Sunday, 19 June 2011

The Victorian #Climate Action #Calendar 18 June to 17 August 2011


THE SUSTAINING CONSUMER #sustainability #ethics #recycling


The purpose of this page is to provide useful information for consumers 
which may provide ethical and sustaining ways of spending the retail dollar.
If Networkers have information that would be useful for this page,
please email me at misseaglesnetwork(at)gmail(dot)com

Opp Shops and 2nd Hand Outlets
This site is Melbourne oriented.
It provides on the sidebar access to lists of Opp Shops in Melbourne.
The site is a co-operative blog so you can brag about your
canny purchases.

Garage Sales
This site claims to be Australia's biggest and best garage sale website.
It has quite a variety of information and resources available
if you are planning a garage sale.

Farmers' Markets

Ethical Shopping

Books and Other Information

The #RuralLobby does not speak with one voice on #banlive export : Photos from Canberra and Melbourne


 I am indebted to Rosie Williams (@CollectiveAct) for the picture above.
It is from the #banliveexport rally held in Canberra.

It is good to remember that the #RuralLobby does not speak with one voice on this issue.
The couple below were at the Melbourne rally.
As you can see from their placards, 
they have a different point of view from those above -
but their hearts are concerned with the welfare of the animals.
I thank this pair below for their patience in listening to me yesterday.
Yes they were severely outnumbered about 500:1 -
but patient they were and I am sure I was not alone in conversing with them.

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#banliveexport by going to and following @AnimalsAus


You can add your voice to the campaign to #banliveexport - cattle, sheep, pigs etc - 
by going to
and following 
on Twitter

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Saturday, 18 June 2011

National Day of Action to End Live Export : Photographs from the Melbourne rally #banliveexport


To-day was a National Day of Action to End Live Export.

Rallies were scheduled across Australia.
In the capital cities, people gathered at Parliament Houses.
In the regions, people gathered at Local Government buildings.

These pictures were taken at the rally outside
Parliament House, Spring Street, Melbourne, Victoria.

I don't know how many people were there.
Somewhere between 500 and 1000 people is my estimate.

Please email your Federal politicians
Further reading:
Farmers, activists face off  in live export rally
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Thursday, 16 June 2011

Don't let the #RuralLobby dominate the conversation on #liveexports, #water, #mdb - feel free to #joinin


Let me make myself clear, I have a jaundiced view of special pleading for the poor people in the country. Let me explain.

I am 67 years of age. From birth to 11 years of age, I lived in Brisbane.  From 1997 to 2001, I lived and worked in Sydney - which gave me a great deal of insight into corporate Australia, especially when I worked for a Packer company headed by Andrew Robb. From 2004, I have lived (and worked a little) in Melbourne. Of my adult life, therefore, I have spent ten years living in cities.  The rest has been lived in North Queensland apart from nine years in Toowoomba on the Darling Downs and four and a half years living in Tennant Creek in the NT.  I have spent thirteen and half years of my life living on the Barkly Tableland - a part of the world for which I have a deep love.  The Barkly Tableland extends across the Qld border, so - as well as Territory Time - I lived in Mount Isa for nine years.  I grew up in Bowen, at the northern end of the Whitsundays and, immediately prior to coming to Melbourne, was back again living in Townsville where I have lived for a total of nine years. 

I may not have lived "on the land" but I have lived in towns which have experienced the economic vicissitudes of rural life - droughts, governments with out-of-sight-out-of-mind attitudes who spend big on capital city freeways.  Nineteen years of my life were lived under the National Party Police State (of which Bob Katter Jr was a part) that was life under Joh Bjelke-Petersen.  Queensland (except perhaps for WA) is the one state where there is any National Party dominance.  NSW and Victoria have never really seen what the National Party will do when left to its own devices.  Queensland has. 

