For a few months there has been a long thread on Birding Aus reporting
on the recent separate prosecutions of a company/companies and their
employees in relation to the deaths of Regent parrots. See those posts
for the relevant details. Here I just want to note some issues of
concern following recent developments that to arise from a lack of
apparent synchronisation between relevant State & Commonwealth law.
While I'm not up on the operation of the EBCA (Cth) legislation or the
relevant Victorian legislation it seems that an amendment/s or at least
a closer examination of these is warranted. Simon Mustoe may know better
and he's commented on this thread before.
On its face to date a number of matters appear to be of concern..
It appears there is a need to clarify and sychronise, at an agreed
taxonomic level, what appear to be at least one, though more likely
many, difficulties in the identification of taxa as they are variously
classified in prosecutions under the various State & Cth laws.
Prosecutors need a high degree of certainty of the law in order to
accurately frame charges in a matter. If the current prosecutions fail
because of what appears to be either an oversight or a failure on the
part of the States & Cth to synchronise at least their prosecutorial
powers & procedures then, as has been pointed out, the company may be
free to do the same thing again. One way around this might be to 'deem',
for a particular purpose, that references to a ssp. be read as
references to an agreed sp.or something similar. I would think that in
most cases this could be effected by amendment to regulations rather
than their substantive Acts. I may be wrong in this, but..i
The compatibility and jurisdiction between the various State & Federal
Acts that create offences for the harming and killing of animals should
be resolved and soon. If ever there was a pressing environmental concern
for birders it is the effectiveness of prosecutions for harming/killing
birds and surely if State & Cth legislators/Departments aren't
effectively coordinating their procedures & practices so as to maximise
the prospects of success of each prosecution, then they should be
persuaded to do so. I appreciate that there are most likely a
considerable number of loyal & hardworking public servants out there who
know more about this than I do but I am somewhat at a loss to understand
why the issues in and around this current scandal, and what appear to be
issues of almost systemic failure or disjunct, haven't been more widely
considered or agitated by all interested in bird conservation and
Is there a role for bodies like BA etc to be more involved in issues
like this? - I haven't heard a peep from any of the peak
body/NGO/Government agencies about these current issues for the length
of this thread. I've raised this before but it would seem that among the
apparently well-educated & suitably employed of BA/COG members that
there would be a small group interested in this area of bird law and
willing/interested enough to do something about these matters. What
about a 'Bird Law Special Interest Group' or similar.
One form of Government advertising I wouldn't mind seeing is a campaign
that trumpeted the Government's success at prosecutions like this,
promoted the prospect of greater cooperation between the State & Cth and
announcing a well-resourced and empowered inter-governmental unit to
investigate, prosecute and drive policy & public initiatives on the
prevention of all Wildlife Crime.
Pigs are swooping past my window as I write ...
Best, may the sun and the wind be behind and your birds in front of you!
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