunals constitute. Under the TPP, if a company believes an Australian law endangers its “expected future profits,” it can challenge the government at an investor-state tribunal. This tribunal has the power to overrule Australian laws and levy fines against the Australian state.

    Such tribunals already exist as a part of the World Bank and the UN. Normally they consist of three corporate lawyers, unaccountable to any electorate, who rotate between acting as prosecutors (suing governments on behalf of corporations) and judges in other disputes. These tribunals are not bound by precedent and there is no appeal mechanism. When an investor-state tribunal rules in favour of a foreign investor, the government must hand the corporation an amount of taxpayer money decided by the tribunal.

    isn’t that nice … our elected representatives acting in the interests of multinational corporations over and above the interests of their constituents … Australian families.
    thanks ALP, thanks Coalition … that’s great

    now … what could go wrong?

  6. I’m no expert on the TPP Owen but the ALP are not in the habit of making policies that conflict with their own positions.

    I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that maybe someone or some other party have misrepresented Labor’s position on the TPP

    It won’t be the first time their position on something has been distorted

  7. excellent news Peter … i look forward to confirmation that the ALP *DOES NOT* support the TPP – and cant wait for their lengthy campaign to publicise their stance.

    my mistake – thank you for correcting me.
    … this news will come as a great relief to many.

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