Lion trophy disallowance motion drowned by wave of emotion

New South Wales Liberal Democrats Senator David Leyonhjelm’s attempt to disallow an amendment made by Environment Minister Greg Hunt in March to introduce measures to prevent the importation of all lion trophies and products into Australia has failed. His disallowance motion tabled in the Senate was defeated by the Labor-Liberal-Green ‘emotion’ coalition, which continued to have no interest in the conservation, economic and social benefits of managed trophy hunting in Africa.

In his address to the Senate on 12 August, Senator Leyonhjelm spoke of the Minister’s motivation to do something genuine to help reduce the unethical practice of canned hunting, but was critical of the actual measures undertaken and the advice provided by the Department of the Environment. The Senator’s motion described how the Minister’s blanket ban showed no regard for poor African villagers who rely on the economic and social benefits that come with legal, regulated fair chase hunting. The blanket ban includes all hunting, including those programs supported by the IUCN, CBD and CITES. He also said the advice provided by the department was “a mass of misinformation and obfuscation”, which truly questions the ability and ethics of those providing advice to Ministers.

Those standing up in the Senate to reject the disallowance motion relied on emotional commentary, with some using the alleged illegal hunting of Cecil the lion as a ‘pin-up boy’ for all things wrong about hunting. Senator Lindgren (Queensland), Senator Singh (Tasmania), Senator Williams (NSW), Senator Rhiannon (NSW), Senator Ruston (SA) and Senator Birmingham (SA) all rejected the motion.

SSAA National acknowledges Senator Leyonhjelm’s attempt to bring facts to the forefront of this issue, and we have previously spoken out against the ban on the basis that it is at odds with the European Union’s adopted measures to control wildlife trade. Unfortunately, many of our politicians will continue to avoid facts in favour of emotion and misconstrued assessments of public opinion on subjects that they do not, or refuse to, understand completely.

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