‘A modern Liberal Party must speak out’: New MP James Newbury targets duck hunting in Victoria
A newly elected Victorian Liberal MP has used his maiden speech to Parliament to criticise the practice of duck hunting and call on his party to do more to protect the state’s wildlife.
- James Newbury won the safe Liberal seat of Brighton by 865 votes
- He said modern Victoria had a “growing conscience” for the natural environment
- Victoria is one of three states where duck hunting is legal
The new member for Brighton, James Newbury, said his party needed to accept that modern Victoria had a “growing conscience” for the natural environment.
He then appeared to speak out against duck hunting, saying the sport did not represent the wider community.
“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,” Mr Newbury told the Parliament.
“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.
“Victoria’s natural environment and wildlife are a unique part of this state’s identity and a modern Liberal Party must speak out on behalf of the promotion and preservation of them.”
Victoria is one of three states where duck hunting is legal, though it can only be carried out at certain times and in certain areas.
Eradicating duck shooting also has the support of Andy Meddick, the new Animal Justice Party MP in the Upper House, who said banning the sport would be his first priority.
‘I have heard you’
Mr Newbury also used his maiden speech to acknowledge the strong message sent by the community in delivering Labor a resounding victory.
“As a Liberal member in this place, I am part of a party that now only holds one quarter of the seats in this chamber,” he said.
“On election day, the electorate delivered the strongest possible message, and I say to them directly tonight, I have heard you.”
Mr Newbury said Liberal-leaning voters were demanding a clear vision for the state, and the party needed to reset and modernise.
“We must reconnect with the community and become a stronger voice for mainstream Victorians again,” he said.
The Liberal MP for Brighton is a conservative who used an editorial in Fairfax Media to call for racial profiling.
He argued political correctness was getting in the way of justice, and police should collect and publish ethnic data.
Mr Newbury also campaigned against plans for a homeless shelter on vacant land in Brighton East.
His preselection for the seat, which he has taken over from veteran MP Louise Asher, proved controversial as there were calls for another woman to take Ms Asher’s place.
The Liberal Party has just four women in Lower House seats.
Mr Newbury got a major shock on election night when it seemed he had lost the safe Liberal seat of Brighton to a 19-year-old Labor candidate.
He ended up winning by 865 votes, with 51.12 per cent of the two-party-preferred vote.
Labor has returned to Parliament with an increased majority. (Parliament of Victoria: Vicki Jones)