My father, J.J. O'Carroll Junior demonstrating cuts of beef
Bowen School of Arts in the 1950s

I do have an understanding of the current live cattle export drama.  You see, I grew up in Bowen beside the meatworks of Thomas Borthwick & Sons at Merinda.  In those days, Borthwick's were a family company owned by an English family and one of its younger members, whom I met, was actually called Tom. My father was a butcher, had gone to Bowen to be Boning Room Foreman, and became North Queensland Sales Manager.  My grandfather, in Brisbane, had been Queensland Stock Manager for AML&F - a pastoral house which became absorbed in takeovers, first from Dalgety and then Elders etc. So beef and cattle were pretty much the staples of family dinner-table conversation in my household.  Borthwick's meatworks at Merinda was an export works - exporting, in those days, mainly to the USA (very stringent export conditions) and the UK.  There may have been some Japanese exports too. 
My grandfather J.J. O'Carroll Senior sometime in the 1950s.
He was steward of the Fat Cattle at Brisbane's RNA (The Ekka) for many years. 
He was Queensland's, possibly Australia's, oldest licensed livestock auctioneer for some time

I used to watch the cattle coming over from stations like Alexandra on the Barkly in the NT.  I also know about the deliberate annihilation of export meatworks in Northern Australia by the rural lobby - someone should speak to Andrew Robb about this - so that they didn't have to put up with unions and so on. 

The pastoralists/graziers didn't give a fig for the economic lives of communities in Northern Australia for whom seasonal meatworks employment was a significant factor.  I am sorry for what has happened - although, as a vegetarian, I am a supporter of a complete ban on live exports.  Events seem to me to be a sort of natural justice, an ultimate outworking of decisions made a long time ago. 

As someone who has this sort of background, I feel I have heard - across the years - all that the rural lobby in all its forms has to say.  They are masters and mistresses of special and sectional pleading.

Other evidence of this special pleading is the fact that, with changes of government in Australia's most populous states, Victoria and NSW, water (our most precious commodity after clean, fresh air) has been consigned into the hands of the National Party.  Urban populations - who provide the bulk of regional tourism income to towns in the Murray Darling Basin by visiting National Parks, the Murray, the Darling, etc - have been excluded from consideration in the MDB discussions.  Only those special Australians of the rural lobby can have their say and their way in such debates, it would seem. 

A large section of rural people involved in agriculture talk too much to themselves about their specialness, how everyone depends of them, how they are at the mercy of those greenies and animal libbers.  This is the lobby that pleaded for tariffs to be removed so they could import their farm machinery from the USA and pay less for it.  And now we have Bob Katter Jr spouting a form of protectionism! This is the rural sector from whom John Kerin, the Hawke era Minister for Primary Industries, removed drought aid because there were so many people rorting the system!

I wouldn't care so much about the special pleading if there wasn't hatred and bigotry attached - but, as I have pointed out, their conversations are circular.

I don't believe the rural lobby and its constituents are aware of the huge social changes that have brought about clear, articulate, educated, intelligent voices in our society.

Bill Bishop, in his book 'The Big Sort", speaks of the clustering of like-minded Americans and how it is tearing them apart.

We are seeing a similar emergence in this country.  We see it the inner city suburbs of Melbourne and Sydney with the growing influence of The Greens vote.  However, that is not the only "sort".  Australians are wealthier and better educated and better travelled than every before. This applies to the rural sector as well.
There are two factors which wealth and education provide - choice and reflection.  It is clear that over the last decade or two there has been increasing reflection on ethical consumption - and consumption is dependent on choice.  The ethical middle class has spoken with regard to the cattle crisis and yet, it seems,that the rural lobby - in spite of the levy - did not manage in an effective manner the risk to its brand and its business of the ethical consumer. 

In my view, this demonstrates the insularity of the rural community reinforcing its own view within its own constituency without regard to other social factors.  As well as everything else, the rural lobby would do well to gain the services of a non-sympathetic sociologist to wake them up. 

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Wednesday, 15 June 2011

I HATE DOCKLANDS #poorplanning in #Melbourne


I rarely if ever post on the subject of planning in relation to cities and development.  However, I am to-day because I am impressed by this quote from Professor Kim Dovey:

The image that is created of real estate developers camping in the office of a Minister of the Crown is mind boggling - and the Minister buckling at the knees because of the presence of those who are, we hope, unwelcome guests.  But then there is that other image - of developers being very welcome guests as they bring money to party hacks for the coffers of corrupt political parties.  

