I have never been more ashamed of being a West Australian as I have been in these last few days.
Last week, federal environment minister Greg Hunt granted the West Australian government exemption under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act allowing the state to hunt and kill sharks along our coastline.
This lifted an embargo and allowed for the state to cull Great White Sharks, a species listed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species and are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.
Naturally, and thankfully, there has been a huge backlash against the government over this decision, with noted rich assholes like Richard Branson and Ricky Gervais hopping aboard the anti-cull bandwagon. I say this is great. I’m no tree-hugging hippie by any means, but where are we as a society if we think it is right to cull a threatened species just so people can inhabit their natural territory? The arrogance displayed on the part of the government is astounding, and (unfortunately for us) it might only be the 3rd or 4th most arrogant thing Colin Barnett has done in his stint on the throne!
This is a man who, lest we forget, infamously declared in 2010 that air-conditioners are “not necessary” in Perth, after he was widely criticized for a hike in electricity tariffs following his decision to sell utilities to private enterprises. Never mind that the Summers in Perth are notorious roasting (it got to 44 degrees celsius a couple of weeks ago, for example). Interesting to note: Barnett resides in Claremont, an affluent riverside suburb west of Perth proper, and claims to not have air-conditioning installed in his home. I don’t believe that for a second, but in any event, he gets a nice sea breeze every afternoon to cool his home down; not every Perth taxpayer has that luxury.
WA Premier Barnett claims that he is putting West Australians first with this initiative. Okay. The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that 80% of Australians are opposed to shark culling. We don’t want sharks culled, not the sensitive and intelligent amongst us at least. The 20% in support are probably just rednecks anyway, with a collective intelligence no more than your garden variety elected government official.
Barnett cares for the people of WA like Hitler cared for Jews.
Let’s cull politicians instead, and leave the sharks alone.