Anti-duck hunting campaigner Laurie Levy is at it again, this time launching an extraordinary attack on Victorian Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews and the Labor Party. According to a report published in The Age, Levy is leading a provocative campaign against Labor in key inner-city seats, accusing the party of supporting “male gun violence” for not taking a stance against duck hunting. Levy also said that encouraging kids to hunt was a form of child abuse.
Dead birds have been placed at the offices of MPs, a graphic 21-page booklet will be distributed to voters, and posters have been displayed in seats such as Melbourne, Brunswick and Albert Park urging people to “vote Greens first and Labor last” at the November 29 poll.
“The Victorian Labor Party and ‘Dictaphone’ Dan Andrews support male gun violence and cruelty to native waterbirds,” the posters say.
The campaign by the Coaliton Against Duck Shooting has outraged Labor MPs who say it is deliberately designed to confuse the party’s message on family violence. Earlier this year, Mr Andrews announced that if elected, he would create a royal commission on family violence to re-examine the issue “from the ground up”.
In a letter to MPs and party chiefs, group spokesman Laurie Levy wrote that while he supported the royal commission, “it makes good political sense to be consistent with your message, and as long as Labor continues to support recreational male gun violence and cruelty to native waterbirds, you risk being seen as hypocritical”.
Mr Levy then goes on to write that “cruelty to animals is regarded as a ‘high risk’ indicator of family violence” and “encouraging children to be cruel to animals can also be seen as a form of child abuse”.
Opposition leader Daniel Andrews hit back last week, describing the comments as “disgraceful” and adding that “Laurie Levy should apologise to every victim of family violence across our state”.
Brunswick MP Jane Garrett agreed. “Bringing violence against women and children into the duck hunting debate crosses the line,” she said.
While the anti-duck shooting campaign is not run by the Greens, the issue is nonetheless likely to inflame tensions between the two warring parties as the campaign intensifies, particularly in the inner-city, where the minor party is trying to win its first lower house seat.
Asked if he endorsed the campaign, Greens leader Greg Barber said: “We’ve always opposed duck hunting, most Victorians do and most states have already banned it. The reason Labor and the Coalition are on the wrong side of this question is simple: they are pandering for the preferences of the various shooters’ parties”.
The 21-page booklet produced by Mr Levy’s group shows photos of bloody birds killed during duck hunting season, as well as photos of various MPs, including Mr Andrews, Ms Garrett and state Melbourne MP Jennifer Kanis.
Mr Levy admitted his images and words were provocative, but added that Labor had been silent on the issue for too long.
“We’d be more than happy to change our voting recommendations; advise the public to put the Liberals last if Labor introduces a policy to ban recreational duck shooting,” he said.