Can I say quite loudly "I HATE DOCKLANDS!".  I don't even refer to it as Docklands  To me it is Beijing South - because it reminds of me of the cheek by jowl high rise development of Beijing.  Victoria is known as The Garden State.  Melbourne likes to promote its boulevards and leafy streets.  Where are these in Docklands.  Sure there is a very small portion of greenery here and there but I wonder how these spaces will be in the years to come because I think they will be deprived of sunshine and the necessary components for plants to thrive.  

And, Networkers, in case you think I am just another carping critic, I am not alone.  My appraisal is based on what I consider an offence to the human spirit.  A more intelligent, articulate, and knowledgable response is here


Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Can sensibility return to #Italy? Referenda succeed against campaign by the Italian government : #Berlusconi and #NorthernLeague setbacks


It is nice to know that somewhere in the world people are making good decisions en masse - and dancing in the streets when the results come in.  Somewhere in the world is Italy - where Berlusconi has taking a hiding in response to some pretty dreadful referenda questions. 

Italians, over two days, voted on two questions:
  1.  Procedures for the awarding and management of local public services of economic importance. Repeal? - This question, if passed, would repeal the rules that currently allow the management of local public services to be entrusted to the private sector.
  2.  Determination of the water service tariff based on an adequate return on invested capital. Partial repeal of regulations? - The question proposes the repeal of the regulations governing the determination of tariffs for the supply of water, the amount of which currently provides for a return on capital invested by the operator.
  3. Repeal of Sections 1 and 8 of Article 5 of Decree Number 34 of March 31st 2011, made (with amendments) into law on May 26th 2011, Decree Number 75: Partial repeal of regulations? - The question proposes the repeal of new regulations allowing for the production of nuclear power within the territory
  4. Repeal of Provisions of Law Number 51 of April 7th, 2010, on legitimate impediment of the Prime Minister and Ministers to appear in criminal court, in accordance with sentence number 23 of 2011 by the Constitutional Court. Repeal? -  The question proposes the repeal of the regulations of legitimate impediment of the President of the Council of Ministers and the Ministers to appear in a criminal court, in accordance with sentence number 23 of 2011 by the Constitutional Court. (Source - Wikipedia - 16/6/2011)
The first two questions related to the privatisation of water and such privatisation was rejected. Italians also rejected a return to nuclear energy (what a surprise!), and refused to go along with putting Berlusconi and his Ministers above the law.  Approximately 95% of Italian voters chose to repeal all referenda questions in spite of a multi-million dollar  campaign to deter a 50+% voter turnout.

Also cause for rejoicing is the recent electorate setbacks of Berlusconi and his Northern League fascisti allies.

Miss Eagle did her own solo dance at home on hearing the news.

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The Victorian #Climate Action #Calendar 12 June to 10 August 2011 #environment #sustainability


Australian politics : Refugees : Asylum Seekers

This post sums up the whole matter very well. The attitudes displayed to asylum seekers and refugees in Australia's Parliament shames this nature. We have, in recent days, displayed a national outpouring of compassion for Australian cattle being inhumanely treated in meatworks in Indonesia. The Australian Government and the relevant industry bodies have been catapulted into action from their comfortable positions of out of sight, out of mind. Why can't Australians have the same compassion for human beings? Not to do so is a national shame.

Tell #MartinFerguson and #Labor to stop mucking about with #Muckaty - #nuclearwaste


Radioactive waste fight grows: 

Muckaty plan a bad deal, not a done deal

Date: 14-Jun-2011
CANBERRA: The Australian Conservation Foundation has described as cynical and irresponsible the introduction to the Senate of recycled Howard-era legislation aimed at fast-tracking a nuclear waste dump in the Northern Territory.

The National Radioactive Waste Management Bill, which seeks to override state, territory and local government concerns and exempt the federal government from meeting key environmental and Aboriginal heritage rules, is to be introduced to the Senate today.

“This heavy-handed legislation is a cut-and-paste of a deeply unpopular Howard-era law – it is not a credible or mature basis for managing Australia’s radioactive waste,” said ACF Nuclear Free campaigner Dave Sweeney.

There is growing opposition, in the NT and beyond, to the federal dump planned for contested Aboriginal land at Muckaty, 120 kilometres north of Tennant Creek.

