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.
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.
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.Follow @madwixxy