Late last year, the Animal Justice Party (AJP) won a seat in the Senate of the Australian State of Victoria. Andy Meddick, former builder and an active Trade Union member, was elected on behalf of the AJP and delivered his maiden speech in Parliament last week. His special maiden speech, personal and straight from the heart, touched many people. The speech did not only have an important message for Australians, but also for people all over the world.
Andy Meddick’s full maiden speech in English
The Animal Justice Party’s gain in seats in one of the biggest agricultural areas of the Australian State of Victoria, meant a breakthrough for the animal rights movement in Australian politics. Andy Meddick, elected on behalf of the AJP, touched friend and foe alike with his inspiring, personal maiden speech.
Meddick was born in a very poor family and was forced to leave home on his 13th birthday because his parents could no longer provide for him. He was employed in the construction industry for years and until 2013 he was mainly involved with workers’ rights. In 2013, he suffered a severe accident and was instructed to do light work in some garden. The garden was at the back of a pig slaughterhouse. The only thing he could hear at that time was the terrified screams of pigs. On his last working day in the garden, Meddick decided that he no longer wanted to be part of a system that abused animals and that he needed to do something to change the system. He became a member of the AJP the same year.
Meddick: “This is how I came to understand that I had more changes to make. I had to make a choice to no longer exploit non-human animals. And not only that: they had to become part of my advocacy, my fight for justice, for all.
It is extraordinary isn’t it? That someone like me, a scruffy kid from the western suburbs, a scaffolder, a trade unionist, a vegan animal rights activist, could stand here today, in the one place where great deeds can be done. Where lives can truly be saved.
Victor Hugo wrote: There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come. The idea that animals should be represented in the paws of power has not only come, it has clearly burst the doors down and demands to be heard. “
International emancipation movement
Some representatives of the international political movement for animal rights and sustainability
The AJP is part of a fast growing international, social movement for animal rights, sustainability and a just society for all. Meddick mentions that movement in his speech:
“The animal protection movement is global and emerging as the largest social justice movement of this century. And it is important for me, for it to be recognized that it is a movement that in the majority is driven by women. I am both humbled and proud to be the first Member of Parliament in Victoria to be elected not only on an animal rights platform, but one that recognizes and fights for all who are marginalized, who are unrepresented and whose voices are not given due consideration or weight.”
Andy Meddick in Parliament
Meddick also expressed some connecting words and reached out to the farmers:
“Something that great Martin Luther King Jr. said always brings to me a sense of calm, a sense of renewed purpose. He said: “Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’ Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’ But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’ And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.”
For that is why I am here. To represent the incredible habitants of the western region of Victoria, to act on my conscience, and to do what is right for them. All of them. They are all of the outmost importance to me. From the native wildlife, to the domestic companion animals. From the First Nations peoples to the diverse people of different regional cities. And to the farmers.
Yes, the farmers. I am here to extend the hand of understanding. To offer an olive branch. To help them adapt to the changes that our climate emergency will force us all to make. And not only that, but because of the fundamental shift in how we view the lives of all sentient beings – of non-human animals, beings with families, lives and interests of their own- is now a building block of modern society.
If we are all to survive in this world, if we are to remain relevant in this place, we must reflect the values of all our communities. If we persist in the values of the 1950s, not 2019 and beyond, we will be but a parody. A true-life enactment of Don Quixote: mad with fear, tilting at the windmills of progress and an evolving society with new values. We will be irrelevant, when we should lead.
We must above all else enact or change laws, guided by that simple, powerful, beautiful trait, inherent in us all: compassion. Because to animals, we are at once their biggest threat and their only hope.”