It is being challenged in the Federal Court by Traditional Owners of the region.

“Indigenous, development, public health, environment and faith groups, key unions and the NT Government all oppose energy minister Martin Ferguson’s waste dump plan,” Dave Sweeney said.

“Radioactive waste lasts a lot longer than a politician’s promise so we need to get its management right.

“This dump plan is a cynical attempt to find a short term political fix to a long term environmental and human health hazard.

“With key questions around consultation, consent and ownership currently before the Federal Court it is improper for Minister Ferguson to be trying to fast track this legislation, which is based on a false premise and a broken promise.

“The Muckaty plan is a bad deal, not a done deal – and it is set to become a household name and a major community campaign.”

Visit Martin Ferguson's Facebook page.
For more reading 
on what the dreadful Martin Ferguson
and the Australian Labor Party Government
are trying to do at Muckaty Station 

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Friday, 10 June 2011

Meat sales down as consumers come face to face with the realities of the kill


Click to enlarge.

The Wran Lecture by Senator John Faulkner - the annotated version


Below is an annotated version 
of  The Wran Lecture 
delivered last night by
Senator John Faulkner.

With one exception, the annotation is done by highlighting and colour coding of text.
I leave it to Networkers to discern the reasons for the choice of colour as applied to the text.
The one exception is an insertion of text expressing my own view.
This is the one area where, so far, I am unable to agree with Faulkner.

#Yindjibarndi and the #FortescueMetalsGroup #FMG #mining #resources #Aboriginal #Indigenous #land


Yindjibarndi country 
The areas in red are
FMG Tenements on Yindjibarndi country.

Hattip to Denis of The Nature of Robertson 
coz this sort of slipped through my net.

Roebourne, WA
8 June 2011

No faith in procedural fairness of Conflicted Minister and ACMC After admissions last week by WA Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Peter Collier, that he takes great guidance from his close personal friend Andrew Forrest.

Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation fears that the procedural fairness and independence of the Minister’s office with regard to heritage decisions have been compromised. The Aboriginal Cultural Materials Committee (ACMC), which reports directly to the Minister, is currently considering two Section 18 applications by Andrew Forrests Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) to allow destruction of Yindjibarndi sites within the Solomon Hub project. We try to maintain faith in the process and participate in good faith, but it’s hard to feel like you are getting a fair go when you hear the Minister say he takes advice from the man that wants to bulldoze our sacred sites said Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation CEO, Michael Woodley. Woodley added, No traditional owner can expect unbiased decision- making at the hands of this Minister about sites inside Andrew Forrests tenements, especially when you think that FMG totally dominate the Pilbara, covering an area larger than BHP and Rio combined.”  

Given the clear conflict of interest exposed by the Ministers admissions the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation is calling on the Minister to remove himself from the decision making process.

Grave doubts have also been cast over the administration of the ACMC under the chairmanship of Haydn Lowe. Mr Lowe, a former Liberal Party chief-of-staff, was appointed under a cloud of controversy by previous Indigenous affairs minister Kim Hames in mid-2009.

Mr Lowe was not among those recommended for the post by the previous Registrar of Aboriginal Sites and it was alleged that the Minister improperly intervened in appointing Mr Lowe despite the fact that his name was not on the list of recommended candidates, and that he did not meet the selection criteria.

Last week, on 1 June 2011, Mr Lowe chaired an a meeting of the ACMC regarding FMG's Section 18 applications, which Yindjibarndi consider denied them procedural fairness. Yindjibarndi legal representatives, Slater & Gordon, have written to Mr Lowe and the Minister to put the ACMC on notice that Yindjibarndi consider they were not given an adequate opportunity to be heard in relation to the section 18 applications.

Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation has indicated that they are prepared to seek remedy in the courts if the ACMC refuses them the opportunity to be properly heard.

If such legal proceedings become necessary, the Aboriginal heritage process is likely to be brought to a halt, as will FMGs proposed mining activity. Just yesterday, a meeting of the board of the Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation unanimously voted to reject attempts being made by FMG to control access to sites currently the subject of their Section18 applications.

This is our country, no company, especially one that is trying to get approval to destroy our sacred sites is going to tell us what we can and cant do on our country said Woodley.

