Minister of Agriculture:
Will he ask the Pork Industry Board if they were aware that Thomson and Clark Investigations were collecting information for them on animal rights campaigner Rochelle Rees by means of a tracking device planted under her car; if not, why not?
Hon DAVID CARTER (Minister of Agriculture): I have.
Keith Locke: Could the Minister explain what the answer was, and will he investigate the matter further now that the Pork Industry Board has admitted receiving information from Thompson and Clark Investigations on domestic animal rights activists in an email sent today, given that some of that information may have come from Thompson and Clark Investigations’ proven use of a covert tracking device against an animal rights activist?
Hon DAVID CARTER: I have yet to receive a response to my letter to the Pork Industry Board. But I think that three things are worth remembering: firstly, this was a
article; secondly, some allegations were made that were not substantiated in that article; and, thirdly—this is important—the author of the article was that well-known, fair-minded, independent journalist known as Nicky Hager.
Keith Locke: Does he think it is unusual that the Pork Industry Board would reply to me before replying to the Minister on this matter, and does he not think it would be quite wrong for the Pork Industry Board to benefit from such unethical, covert surveillance, particularly given that even the police cannot use a tracking device without a very good reason and a judge’s warrant?
Hon DAVID CARTER: Nothing that the Pork Industry Board does surprises me. I certainly think that the board would be far better to focus on meeting the genuine concerns out there in relation to the consumption of pork products by consumers, rather than engaging in this sort of tactic.
Hon Damien O’Connor: Is the Minister satisfied with the time that it is taking to produce the new pig welfare code—a code that he promised would be delivered last year; if not, when will he show some leadership and step in to resolve the pork industry issues?
Hon DAVID CARTER: I am disappointed in time that it has taken to deliver the code. As was mentioned in the House last week, we now expect the draft code to be finalised over the next few weeks. It is then a matter of undertaking a peer review before the draft code is presented to me, but I gave my commitment to the House that I will process it as quickly as possible. It is worth noting that one of the reasons that it has been delayed is the threat of legal action from the Pork Industry Board.