A vegan politician has been elected in the New South Wales upper house - beating her pro-farming opponent.
Emma Hurst, for the Animal Justice Party, beat Liberal Democrat David Leyonhjelm to take a second NSW seat for her party - joining fellow AJP politician Mark Pearson. In addition, the party's Andy Meddick was elected to the Victorian Legislative Council in 2018.
Leyonhjelm had been so confident of winning, he published a blog post titled A manifesto for a crossbencher long before the results were announced, in which he wrote 'based on the count so far, it is evident I have been elected'.
Change for animals
Hurst previously told Plant Based News that she was running for Parliament because she is 'sickened by the way the current Government allows major corporations to be cruel to animals simply for profit'.
"By changing policies and law, and blocking Bills that would cause harm to animals, I'm confident we can build a country that is kind and respectful to all species," she added.
"My promise to the animals is this: You have all of me. The lioness in the circus- I see you. The pig in the sow stall- I see you. The mouse in the medical experimentation facility - I see you. The fish crushed at the bottom of a trawler net- I see you. I know your suffering, and I will never be silent. I will push forward no matter what life throws my way because the cruelties inflicted on you must end, and I'll do all I can to see that happen. You have all of me."
'Making a difference'
After her victory was announced, Emma Hurst published a statement on Facebook, saying: "You believed that the Animal Justice Party can make a difference in Parliament. You believed that together we can change the world. You believed, and because of your confidence in us, we won! Today I write to tell you the wonderful news that the animals have another voice in Parliament in NSW.
"We've shown once again that when we all come together, our movement is more powerful than anything the Shooters and Fishers or the National Party can throw at us. Tens of thousands of residents voted in the Animal Justice Party because they saw what we saw- that it is time for change. We WILL make a difference.
"But this is just the beginning. Now the real work begins. I won't be some politician full of empty promises - I plan to do whatever it takes to make changes for animals because there are still millions of hens in cages, there are koalas having their homes torn down, and there are animals being shot from the skies. For them, we must seize this opportunity.
"We now have the chance to get another member of Parliament in the Federal election. I've never been more confident that we will. Let's be relentless, audacious and tenacious. Let's demand change. Let's rise fearlessly and step into this moment."
"I've known Emma for many years in her various capacities at animal advocacy organisations including Animal Liberation and PETA," Katrina Fox, Founder of Vegan Business Media, told PBN. "She's smart, passionate and articulate and her move into politics is a win for animals. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act is administered at state level so Emma will have the opportunity to provide a much-needed voice for animals in New South Wales on issues such as land clearing, farming, and production and slaughter industry codes and standards.
"She's also keen to outlaw battery cages for hens, end greyhound racing and stop the destruction of koala habitats.
"The Coalition government will need the support of five crossbenchers to get legislation up, if Labor opposes it. Emma and fellow AJP member Mark Pearson will be two of those crossbenchers, which means that any legislation detrimental to animals won't have an easy pass.
"Emma has promised not to be a politician full of 'empty promises' and I believe her. She's committed to creating real change for animals. It's exciting to have a third voice for all animals in Australian politics and I hope that more Animal Justice Party members will be elected in our upcoming federal election on 18 May."?