Link to interview with Mr Collier broadcast on Monday May 31 2011

Previous posts re this topic on The Network:

#TwiggyForrest tweaks stacked meeting to twubble #nativetitle holders in Roebourne #mining #land #resources #indigenous #Aboriginal

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Ludwig skewered? A Royal Commission on #LiveExports? A #timeline on #whoknewwhatwhen?

Joe Ludwig and Lyn White
Minister for Agriculture Senator Joe Ludwig
with RSPCA's Heather Neil and Animals Australia's Lyn White.
Photo: Alex Ellinghausen. From The Age 

The Live Export trade to Indonesia becomes murkier and murkier as the days go by. The Four Corners program, A Bloody Business, aroused the horror and indignation of the nation.  Australians cannot let this slide – as we can do very easily with so many issues.  

It is a complex issue but, as more and more comes to light,one thing is clear.  This issue has many sides to it.  It seems to me that only some of the people and organisations who might be connected with this have come into public view. Michelle Grattan gives some clues.
Another place to explore is the Hansard report of the Estimates session of the Senate Rural Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee held on 24 May 2011 in the week prior to the 4 Corners telecast.  

I have made provision below for downloading this report.  I have also taken some extracts from the Hansard for Networkers who don’t want to download such a large document.  Details in these extracts can keep you researching for a substantial time.
Meat & Livestock Authority is the organisation that is front and centre in all this and who certainly has a great deal of explaining to do – and so far any explaining they have done is not all that wonderful.

Among the people and organisations we need to hear from are:
Ass Prof Vizard’s bio says that he has and interest in the“production risk in the grazing industries”.  Perhaps he considers that his interest does not extend to live export of sheep and cattle and does not include the slaughter of exported animals in Indonesia.  However, as someone close to the industry and with a professional interest animals, it might be a good idea to hear from him.

My view is that we need some extensive research on this which could provide, as an end result, a timeline of who knew what when leaving no one out whether that be governments, political parties, political representatives, bureaucrats, industry organisation.

The Howard Government held a Royal Commission under the heading of an Inquiry into certain Australian companies in relation to the UN Oil-For-Food programme in connection with alleged corruption connected to the Australian Wool Board (AWB). Do Networkers think that the animal cruelty exhibited in the live export trade warrants a Royal Commission?  Let me know your views in the comments section as well as in the poll at the top of the sidebar.

I am aware of the old adage which says to governments not to call a Royal Commission unless they know what the answer is going to be.  I know, particularly after the revelations and non-revelations from the AWB and bureaucrats within the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, that the end result of Royal Commissions is not always what one might wish.  

What a Royal Commission does provide is judicial coercion to appear and answer.  In the hands of a determined judicial investigator (I think more of Fitzgerald than Cole).  Even when there is papering over and obfuscation – as happened with much testimony before the Cole Inquiry – the general public can still make up its own mind. The material and evidence presented provides signposts to a concerned and committed government about changes, necessary legislation, bureaucratic duck-shoving and so on. 

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Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Reframing the #animalcruelty debate: #ethics #economy #asylumseekers

Australian Minister for Agriculture Joe Ludwig
speaking to Kerry Lonergan, long time rural journalist with
ABC's Landline.

One of the two major stories dominating Australian politics and civil society is the live export of cattle to Indonesia.  The other topic is the proposed live export of asylum seekers under the Malaysian Solution which, in my view, attempts to legitimise human trafficking.

On Monday 30 May 2011, the ABC's Four Corners broadcast an expose of cruelty in the slaughter of Australian cattle in Indonesia.  There has been uproar ever since as consumers, meat-eaters, animal lovers, and cattle producers express their horror. You will find more videos here.

Australians owe a debt of gratitude to Lyn White of Animals Australia and Bidda Jones, Chief Scientist with the RSPCA.  Their undercover work unveiled the reality of animal cruelty and breeches of halal slaughter at meatworks in Indonesia. 

Meat and Livestock Australia is the body which, supposedly, has been in charge of supervising standards of the slaughter of Australian cattle in Indonesia.  MLA is supported by a 'per head' levy on producers. Producers are justified in questioning and blaming MLA for what is now happening. MLA have been involved in Indonesia for approximately two decades. Did they know about the cruelty? If not, why not? If so, have they deliberately covered up or walked away?

