Topics: ‘Blood Lions’ documentary, canned hunting
Let me speak very, very briefly. Firstly to Lee – thank you for hosting today, it’s deeply appreciated. It’s just nice to be able to do things across party lines like this. And I especially want to acknowledge Donalea and Ian.
There’s a line from T. E. Lawrence – he’s better known as Lawrence of Arabia – and I think it was that “the dreamers of the night may dream their dreams, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men and women for with open eyes they look to shape and mould the world to come.”
In the nicest possible way, Donalea and Ian are dangerous men and women because they’re in engaged in the grand task of change. And that is difficult, and it’s challenging, but it’s profoundly important.
And all of you here, all of you are engaged in this particular task in relation to lions. And I especially want to acknowledge Jason Wood in his absence. Because it was Jason who came to see me, obviously with Donalea, and said ‘this has got to stop’.
And so he took me through it. And I had the same sort of scepticism – that people would breed up lions, they’d drug them, and then they’d kill them – notionally for sport.
But that actually set me to thinking that there are canned hunting exercises – but then just the general notion – and I think we’re beyond that.
And so we’ve made the decision – and didn’t ask for any permission, actually. Just made the decision, which is the opportunity you get in this job, to say ‘that’s it for Australia’.
And yes it did create a bit of controversy, but it was the right decision. And what I am very hopeful of is that Australia’s decision will snowball around the world. And my instinct is, it will.
And so I am hopeful then, but optimistic, that what you say is right – that as a country we might have done something which takes us around the world. And people who change this within the country are yourselves – so thank you very, very much.
I do want to acknowledge Paul Murphy, and Jo, and Ilse from the Department of the Environment. They are the ones that helped me find the mechanism to actually do that – along with Erin from my office.
It took some pushing within the boundaries of what was legally possible. But we’ve got there, and it’s robust.
And it’s now a decision which – it will never go back in Australia – I am 100 per cent certain of that. And I am equally confident that it will progressively be picked up around the world.
I hope that the good which comes out of the terrible loss of Cecil the Lion is that that process will be brought forward by a decade.
I think Europe will get there. When I meet with European parliamentarians – it’s likely I will see some shortly, in each of October, November and December – I will raise this issue, and gently but firmly urge them to follow Australia.
And if Europe follows, the UK will follow. If the UK follows, I think the next domino is Canada. And then the big prize is the United States. But that soil has – for all the wrong reasons – now been tilled very, very strongly.
So thank you, congratulations, and I see this film as a harsh reminder but with an optimistic finish.
So you should all be very proud of yourselves. Thank you.