Michael Pengilly, the Liberal Member for Finniss moved the Bill. Here are some of his comments which might give the Australian Egg Corporation and corporate egg producers pause for thought - especially as there is an election looming in SA and the Libs may win Government.
“Quite simply, if the government through the Deputy Premier thinks that standing up and puffing and blowing about some so-called voluntary code is going to fix the issues with free-range egg production, he is having a lend of himself completely. It will not fix it because the Australian Egg Corporation, as far as I am concerned, is nothing much short of a mob of crooks. I have said that before and I will say it again. The whole system is geared towards the huge caged egg producers, and they have never been the issue with genuine free-range egg producers.
The minister in another place really does not understand the issue. Ministers come and go, as do members of parliament; however, I am concerned that free-range egg producers will get ridden over roughshod and that voluntary codes of practice will not work, purely on the weight of numbers. The structure of the Australian Egg Corporation's voting is that the more chooks you have the more votes you get. It is like something out of Communist Russia, quite frankly. It is blatantly ridiculous.
Free-range egg producers are relatively small in number, as opposed to the cage producers—who produce a quality item as well. As I said, that is not the issue, and calling them 'barn eggs' where they can get out of a shed every now and then is one thing but genuine, free-range egg producers or those who choose to limit to 1,500 birds per hectare, should be treated properly. They should be treated properly and not subjected to intimidation, bullying and outright bloody lying from the Australian Egg Corporation. It is foolish and not helpful.”
This Bill may well be reintroduced if the Liberals gain government there.