A PUSH within the Victorian Coalition to curb or ban duck shooting has been flagged by a freshly-elected Opposition MP.
Brighton MP James Newbury used his maiden speech to criticise duck hunting, claiming it is a niche pastime without broad community support.
However, new state Opposition Leader Michael O’Brien has distanced himself from the call, maintaining the bipartisan support for the practice in Spring St.
“The protection of our natural environment must also extend to animal welfare,” Mr Newbury said in his first speech to state parliament.
“For three months each year, duck hunters, who represent half of 1 per cent of Victorians, kill and bag up to 10 ducks per day. Though hunters are required to carry out ducks killed, hundreds of birds, including endangered species supposedly protected from being shot, are found dead during the season.”
Mr Newbury narrowly fended off a Labor challenge in the once-safe Liberal constituency covering some of Melbourne’s most prosperous suburbs at the 2018 state election.
The former political adviser said the stand against duck shooting would help re-establish the Coalition’s brand following the bruising loss to the Andrews Government.
“Victoria’s natural environment and wildlife are unique parts of this state’s identity and a modern Liberal Party must speak out on behalf of the promotion and preservation of them,” Mr Newbury said.
A spokesman for Mr O’Brien reaffirmed the Coalition’s stance on duck hunting.
“A maiden speech is an opportunity for an individual MP to raise issues of personal interest. In no way does a new MP’s maiden speech determine party policy,” the spokesman said. “The Coalition’s policy regarding duck season — which supports a sensible, well-regulated approach — remains unchanged.”
Recreational shooting of native ducks is outlawed in NSW, Queensland and Western Australia.