If MLA was properly acting for its constituency/membership, it would have sought to minimise and manage factors which pose a risk to the trade in live cattle.  It would appear that this has not been a driving factor for the MLA and its employees.  Because risk management - as well as animal suffering - clearly has not been front and centre, MLA has damaged Australian's name/brand.  

The Minister has today announced a six month suspension of all live cattle exports to Indonesia.  Joe Ludwig has dragged the chain on this.  It took him some days after the broadcast to announce a decision limiting exports and then to-day he has announced the six month suspension.  People concerned about animal cruelty won't be happy until there is a complete and absolute ban on all live cattle exports. Joe in manner, speech and substance has displayed a great deal of hesitancy.

Cattle producers will tell you how wide ranging the suspension or possible banning of live cattle exports will be.  It will impact at many levels across the Australian economy.  Its biggest impact will certainly be north of the Tropic of Capricorn - in West Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland.

I sympathise with the producers but I also have a long memory - and one can't help saying that what goes around comes around.

There used to be thriving export meatworks in Northern Australia.  I remember a picture from my social studies book when I was about twelve of frozen meat being loaded into aeroplanes at Wyndham in West Australia.  I grew up beside an export meatworks where my father was an executive. Cattle producers didn't like the costs associated with long distances to meatworks. They didn't like it if their product was in anyway hampered by industrial disputation.  Their industry organisations worked single-mindedly to destroy export works so that they would be free to establish live export markets which, they believed, would be more profitable.  

The concerted elimination of export works in Northern Australia affected communities, caused loss of skills, and value-added production in the Australian industry.  The producer associations didn't think twice about eliminating the livelihoods of those people, those communities but will seek sympathy now when their own livelihoods are threatened.

I can't help wondering if the MLA or the cattle producer organisations understand the changing values of Australians.  They might like to engage the services of a sociologist.  Increasing numbers of Australians are altering their diet: Meatless Mondays; declining meat consumption; vegetarian and vegan diets.  Once upon a time, one could have denigrated these factors and their proponents with the pejorative terms of 'cranks', 'activists' and so on.  And my suspicion is that the cattle producers and their organisations still do this.  They talk to one another and reinforce each others views.  They take these views into that rural rump of politics, the National Party.  

Meanwhile, Australians are better educated and more skilled.  Many of us are earning more money than Australians have earned before.  Many of us may have deserted the churches but hold to a strict set of personal and social ethics. Increasing numbers of Australians are taking to heart health messages advocating a lower meat intake than is usual in the Australian diet.  Increasing numbers of Australians are adopting ethical standards about the treatment of animals and human degradation of the environment.  Has no one in the beef industry considered that somewhere, sometime there would be a tipping of the balance and their product could be adversely affected?

Lyn White and Bidda Jones are intelligent and well-connected women.  I haven't met Bidda but I have met Lyn and find her competence and commitment to animal welfare exemplary.  These women cannot be dismissed easily - and nor have they been.  They have impacted a nation.  I don't think it too much to say that matters affecting industrial animals may never be the same again.

The suspension of live exports is no simple matter.  The banning of live exports is so simple matter.  Lawyers and barristers involved in cases of animal welfare say that while the suffering of domestic animals and pets can be redressed in the courts, the fate of industrial animals is quite different.  Agricultural/Primary Production industry organisations have developed industry standards.  They capture the ear of the relevant state or federal minister.  The result is that if producers are charged with cruelty toward industrial animals, producers can use as a legitimate defence that they are acting in accord with industry standards, irrespective of how low those standards might be.

As Australia begins to understand this situation and come to grips with what lies behind the Indonesian situation, we need a national understanding.  We need to take care in how we frame the debate. No more lowest common denominator industry standards. Australians need to find a way to express respect and understanding for widespread ethical standards on animal care and environmental circumstances.  Australia's own self-respect is at stake in all this.  Somehow we have not managed the care of industrial animals very well.  And this can be reflected in how we treat people as well - because we are not treating the sojourner very well at all. 

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