NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)
25th March, 1911 : It is now illegal to export a large variety of native Australian birds or their plumage, skin or eggs. Federal legislation was gazetted today, and will come as welcome news to naturalists and anyone interested in preserving our most distinctive birds. The protection of fauna is largely a State matter, but until now there has been little done to prevent the export of birds.
Under the new law, approval will have to be sought from the Minister of Customs to take the birds out of the country, and then only if relevant state regulations have been met. The law covers such birds as emus, lorikeets, cockatoos, parrots, kingfishers, lyrebirds, albatroses, finches and others.
[ November 2012 – The illegal trade of birds into and out of Australia is going virtually unchecked, with two sweeping government investigations failing to prosecute the smugglers they identified. The investigations revealed the role of sophisticated networks of criminals trading eggs of native parrots with those of exotic parrots from South Africa, Singapore and the Philippines.
But despite having some of the toughest penalties in the world for wildlife crime, up to 10 years in jail and $100,000 fines, the alleged perpetrators were not even charged.
The previous national manager of investigations with the Australian Customs Service says that is because wildlife investigations are poorly resourced. Richard Janeczko, who retired from Customs in 2009, says the illegal trade in birds is alive and well. But he says the lack of prosecutions is because of the poor quality of evidence obtained during the investigations. ]